Whether you are traversing the mountainous roads of New Zealand in a caravan, or soaring down route 66 in your convertible, one thing remains unchanged. You are embarking on a road trip that is not entirely focused on the destination, but on the journey itself.
The key to any successful road trip is the soundtrack. Creating the perfect playlist takes time and dedication, and perhaps, some illegal downloading. Vital tip: when driving late at night, make sure the music is pumping. Chances are, passengers will pass out as the night’s serenity and car vibrations rock them to sleep. The driver must be kept awake, and John Mayer will be helpless to that cause.
If you have a bladder the size of a kitten’s, make sure you do your business before putting the car in cruise control. For the brave, block your nose and take advantage of gas station bathrooms as even they have their perks; more often than not you can find some inspiring quote inscribed on the wall. Or better yet, a series of rude puns. Always keep extra rolls of toilet paper handy for those times where the option is to either wet yourself, or squat on the side of the road. If you’re feeling very risqué, store some extra large bottles in the trunk with the intention of filling them up – when nature calls, it expects to be answered.
Make sure you bring extra pillows and blankets to make the ride softer. You also never know when the car’s heating decides to voluntarily stop working. The down feathers and plushy duvets will ensure you stay toasty even while ice gathers on the car windows.
To avoid stomach grumbles and bad moods, ensure plenty of snacks are kept within an arm’s distance. In fact, snacks may even be more important than clothing when it comes to the great road trip. Did someone say McDonalds drive thru? Never pass off this beaming oasis in the middle of nowhere, especially at breakfast time. They were invented for commuters on road trips. It would be rude to simply drive past without purchasing so much as a small fries.
Ensure your phone has plenty of battery life to keep track of your GPS, and take advantage of Google maps. Always carry extra chargers for when the threat of a dying phone leaves the car in dire fear of getting lost. What would we do without technology! Oh, that’s right, perhaps use a regular road map. Car roadmap books are truly kicking it old school, complete with the threat of severe paper cuts. Carry extra band-aids in case the paper bites back.
For the longer trips, stop overs will certainly be required. Stop, revive, and survive is a catchy slogan to ensure you switch drivers at regular intervals, get a much needed power nap or even an extra hit of caffeine to avoid the risks of fatigue at the wheel.
For the even longer trips, a nightly stop over could be essential. Spending the night in a cheap motel on the side of the road may seem daunting, but it’s a recipe for quality bonding. A couple of board games and a group of great friends can go a long way. Playing truth or dare is always more fun when stranded in a deserted town. For the true budget travelers, camping (or glamping) is ideal. A tent is always a good idea, but it doesn’t get any better than laying out on a blanket underneath the stars. But if you do hear some footsteps or noises in the night, sleeping in the car is always a solid plan B.
Turn your road trip into a convoy. By making friends with fellow drivers and travelers, you not only have extra company during stop overs, but may even score some great travel tips. Plus it always helps to have extra people around to take a group photo of your gang. There’s only so many selfies you can take of a group of five people before your arm grows tired and feels as though it may even fall off.
The roads will grow tiresome and there’s only so many rounds of “I spy” one can play before your options of “trees, road or clouds” run out. When times get tough, the most successful way to ensure a quality road trip is the company. Armed with your pack of best friends, no matter what happens on your road trip, the good and the bad, you will tackle it side by side and emerge with a car full of memories.
Lastly, if movies like “Crossroads” have taught us anything about road trips, it’s that you may just fall in love with your travel companions and make the strongest friendships. They also taught us to never pick up a hitchhiker as they just may be a cannibalistic axe murderer. Unless they have food, then always let them travel with you. Otherwise the following would be avoided:
Every once in a while, make sure you stop and take in your surroundings. The destination is definitely important, but the journey is what makes it worth it. In the words of the great Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Article written by Carly Brand.