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Everyone loves a good road trip, but dreads what might happen. There are people that love to relax, sit back and let whatever happens happen when it comes to road tripping. And there are those that love to have it all set up and prepared in case of anything. If you are either of these people or anywhere in between, its always good to have at least a slight game plan and some preparations. The Leave Home Blog is here to help with all your road trip needs. From what to pack to how to pick a place to stay and all in between, we are going to make sure you have all your road trip plans sorted.
You may know your destination, but deciding on your route and stops can really depend on your preferred travel style. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress if you map out how you’re getting to your destination before you leave (obviously). There are many services you can use to help you plan out your route and here are some of our personal favourites.
You will also need to investigate the weather beforehand too. One route may look shorter on the map, but weather can turn that short route into a long and hazardous road.
No matter how much you plan, you should expect things to go differently. There are many possible unexpected Road construction, bridges being out, and messy accidents are almost guaranteed to slow things down along the way. Try not to stress about it too hard and remember that it will probably make a good story someday.
It’s also a good idea to keep loose plans because you never know when fun and interesting opportunities will arise. You could be driving by one of most popular roadside attractions along the way, so think about including “free time” in your itinerary.
Driving somewhere can cost you less money than flying there, but it still comes with heaps of hidden costs. For example, be sure to include food and shelter in your budget, as well as any fun stuff you plan on doing along the way. If you need a little help figuring out your costs, you can use a travel budget calculator. These have fields for you to enter every cost you can think of so nothing ends up getting left out. They can be super helpful and allow you to stop worrying about going over budget.
You might have a good budget in place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still save money. Going under budget means extra money for fun after all. Your big expense is going to be gas, and you can save by filling up your car the day before you leave. You already know where the best prices for gas are around you. This will give you a solid start. Also, plan ahead as to where you need to refill gas and find the cheapest prices in those areas.
Your second biggest cost will be food. You can save by packing your food beforehand in a cooler. It adds weight to your car, but the savings are guaranteed to be more than the cost of the extra weight. The best options are things that can be pre-cooked and keep well or food that doesn’t require cooking at all.
In the weeks leading up to your adventure, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition it can be. This is important for you and your passengers safety, and a healthy vehicle won’t break down on you in the middle of nowhere. Plus, a well kept automobile will use gas more efficiently
Make sure all of the scheduled, preventative maintenance you need to have done on your vehicle is taken care of. Not everything requires going to a shop, though. There’s plenty of basic things you can do on your own, like checking your vehicles vital fluids, making sure you have all the proper tools you need to change a flat tire and then you are ready to rumble.
Okay, you’ve got your route set, your budget planned out, and your car ready to go. Now it’s time to pack. Make sure you have all of the important stuff first. Consolidate and pack your bags to maximum capacity. It might seem more organized to pack all of one type of thing in one bag and another type of thing in another but, ,you’ll have more room for necessities if you put as many things together as you can. Just remember where you put everything. Also, make sure you pack clothing as efficiently as you can. Smart Packing suggests packing the clothes you’ll need at your first stop on the top, and have an emergency set of clothing ready for easy access. And remember, only take what you think you’ll need. If you pack light you’ll save on gas and have room to bring stuff back.
Once you’re on the open road, you need something to keep you from getting bored. Boredom leads to feeling tired, and feeling tired leads to you endangering everyone in the car. Anything from music, to books on tape, to classic car games can help keep the boredom at bay.
When it’s time to head back, there’s a few things you can do to make the ride back just as easy. Safety is number one, so inspect your car for all of the usual issues. It’s also important to keep your car clean. Nothing is worse than cleaning the mountain of mess leftover in your car at the end of a really long drive. Everything you check before leaving applies before heading home. Check your route for hazards and weather, find the cheapest gas before you leave, and try your hardest to stick to your set budget. The way home can be weary, but don’t slip and spend all the money you saved just because you’re exhausted.
The road trip can be an unforgettable adventure for you and your family, but it can also be a stressful experience if you don’t take the time to plan.
Charlotte is a high school student who is trying to figure out how to survive in the real world. She knows that no-one has any clue about what they are doing. But maybe if she blogs about her experiences then maybe that will help other people like her. Right? It certainly couldn’t hurt.