Posted by Sean Thompson

The Lure of the Road Trip

For many people road trips were a big part of their childhood. Families piled themselves and their camping gear into their vehicles for summer vacation. Often there were many miles to cover, many relatives to crash with, lots of late night driving and plenty of laughter. Stories of these trips were told and retold and somehow just got better every time we heard them.

Road trips are a great way to spend time with family and friends. They can be budget friendly and you’ll really see the countryside. You’ll stop at places on a road trip that you’ll never forget. Adventure happens in unexpected places. Whether you’re travelling with a young family, with friends or hit the road solo, a road trip could be your next perfect vacation. Every day of your trip is a whole new adventure.

Road trips have a spontaneity about them that other modes of travel don’t offer. Still, to have a successful road trip, there’s some planning and preparation that you’ll want to do.

Get Your Vehicle Checked Out

You want to feel confident that your vehicle and tires are in good working order. Have a licensed mechanic give your car a thorough check before you leave.

Develop a Rough Itinerary

Develop your itinerary based on the number of days you have and the miles you want to cover. Don’t set an overly ambitious travel schedule because you don’t want to be stuck behind a wheel for 12 hours a day. Try to keep your drive time at 5 to 6 hours daily. That’s just about right. Build in some key attractions.

Know Your Budget

Research your lodging, gas and food costs. Don’t forget extra money for emergencies, souvenirs and entertainment.

Make Reservations Ahead of Time

It’s always good to know you have a pillow reserved for your road-weary head. It’s no fun driving around at 2 am seeing all those ‘no vacancy’ signs lit up. If you change your plans while travelling, you can always cancel your hotel, motel, campground or B@B reservations.

Set Expectations

Before setting off discuss expectations with your travel mates. How early will you hit the road in the morning? How many miles do you aim to cover each day? How often will you stop? Is gas a shared expense and how’ll that be worked out? Will you share rooms? What key attractions will you see?

Get Hard Copies of Maps

Even though you have digital devices with you, get hard copies of maps anyway. Neither is perfectly reliable so hard copy maps are a great back up. Besides it’s fun to track your travels with a black felt pen.

In-Vehicle Entertainment

You’ll be spending a lot of time in your vehicle so make yourself as comfortable as you can. Bring your favourite tunes and some audio books. You could also bring some of your old road cd’s, if you have them. Tuck in a pen and notebook for a little journaling or note taking. Keep a record of your daily adventures. Prepare some road games in advance. Tune to local radio stations to give you a glimpse into local culture. Have some small pillows and blankets for the snoozers.

We’d love to hear about your road trip. If you’re heading out there, stay safe and enjoy yourself. You’re building lasting memories.