The road trip movie is a staple plot for a reason… use these tips to make your next road trip completely silver screen worthy.
Get a Real Map
Seriously. If for no other reason, you’ll want it just in case that moment comes when there’s suddenly no signal or the batteries on everything die at the least opportune time. But paper maps are also great for the freedom and self-driven planning they entail. Instead of following computerized, efficient steps, having a proper map allows you to weave and wander – and go off the beaten track without having to worry about finding your way back.
Find the Best Fuel… for You
Cars need gasoline, and car travellers need delicious, nutritious road food. Plan your meal stops ahead of time so you don’t ever get hungry enough to settle for mediocre sustenance. This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible – if you see an amazing dining opportunity along the way, we entirely encourage taking advantage. It just means that you should never allow yourself to get desperate enough to opt for a fast food when there are exciting new options to explore.
Do a little research (Yelp and TripAdvisor are great places to start) and see if anywhere you’re passing through around meals has any can’t-miss-grub. Or, plan to stop in a good-sized town and ask a local where to go for a decent meal. Chances are they know the best places around- and exactly what you should order while you’re there.
For a healthy, delicious and cost-efficient option, self-cater your road trip fare. Supermarkets are great places to put together a meal (and can be especially fun in a foreign country) but they’re not the only option – farmers markets, roadside stands, delis, and bakeries add great local flair to a picnic meal without the restaurant costs. Bring your own utensils and plenty of paper towels so you’re always ready for some culinary adventuring. What’s a restaurant with a waterfront view compared to actually eating right on the beach? It’s also a good idea to pack a cooler so you can stash leftovers or any treats you find along the way. You may even want a second one for a couple cool adult beverages to enjoy with a perfectly good view or to share with new friends at your campsite – just be sure to drink responsibly.
Practice Prepared Packing
One of the great things about traveling by car is you don’t have to cram everything into one bag you won’t have much access to for most of the journey. Divide your packing up so you can easily grab what you need for any adventure that comes along. Pack a small overnight bag so you don’t have to carry everything with you if you stop for one night. Keep a good pair of walking shoes and a small day adventuring bag handy so you can jump out of the car and get right to the fun stuff. If you’re travelling in the summer, always be ready for a swim; keeping your swimming clothes and some towels in an easy to grab place makes a quick splash simple, and it’s a great way to cool down and get the fidgets out in the middle of a long ride.
Make the Journey Part of the Adventure
Do a little research before you go, and make each day’s driving about more than points A and B. Get a guidebook and let yourself get carried away reading about the region you’ll be passing through. See what interesting towns or attractions might be along the way, and work them into your journey. The straightest path might be the shortest, but it’s not always the most fun.
When you plot your course, leave yourself an extra hour or two if possible to reach the day’s final destination. Not only will this let you prepare for any hijinks along the way, but it gives you the flexibility to enjoy unexpected adventures. If you see a sign advertising world famous fudge, you’re going to want time for a taste, and you should always, always take a picture at the World’s Biggest Anything. Stop treating the “getting there” part of your trip like some boring purgatory and seek out the weird, quirky local flair along the way – the fun of the road trip is that you’re at the wheel, after all. Enjoy the journey!