Work pressure is caving in. You can’t remember the last time you felt free, valuing nonchalance and freedom above all else. Does this sound similar to your life? Maybe a last minute road trip is in order. Even if your life is all together, the freedom of a road trip can be invigorating, like a meditation session for the daily restricted. As summer nears its end, there is no better time to take a road trip than now, when the majority of places are still warm and makeshift housing isn’t a big deal. But even with a spontaneous road trip comes some necessary planning, which should include the tips below:
Map your journey, before you embark on it
Spontaneity is a wonderful thing during a road trip, and there’s nothing to suggest you shouldn’t be free. But having some semblance of an idea where you’re going, and where you are, is highly recommended for both safety and gas mileage. At the very least, choose a destination, so even if you get lost you have a basis for where to go. Mapping out your journey beforehand also provides an estimate of the trip time, so you can plan your lodging and activities with greater accuracy and cost-efficiency. Using a site like Trip Advisor to find hidden gems in a specific area is also recommended.
Last minute road trips are often triggered by spontaneous moments of glee, but don’t let that prevail over pennies and sense. Even if your bank account has plenty inside, be sure to have a generous amount of cash on you at all times. You never know what restaurant or hotel does not accept credit, especially if you’re traveling in rural areas. In addition, utilize sites like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas states along your route.
Your car is your vessel; take care of it
Above all else before departing, you should make sure that your mode of transport is fully operational and without any issues. Breaking down in the middle of nowhere is a terrible conundrum, as mechanics around the country vary from the highly manipulative to very trustworthy. On the road, you don’t know which one you’ll get. You likely already have a trusted mechanic in your area, so take your car in for a tune-up there before departing. As car repair costs continue to be on the rise, getting your car checked by a trusted mechanic should be your #1 priority before embarking on a last minute road trip. If you’re headed somewhere warm, make sure to get your car air conditioning is up and running properly!
Stock up on essentials
True, you can buy mostly everything on the road, but it never hurts to pack some essentials before you depart. Some food that doesn’t go bad easily, like nuts or granola bars, is recommended in the case you break down and are starving, or simply need a jolt of energy during the drive. Clean up supplies like paper towels and wet wipes will also come in handy if you spill something in your car. Bringing an iPod or some music device will also make the drive a lot more painless.
Document your journey
This is one of the most fun parts about a last minute road trip. Especially with the recent popularity of Instagram, you can fill your friends in on every detail of your trip in visual form. There are also iPhone apps that track your route, so you know for future reference. Whether you’re traveling across vast beautiful valleys or an urban wonder, there are many places throughout the world that is worth documenting. It’s up to you and your car to find them.