Travel Advice: Plan Your Road Trip Right
7th Feb 2012
Tags: travel advice
The best road trips are the ones that involve a string of memorable events as you go from point A to point B. Experienced road trippers know that the best part of the trip has nothing to do with the destination – it’s all about the journey. So how do you make the most of your time on the road? Do you schedule every mile of the journey to make sure you’ve filled every moment of your vacation, or do you just pick a direction and start driving?
Choose Your Vehicle Wisely
A good road trip starts with a good vehicle. Most of us are limited to whatever is currently sitting in the garage, but there are definitely some vehicles that are better than others for a long journey. Those large SUVs are going to look extremely tempting – they’re roomy, they sit above most of the surrounding traffic, and they’re extremely comfortable. Of course, you will blow the major portion of your budget on fuel if you go this route.
The other end of the spectrum is the small, fuel-efficient cars that will carry you from one side of a state to another with minimal gas usage. Unfortunately, this can also lead to maximum discomfort after a few hours on the road.
It is possible to find a vehicle that walks the line between these two extremes – a vehicle that offers the interior space and reasonable gas mileage that will make a trip comfortable for you and your wallet. Of course, unless you’re planning on renting a vehicle specifically for the trip, you’re going to be limited to whatever you currently own. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – you just need to be aware of the benefits and limitations of your vehicle.
Will you plan out every stop along the trip, or will you simply head west and then turn around after you spend half of your money? There are a lot of opportunities to find hotel rooms for cheap even if you don’t call ahead, but you will be taking a lot of chances. You may find yourself sleeping in your car as often as you do a nice New York Hotel. Of course, that just might be half the fun.
Open ended road trips may lead to spending a night in a questionable neighborhood, but it could also create the opportunity to see and experience a lot of things you would otherwise miss if you are determined to stick to a pre-planned schedule. Of course, these days there are a lot of ways for road trippers to be impulsive without risking a stay at a questionable accommodation. With a good travel app and a reliable GPS you can add some adventure to your road trip without the risk of spending a night in the car.
Consider the following as a potential road trip method: choose the city or locations where you want to end up, but don’t plan your stops along the way. You don’t even have to decide on more than a couple attractions that you expect to see as you go. When you reach any given town, though, rather than just stopping in at the nearest drive-through, use your travel apps or your GPS to find something completely different. Search for something a little more generalized, like “Thai food” or “pastries” and find out what each city has to offer in these areas. You may be surprised. On top of that, the GPS will soon have you travelling through parts of the city you would have never seen if you had planned out every step of the trip.
Lodging can pose a slightly different problem, though. You need to find something that fits the budget and seems clean and safe. It only takes a little last minute research, though, and you can still discover some great accommodations that other travelers have rated well.
Whether you enjoy travelling with to specific destinations with set schedules or you prefer the kind of road trip that is open to a lot of unforeseen possibilities, just make sure you have the best tools to make the most out of your time on the road.
This post written by Joselyn Seifer.
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