The Road Trip: It’s a staple in American nostalgia. When you were little, you survived a four hour drive to the beach for quality time with the family. When you’re in college, you’re off to find yourself and some great wonder, from the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone to Atlantic City. As an adult, you’re cross-country commuting when your job decides you need to be in office in San Fran instead of New York and all of your things need to go with you. Many people will even be driving across the country to head to BarkWorld Expo this weekend, where they’ll meet some of our team.
Road trips are a means to an end, an adventure in their own right, and quite an experience no matter where you’re going. Before you hit the road, take heed of these tips to ensure the experience you have is a good one.
1. Plan Ahead
That spontaneous road trip you took with your friends in College was fun, but do you remember the sticky situations and the bickering that cropped up along the way? Go ahead and discuss who’s going to drive and for how long, how you plan to share control of the music selections, and where’d you’d like to take pit stops. Your trip will be much more enjoyable.
2. Be Prepared
When road trips have snafus, which most typically do, you want to be prepared. Don’t rely on one gadget for navigation; your GPS and your smart phone’s apps may give you different courses, and one may be right when the other is not. If something were to happen to one, say your GPS experienced mechanical breakdown or your phone was stolen, you want to be sure you have a back up plan. (Our electronics extended warranties and smart phone insurance policies can also help you out if something like that happens). Make sure to pack a spare tire and an emergency kit for roadside needs. If you’ve rented a car, get rental car insurance that offers emergency assistance.
3. Make a List
Before you head out on the road, double check to be sure you have everything, from your phone’s charger to spare underwear. The worst road trip expenses are the ones that you didn’t see coming because you left something behind.
4. Think of your travel companions
If you’re traveling with a group of friends, work to accommodation the various personalities, diets, and needs. Pack snacks that everyone likes and be respectful of each other. If traveling with family, pack games to help keep the kids occupied and plan travel around their sleep schedules. If it’s a business trip, consider bringing audio-books for people to enjoy if they need some time to themselves and keep conversation light and friendly.
5. Don’t be afraid of spontaneity
While planning everything is important, and being prepared is essential don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path for an unplanned pit-stop. Half of the fun of a road trip is in the process, not the destination.
When was your last great road trip?
CC Photo via Flickr.