When we think of a road trip, we quickly get filled with the romanticism, but that feeling is often overridden by the hassles of putting the rubber to the road. There’s all that planning, coming up with the gas money and spending a week eating fast food in the cockpit of your coupe – it’s enough to deter just about anyone.
Lucky you, we’re hard headed and determined to break out the atlas and roll back the sunroof, so we’ve made a few tips to keep your trip away from any road hazards.
Choose your destination wisely
Sure, you can just go with it. If you decide to go west and see where you land you may end up at a really cool campground or driving through some beautiful scenery, but you can also put yourself in a location you don’t want to be (we’ll just leave it to you to come up with the Deliverance and Wrong Turn movie jokes). For that reason, we recommend a lot of planning.
A good road trip plan save you time and money. Do a little research to see what kind of attractions are within the mileage you’re willing to cover. Plot out your destinations for each day, and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each location. Breaking up your drive with stops will keep everyone happy and keep anyone from getting car-cabin fever.
Eat with caution
At every stop of the car you are going to be tempted to go the easy route and get the burger to go, but don’t! All of that fast food is going to make everyone groggy, so take the time to find a decent restaurant. Do a little research before you leave, or have someone put that smartphone to use and find the restaurants the locals love. Besides, you can eat at any of those fast food chains at home.
Save money on the lodging
Hotel rooms can get expensive, even when split between several people. Consider finding somewhere to car camp for a night or two, and you can save hundreds of dollars. There are plenty of modern camp site options that will surprise you with their amenities. KOAs have nicer showers than most hotels we’ve been in, and they have complimentary WiFi. If you don’t feel like car camping, they also offer cabins and lodges at nearly all of their 475 locations.
Use technology to your advantage
It wasn’t that long ago that a road atlas was the only way to plan your trip, but now we have GPS capabilities in our pockets. However, our smartphones can help us far beyond directions. Here are a few applications you may want to check out before hitting the road:
Gas Buddy – Find the cheapest gas in any city.
Urban Spoon – Find out what restaurants are most popular with the locals.
Foursquare – See what restaurants are offering deals for those who “check-in” at their store.
WiFi Trak – While we think you should leave your computer at home, we understand the sudden need for WiFi. Track it down with this app.
Road Trip Fun – Tired of the radio? This iPhone app has tons of games you can play in the car.
MapsBuddy – This app puts Google Maps to work to find anything you need! Locate post offices, gas stations, rest rooms and more with just the touch of a button.
Got any good tips that we could add to the list? Please share below!