A road trip is the ultimate embodiment of the phrase “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” That said, a successful road trip can take just as much planning and preparation as a traditional vacation, sometimes more. Having a solid strategy will not only make your trip more enjoyable but also keep you safe and out of danger. With this in mind, let’s go over six important tips for a memorable and safe road trip.
1) Know Your Destination and How to Get There
If you’re like me, you may have the urge to just drop everything, hop in the car, and take off like a modern-day nomad. However, this can lead to a variety of problems and dangers. While GPS makes spontaneous road trips safer and easier than ever before, there have been instances in which it has led people to their doom.
The best way to avoid ending up in areas where you shouldn’t be is to plan a specific destination and route before you go. You should also double-check your GPS to make sure that it isn’t leading you into any hazardous areas as well.
Also, while driving aimlessly can be an adventure, it can also be boring if you don’t come across anything interesting. By planning out your trip ahead of time, you can make sure there are always fun and exciting things to do as you travel so that you can take some great photos/videos and build memories you’ll never forget.
2) Getting Back Home
One thing that may seem like common sense but oftentimes goes ignored is the fact that road trips go both ways. In other words, you have to get back home after reaching your destination. This means that you should plan for both legs of your journey by considering things like how much gas you’ll be using, how much time the total trip will take, and how many supplies to take with you.
If a two-way road trip just isn’t for you, there is a way to turn it into a one-way trip. This is done by finding a company that will ship a car and getting your car delivered to your starting point. You can then get there via plane, bus, cruise ship, or whatever mode of transportation you feel is best. Once there, you can then drive home and do a sort of reverse road trip.
3) Don’t Travel Alone
For the sake of safety, road trips are best done with multiple people. Traveling alone by car into areas you’ve never been to before can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. If you become sick or injured you may find yourself stuck somewhere with no one to look after you. Also, solo travelers are more likely to become targets for theft and worse. There is safety in numbers after all.
Another big benefit of doing a road trip is the fact that you’ll be making memories with other people. They can also help keep you entertained while traveling because let’s be honest, the radio, streaming music, and/or podcasts tend to get old after a while. Just make sure that you bring enough supplies for the number of people that will be going on the trip and ways to keep everyone entertained during long stretches of road.
4) Don’t Drive While Sleep Deprived
This is a pretty common sense tip but it can become an issue on long road trips. When you’re feeling pressured to stick to a certain schedule, the temptation to drive on little sleep can be a huge problem. Not only is it unsafe, but it can also deprive you of your enjoyment of the trip itself.
The best solution to this problem is to allow a little bit of leeway in your scheduling. This way you’ll have extra time if you choose to do some exploring or if something goes wrong and puts you off your schedule. In either case, you’ll feel less pressure to drive on little sleep.
Of course, having more than one person along that can drive is also a good idea. This will allow you to get some rest while still traveling and keeping to your schedule. Just make sure that everyone is getting proper rest since some people can be overzealous when it comes to driving and may pretend to be fine when they’re actually exhausted.
5) Bring Plenty of Water
One of the most important supplies you can take with you on a road trip is bottled water. This is because you can go for a lot longer without food than you can water, so if something bad happens, water will keep you alive until help can arrive.
Also, it goes without saying, but the more people you have with you the more water you’ll need. Since bottled water can be pricy, one strategy is to fill unused jugs with tap water so that you have a large supply as you drive. If you like saving money as I do, then it really does pay to start saving up jugs and containers months in advance to carry your water. Just make sure that they are properly cleaned and stored, you don’t want mold getting in your containers and fouling the water you take with you.
6) Tell Someone Where You’re Going
This is probably the most important safety tip on this list. Before you head off on a road trip, always tell someone where you’re going and when you will reach your destination. The same goes for when you’re traveling back home. The reason this is important is that if something goes wrong and you become stranded, a search party will be sent out much quicker if someone knows that you’re missing. And, the faster a search party is sent out, the better your chances of survival.
If you want to be even safer, you can schedule regular check-ins with someone as you’re traveling. This could be something like a call or text every day or every other day. This is an especially important tip if you plan on exploring hazardous areas such as deserts, mountains, caves, or other wilderness areas. Many people have gone missing and have never been found because they ignored this one tip.
Stay Safe and Have Fun
While all these safety tips may seem like a drag, they’ll actually help you to have more fun in the long run. This is because the more safety precautions you have in place, the more peace of mind you’ll have. The last thing you want on your road trip is to be constantly worrying about things when you should be having the time of your life. If you plan ahead and follow these safety tips, you’ll have more fun. It’s that simple.