Determining how to plan a road trip to remember isn’t always the simplest process, but it’s one that prove a bonding experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Granted, when creating a game plan, you don’t have to work out every little detail up-front, but it helps to have some guidelines in place for where you want to go, how to get there, and what to do (and eat) along the way. Luckily for those considering how to make the most of any adventure on wheels, we’ve put together a handy guide to things to keep in mind as you build your dream vacation. Simply read on to find out how to plan a road trip that passengers will be raving about for years to come.
Have a Pan: Research your destination first. You’ll have a few spots you’ll want to hit along the way to your ultimate destination. Plan out a route to make sure that local gas stations, motels, and eateries are on the way, as well as some local spots to stop and look around. Because stopping at the first Cracker Barrel you see on the road is a rookie mistake.
Go Analog: Technology doesn’t always make things easier on the road. Your GPS might overlook that crucial exit needed to get to your destination, or maybe your phone is only at 3 percent power and won’t last for the entire trip. Having a paper map (or atlas map) on-hand may help get you out of a bind — a must for anyone wondering how to plan a road trip to remember.
Pack Smart: Suitcase-wise, ask this question: What do you really need to bring along, and how many changes of clothes are truly required? It’s a simple but important question. There’s way more to think about here than just luggage. You may need a first aid kit, baby wipes, antibacterial gel, etc. Don’t overlook snacks, either. Make sure you’re loaded up with non-perishable munchies like nuts or granola bars and be certain to stock up on water. Bring a cooler to keep fruits or veggies at hand. Save the junk food (but bring the antibacterial gel) for your road stop purchases.
Be Playful: Cut down on screen time with some real-life games like “21 Questions” or word association. A great road trip calls for a great musical playlist as well. Ask for suggestions from those traveling with you before hitting the road, then build on it throughout the trip. For quieter moments, bring along a book or crossword puzzles to help break up the travel time.
Make Frequent Stops: Yes, being in a car can be fun for a while, but eventually everyone needs to move their legs. Whether you’re stopping for a stretch, some grub, or to use the bathroom, taking a short break is a necessity during a long drive. If you’re feeling antsy, now’s the time to do a round of push-ups or jumping jacks (which can be fun if there are kids on the trip).
Be Present: Naturally, you’ll go off the beaten path (or get lost) when on a road trip. Don’t stress, as that’s simply part of the fun of a road trip.. Make sure you allow yourself time to wind down, relax, and enjoy the view. It’s not every day that you get to escape your routine and experience new places and people, so make the most of the adventure/
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Suzanne is a journalist in Queens, New York. She’s interned at Rolling Stone, NBC local media, Mashable and the Queens Chronicle. Though she’s from upstate New York, she considers herself a Queens girl. If she’s not writing or editing, she’s probably scrolling through goat Instagrams.