Planning your first road trip can feel a bit daunting when approaching it from a 30-story view. Bring yourself down to the ground and break up your planning process into bite-sized pieces. There are some things that must be clearly organized and mapped out, but some details can be left to the wind.
You can easily spend a month’s salary on a two-week road trip, but you can also get away with only shelling out a little more than gas money. Above all, make sure to stay aware of your surroundings and drive safely in your travels. Check out some of these other must-dos before hitting the open road.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws of the road of the states in which you will be traveling to avoid earning a speeding ticket or worse. If you’ve ever been in a difficult-to-drive-in state, you know how important it is to be familiar with things like different Massachusetts road signs or California toll lanes.
While in general every state has the same basic rules, you could find yourself in a pickle. Did you know, if you hit and injure a cow in Idaho, you are responsible for paying the owner the value of the cattle? In addition to understanding, keep in mind you also cannot have a gorilla riding in the backseat of any vehicle in the Bay State. If you’re planning to visit multiple states, make sure to do your research — and perhaps leave your gorilla at home! In all seriousness, each state has its own peculiar set of laws, so make sure not to be caught off guard to avoid hefty fines.
Wherever it is your travels take you, make the effort to spend some time with locals. They will give you the ins and outs of the areas you have your eye on to explore. While guidebooks may give you a broad overview of the look and feel of a certain destination, residents are the ones with the true understanding of the area. After all, they live and breathe it every day. Locals are great for recommending restaurants, local attractions and a look into the local culture.
Typically, those familiar with the area can also provide you information about to take advantage of nearby attractions that won’t break the bank. When making friends along the way, make sure to keep in touch so you can receive some extra tips should you one day return to this particular city or town. Likewise, you can return the favor if this family or individual visits your hometown.
The Freedom to Roam
Although, you may want to make a tentative outline of stops to visit within your timeline, you want to also make sure to leave room for spontaneity. You will undoubtedly come across enticing roadside attractions that you will feel compelled to visit, so you don’t want to be held down by strict schedules. Rigid schedules can create anxiety and stress, especially if traveling with others who feel a strong need to abide by them.
While it’s wise to book campsites and hotels in advance, make sure to leave enough wiggle room in your schedule if you want to stay an extra night at one of your stops. Consider where your next reservation may be, but the morning of, when you’re positive you will be moving on from one destination to the next, try using a hotel coupon for the best rate on same-day rooms. Road trips are meant to be full of adventure and fun. Make sure to leave plenty of room for all the excitement the road has to offer!