There’s no feeling better than setting off on vacation with your friends or family. You have a destination to head to and are excited for all the fun that you’ll experience while you’re there. Booking a plane, train, or even a boat will get you from A to B quite quickly, but that doesn’t mean that any of them is the best option for you. If you’re one that enjoys the journey much more than the destination, then you should consider traveling by car. Road trips are a fun and adventurous vacation option that offer many unique benefits. This is why they’ve been so popular since automobiles were invented. For a successful road trip, here are thirteen mistakes you must avoid.
1) Neglecting Checking The Car
It’s always crucial that the vehicle you drive is safe. However, when you’re setting off on a journey that will last days or even weeks, it’s even more important that your car is road ready. For this reason, you should check your vehicle over a few days before you leave. Make sure that you check the fluids, change the oil, and inspect the transmission. You should also look at the tires and spare tire to make sure that they’re in good condition. If you don’t trust your own knowledge for this task, then find an experience loved one or a trusted mechanic to handle it for you.
2) Failing To Download Maps
Bringing a paper map with you on your trip can prove to be helpful at some point. After all, you can’t guarantee that nothing is going to happen to your phone or satnav. That being said, this tool isn’t the easiest to use, especially in a space as small as a car. You’ll probably have to pull over a few times just to venture a short distance. Because of this, you must remember to download maps onto your phone or another device. You can’t rely on your phone to have service at all times, so having this backup means that you won’t have to keep stopping every ten minutes.
3) Setting Off At Night
Traveling throughout the night may seem like the best way to reduce your travel time. After all, there are fewer cars on the roads during the late and early hours, so you’ll be less likely to get stuck in traffic. However, as efficient as this plan might be, it isn’t always safe. You won’t be able to see hazards in the road as easily, you’re more likely to fall asleep at the wheel, and, if you did get lost or into an accident, it would be harder for help to find you. For this reason, you should try to drive during sunlight hours only and always find accommodation by the time the sun sets.
4) Leaving The Music Behind
With so much time to do very little other than spend time with one another, road trips offer a unique opportunity to really bond with your travel companions. You’ll spend hours talking and laughing with one another, but there will be quiet and even boring times too. It’s in these moments that frustrations begin to rise and arguments break out. To prevent this, you need to pack some entertainment. Books and games are great for passengers, but you need some CDs too. After all, with little service, radio and streaming services won’t always be an option.
5) Driving Without Any Insurance
Before you even think about leaving for a road trip, you need to check your insurance. Everyone on the road is legally required to have auto insurance, but that doesn’t mean that yours won’t expire midway through your trip. Your phone won’t have service at all times, and, as such, you may not be able to call up or go online to renew your policy. You’ll also probably be too far away to do it in person. This is why you must make remember to do so before you leave. If you don’t do this, and you’re caught driving without insurance, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.
6) Bringing Too Few Snacks
Finding places to eat is an important part of road tripping. After all, it’s impossible to enjoy yourself when you’re cranky and low on energy. This is why it’s often advised that you plan when and where you are going to eat in advance. It’s also crucial that you bring plenty of snacks with you. These should be a combination of healthy and unhealthy foods and sweet and savory foods so that you have some variety. Chips, dried fruit, and popcorn are all good options, as they come in bags and don’t need refrigerating. Remember to pick up extra snacks when you can.
7) Waiting To Fill Up
Running out of gas may not be the biggest disaster in the world, but it’s definitely up there with the worst. This is especially true when it happens in a really remote area. To keep this from happening, you need to fill up the car every time you come across a gas station. It doesn’t matter if you only filled up a few hours ago, you should do so again. Waiting until your tank is almost empty is a risky move, as you can’t be sure when you’ll next be able to fill up. By filling up your tank regularly, you have fewer things to worry about, making the trip more enjoyable.
8) Ignoring The Road Ahead
Some routes are known for their delays and others may be plagued by them temporarily for one reason or another. A natural disaster can prompt detours, for example, or there could be road work in progress. These issues can rob your adventure of precious time. Thankfully, most delays can be detected, allowing you to avoid them. All you need to do is keep an eye on the current traffic conditions for where you are. With apps and websites dedicated to this purpose, as long as you have service, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the latest information.
9) Forgetting To Bring Cash
Carrying one card may be more convenient than a bunch of notes and coins, but, if you were to lose it, then you’d be left without any money for the rest of your journey. This is why it’s so important that you have some cash tucked away in your car. When you’re traveling through small towns, you may also come across gas stations and stores that either charge to use your card or only accept cash. If you weren’t to have any with you, then you wouldn’t be able to buy anything. Many places also require cash payments for using the facilities, making your card useless.
10) Missing The Scenic Routes
There are probably several attractions that you want to hit up throughout your journey. These might include national parks, record-breaking sites, monuments, and more. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to visit these places, but it does become an issue if you’re in such a rush to see them that you miss even better things along the way. Instead of taking the quickest path you can find, you should opt for a more scenic route. This allows you to enjoy the view, and maybe even find something more interesting than the activities and attractions you had planned.
11) Being Unprepared For Emergencies
Accidents happen when on the road. There’s no escaping this fact. Even if you drive carefully and follow all the rules, there’s still the chance that someone else won’t, putting your trip, vehicle, and even your life at risk. This is why it’s so vital that you purchase car and travel insurance. There are also a number of supplies that you should pack in the event of a crash or break down. These include flashlights, tools, a first aid kit, warm clothes, and plenty of food and water. Some travelers also pack a spare phone in the back in case something happens to theirs.
12) Planning Every Single Moment
Driving off with no real purpose or direction can certainly make for an adventurous road trip, but it can also be costly and dangerous. This is why most people instead decide to plan their trip out, finding specific places to eat, rest, and have fun. This planning is helpful, but you do need to make sure that you don’t get carried away. A bit of spontaneity can make your journey that much more enjoyable, so don’t keep to a rigid schedule or plan. Often the most fun in these trips comes from taking a random detour and finding attractions that you weren’t looking for.
13) Choosing The Wrong Companion
When you’re spending so much time with one another, it’s absolutely vital that the companions you choose to bring on your road trip are ones that you genuinely get along with. If you don’t enjoy each other’s company and work well as a team, then your trip is sure to be a disaster. Everyone argues now and then, of course, but if you and your travel buddies just don’t jive with one another, then you’ll spend more time doing that than anything else. In fact, you probably won’t even make it to your destination and will turn back around before the first day is up.
For a fun and successful road trip, make sure that you avoid the mistakes listed above.