It’s summertime and the living is easy. And if you’re a college student, summer is your time to get away from textbooks and unwind. Take advantage of this freedom—this time is fleeting. Once you enter the work world, summers off will be a memory.
Make the most these months to enjoy friends and relaxation. Road trips are a rite of passage for college students, so don’t miss a chance to plan one this summer.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to put together a memorable road trip. Here are five tips to make your road trip memorable and issue free.
It may be a four letter word, but having a plan can make the difference between a trip to remember and one you can’t wait to forget.
Where are you going? It may sound fun to think about jumping in the car and just heading down the road, but having a destination in mind means you can plan for things to do along the way. Check out somewhere new and look into interesting places to sightsee or eat along the way. Stop and visit friends on the drive. Maybe you can sleep on the floor for a night.
Who’s going? You’re going to be spending some up close and personal time in the car. Make sure the travel partners you choose are ones you like to spend time with and get along with each other. Bickering and tension can ruin a trip in a hurry.
Now that you have a plan for your trip, be prepared to change it. Seriously—few things go exactly as planned. So don’t stress out when road construction, a breakdown or the weather changes your plan. If it takes an extra day to get there, go with the flow.
2. Prepare and Pack
Before you get on the road, make sure your car is in shape for the trip. Check your tires and fluids to make it a safe trip with no roadside drama. Have emergency numbers with you just in case.
Pack lightly and efficiently. You will have limited room in the car so go low maintenance. If you will be camping or sleeping in the car, you won’t need fresh clothes every day. Even if you run out of clean clothes, you can make a pit stop to wash them.
Decide ahead how much each person can take. One bag in the trunk and a pillow and blanket for in the car leaves room for comfort. Spread the blankets on the seats to save space. Having pillows on hand makes it easier to nap in the car. Then you can have room in the trunk for a tent and a cooler to make the trip more comfortable.
3. Split Set Expenses
Pool your money to pay for gas, campgrounds or hotels. It’s a better option than rotating who pays for things. Gas prices can fluctuate from location to location and pooling the money can prevent arguments about who spent more on what.
Everyone puts in the same amount and any money left over at the end of the trip can be split evenly. Everyone should pay for their own food, drinks and souvenirs. Again, this will prevent conflict. If someone wants a T-shirt or a steak dinner, that’s their choice if it fits in their budget.
4. Take your time
There’s no rush, take time to stop and check things out along the way. Get maps, guidebooks or just use Google to find interesting things to do, see and places to eat on your trip. Sitting in the car gets cramped, splitting up the trip and getting out of the car will make the trip more enjoyable.
Do some research and find some out of the way places to see. Maybe come up with a theme for the trip or food you want to try. Maybe visit only drive-ins or agree to avoid chain restaurants.
5. Sleep for Free
Hotels are expensive. Bring a tent so you can camp or set it up in a friend’s yard along the way. If you plan to drive straight through, take turns sleeping in the car. It is not the most comfortable place to sleep so it may not work every night.
Youth hostels offer cheaper rooms or beds than a hotel and you can meet some new friends if you are sharing the space.
Couch surfing has been gaining popularity. Members can find no cost places to stay or offer to host others in their homes. If you use this, show your gratitude by making food or bringing a gift for your host.
A little effort can go a long way in making your road trip one to remember (in a good way). Do you have any hints or road trip stories to share?