When I planned this blog post, I hadn’t expected to be taking a road trip, but God works things out in a funny way most times. So as you’re reading this post, I am on the road home from a somewhat-spontaneous trip to visit my cousins in Arkansas. We’d gone in with them on a grass-fed cow, and my folks and I needed to go down and transport the beef home. We’d originally planned to go later, but our plans changed.
That just means I get to share my awesome tips for a road trip using current information instead of what I learned from my last road trip months ago! Isn’t God funny?
My family is all about road trips. We’ve been going on road trips for longer than I can remember, and loving to drive has just sort of been passed on to my brother and me from our dad. So while flying is probably faster, I still prefer to drive. Hands down.
So I thought maybe I’d share some of my tips for successful road trips. It’s probably all common sense, but you never know!
1. Know the purpose of your trip
This is the most important tip on this list. Knowing the reason you’re going on a trip will help you determine what to pack, how to pack, how much to pack, how much money to take, what electronics to take, etc. This trip to Arkansas, the main purpose to go is to retrieve the beef and transport it home. So the next question is: How much beef is there?
Answer? 175 pounds.
Yeah, we’ll be eating burgers for a while! But the point is made. We’re going to need quite a bit of space to store the beef, so that’s going to cut down on how much room we have for bags and other things.
If this were a vacation with the sole purpose of hanging out, we would have more room to pack things. But similar to our camping trip last year, we actually need specific space assigned. So we’re limited in what we can fit in the car.
2. Determine the essentials you need
Determining the essentials, after you decide on the purpose of your trip, is also really important. What can you not live without? Do you have medication? Does your medication need to be refrigerated? Can you eat on the road, or do you have a dietary restriction that means you have to prepare your own food? How much money do you have, and how much can you spend?
Shampoo? Conditioner? Soap? Toothpaste? Toothbrush? Go down the list of what you use on a daily or weekly basis. Generally speaking, you’ll come up with a pretty good list of what items you actually need to take with you.
Granted, it’s probably wise to bring along some first aide stuff too, just in case. You shouldn’t limit your essentials to just what you need to survive, because you should always expect something to go wrong. But you don’t need to bring an entire medicine cabinet with you. Not for a road trip.
3. Pack as light as you possibly can
Once you’ve figured your essentials, pack your clothes. You can rewear a shirt and pants, generally. Unless you’re going somewhere that will completely destroy your clothing, but in that case, bring old clothes that you don’t mind tearing up. If you don’t mind tearing them up, you won’t mind if they’re jammed and wrinkled up at the bottom of a backpack.
You also need to figure in the weather and the climate of where you’re going. Maybe you start out in southern Texas, but when you arrive at the Canadian border, it’s going to be chilly. My recommendation is to layer.
You can also count what you’re wearing in the car as an outfit that can be reworn. That’s nice because you don’t have to fit it in your back.
4. Make sure you have charged up all your gear
This one always gets me. I usually always forget to charge up my Kindle or my laptop or my phone or my external battery. Either way, just make sure you’ve set aside enough time and charging cables to get everything ready to go before you leave. Otherwise you’ll be really bored on the road.
5. Bring stuff to do
Then finally, make sure you bring enough stuff to hold your attention when your electronic devices run down. If you’re driving, obviously, you won’t be reading or coloring, but you won’t be driving all the time if you’re roadtripping with friends or family.
Bring a book to read. Bring your adult coloring books. Bring a game. Or bring your favorite pillow and a comfy blanket and curl up and take a nap.
I’ve recently gotten into adult coloring books, and I really enjoy them. But I’ll be carrying my markers in a large ziploc bag instead of in their cheap cardboard cases. That’s the best way to lose them somewhere in the car.
Road trips are the best, and with gas prices as low as they are, everyone should take advantage of them. With a road trip, you get to see the country in a much better light than if you were just flying. You get to see small businesses, little towns, historic sights, beautiful scenery, and spend time with your friends and family listening to audio books, music, or just talking.
Nothing beats a road trip. So grab your gear and hit the road!