Taking a road trip can be thrilling, humbling and gratifying all at once. It satisfies your adventurous spirit while also showing you how small you are in this world. Although flying by plane or riding by train both have their own perks, driving by car or RV gives you a totally different sense of freedom. It allows you to see the beautiful scenery, changes of landscape and leisure of traveling at your own pace. If you are planning to take a road trip in the future, remember that there are no “rights” or “wrongs” in this journey. Make it everything you’ve dreamed of. A road trip can also be two hours across state lines or across the country over the course of months. Remember to have your snacks handy, your travel playlist ready to hit play and your mind ready to experience everything on the open road. Remember to allow for time to “get lost.” As a minute-by-minute by planner, some of my most memorable moments have come from being off the beaten path.
Taking road trips in the past, there is nothing better than the heart-to-heart conversations it has brought about and the jam sessions that keep the car rocking.
Well into our dating, engaged and married life, my husband and I have taken many road trips together. We have traveled to Nashville for the CMA Fest, Washington D.C. for a P!nk concert and Atlanta many times for Braves games. We were also the crazies that made the twelve hour drive the day after we got married to hop our cruise boat in Fort Lauderdale. In between the few times we stopped to get food or gas, I was passed out in the passenger seat. Just ask my husband. Some co-pilot I was…
One of my favorite road trips that comes to mind happened to be during my junior year of college. It was midway the fall semester and one of my friends had just moved to Baton Rouge. She was there for a two year assignment with Teach for America and wanted to show off her new town. Two other friends of mine and I bravely embarked on the the twelve hour trek from Columbia, SC to Louisiana all in a days time. Luckily, we the three of us divided the driving time and made the load a little less daunting. We also stopped in New Orleans on the way in and stayed at a low-key sketch hostile, but it was one of my those unplanned moments that made for great conversation later on.
More than anything else, an organized packing list helps in preparing for an upcoming road trip. I tend make a list ahead of time with as many things written down so I check things off as I throw them in the suitcase later on. Depending on the destination of your road trip and the time of year can all dictate what makes the cut. Like in the picture below, I categorize my list by clothing, toiletries, technology must-haves, essentials and miscellaneous. From there, I subcategorize under each of those headings to what will fit best my needs for the trip. As a precautionary measure, do some research into the weather so you will be more prepared. If you are traveling up north during the winter, tank tops and Chacos probably shouldn’t make the list. When I traveled to New York for a late Christmas and New Years trip a few years back, I packed for cuteness over comfortably. I payed for my mistakes big time.
For most people, a playlist is a pretty important part of any road trip. Whether you are going two hours away or twenty, a car playlist makes all of the difference in helping to pass the time. Unless you have friends like mine who can create conversation for the majority of a twelve hour trip, it’s best to have a playlist to fill the down time in conversation. I personally use Apple Music to create my pre-planned playlist but there many other apps to choose from like Spotify, who will shuffle music off of artists and genres what you like. If you are looking to keep your options open, try playing podcasts or audio books.
PROPER DRIVING ETIQUETTE
This might be a pretty obvious rule, but having proper driving etiquette is pretty important on a road trip. If it’s a shorter trip and someone is particularly willing to make the entire drive, let them. (hint my husband) Sometimes it pays to be a bad driver. hehe Like our twelve hour drive to Louisiana, rotating every couple of hours helps to keep everyone alert and rested. Having an co-pilot riding shotgun, someone napping and another “on deck” to drive has been the best the best system I have found that works.
Wanderlog is a travel app that excels in helping you find inspiration for your road trips. While you may use other apps to help give you ideas for trips, Wanderlog is an actionable platform to give structure to your dream vacation. Use Wanderlog to discover things that you want to do and save the locations to Google Maps for when you get to a certain city.
I love the structure that Wanderlog’s platform provides. While it’s great for all levels of planning, I like narrowing my trip down to a few destinations and then using Wanderlog to sculpt out a trip in each one of those destinations. I can craft an itinerary by adding the must-see attractions that I want to do, and then have a separate section for restaurants I want to try or hotels and hostels that I want to stay at. While other planning apps feel like you’re just daydreaming, Wanderlog provides an actually productive planning platform.
You can also collaborate with your friends for one cohesive list. If you’re planning a group trip, you can all add your ideas and bucket list destinations to the itinerary. With this app, you can add as many stops as you’d like to your itinerary for free. It’s a great planning app for personalizing and perfecting your holidays.
This app is another great source of organization when it comes to having all of your ideas in one place. You can add Guidebooks for each trip with the dates that you plan to be in that city.
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
POLAROID CAMERA & JOURNAL
I do not leave for any road trip without my Polaroid camera or journal. I got my camera a few years back during a Black Friday deal and it has been such a great way to have tangible instantaneous pictures. You can put them in a Scrapbook or string them up on your wall as a great way to display them.
I have always been one to enjoy putting pen to paper. Although putting my thoughts here on my blog is my ultimate goal, there is nothing like writing, drawing or journaling about your trip. I’d you haven’t before, grab a notebook or sketchbook and give it a try!
Above all else, enjoy your journey and allow yourself to get lost. Road trips are meant for exploring the unknown and it is okay to not always not what’s next.