Deciding to embark on a road trip is an exciting and life-changing decision. This is the one form of travel that has endless possibilities; you could be travelling down the open road one minute, camping under the stars the next, and even staying in a 5-star luxury hotel.
The only downside, if you can call it that, is that planning an epic road trip – as in a once in a lifetime type of vacation – requires a lot of planning and preparation.
However, don’t let this put you off.
Instead, make the planning side of your trip part of the adventure, and if you start to feel overwhelmed, remind yourself of all the mind-blowing memories that you are soon going to make.
A truly epic road trip will be unforgettable.
Now, where to begin?
Choosing your destination
The world is your oyster, literally. Firstly, think about where you have always wanted to go? Is there a specific part of the world that holds a great sense of wonderment for you? Or an experience or excursion that you really want to try?
Obviously, your choice will be dependent on your budget and you should always pick somewhere that you can actually afford to go to as there is little point travelling all the way to Africa, and then being unable to book any experiences as you are out of cash.
If money is tight, there are many cheaper destinations that are less popular with tourists but that still offer stunning sights and amazing adventures.
Choose your fellow travellers
You may not have much choice in this if you are travelling with family, but if you are planning to travel with mates, then you should sit down and seriously think about who you want to invite.
You may have enjoyed a one-week trip to Ibiza with a certain group of friends, but that doesn’t mean that you will have the same experience on a road trip where you are spending vast amounts of time driving in close proximity to each other. Any little habits that get on your nerves from time to time will be magnified on a trip of this scale, so be sure to choose carefully.
If in doubt, choosing mates who are at least interested in the same activities as you and who favour the same type of vacation is a good place to start.
Choose a vehicle
This is an incredibly important decision that needs to be made and making the wrong one could cost you greatly. You may think that cruising down Route 65 in an open top convertible is the epitome of cool, but where are you going to store all your belongings? Not to mention the belongings of your mates.
Instead, it may be better to look to a more useful vehicle such as an RV which has the added bonus of doubling up as accommodation. Cruise America offer stylish RV’s to rent which are an ideal mode of transport for a road trip; allowing you to explore unknown areas with the knowledge that you have your sleeping arrangements already catered for.
If you really must have the experience of a vintage sports car, then you can always hire one for a day.
Plan the details
Of course, you want a certain amount of spontaneity on your trip, but it is always wise to make certain arrangements before you go to avoid any disappointment.
Planning the length of your trip is vital as you will want to make sure that you have sufficient funds for the entire duration, plus (unless you have an extremely flexible boss), you will need to book the time off work.
Choosing the time of year that you want to go is also important, especially if there are certain festivals or activities that you want to attend. However, do not rule out going somewhere out of season, as this can often be a lot cheaper and you will get to experience a different, less touristy atmosphere.
Think about accommodation
Depending on your destination, you may very well find places that you can just turn up to on the day and book in for, however, when you have been driving all day, you won’t want to reach your destination and find there is nowhere for you to stay.
Therefore, it is advisable to carry out some research on your chosen locations and see what types of accommodation are available; hotels, hostels, camping sites etc.
Obviously, if you are travelling in an RV, then this is less of an issue, but you should still investigate camp sites or whether your destination allows wild camping.
Having one special night in a luxury hotel is always a great way to finish a road trip so you should definitely look into this if your budget allows.
Pack for the drive
Spending a long time on the road can be tedious, even with the stunning scenery around you and the prospect of an exciting, undiscovered destination, so it is important for overall morale to keep everyone entertained.
Compiling an epic playlist for your road trip is a must – think about including any songs relating to travel, driving and adventure, as well as some of you and your mates’ favourite tunes.
Of course, you will also need a massive selection of snacks for the road, and although it may be tempting to hit junk food city, high protein snacks that will keep you going and in a good mood are better, so opt for nuts, fruit and water if you can (with the odd bag of flamin’ hot Cheetos thrown in, naturally).
Be prepared for emergencies
Often forgotten, being on the road in the middle of nowhere and suddenly having an emergency is not a pleasant experience. Make sure you pack an emergency kit for both you and your fellow passengers, as well as for the vehicle itself.
An actual map, as in a hard copy, is a good idea, as you never know when your satnav may break, or your phone battery may die; it is better to be over prepared than under.
It is also advised that you leave your intended route with a family member or friend, so that if they do not hear from you for a few days, they know to raise the alarm that you may need help.