Going on an epic road trip is a part of everyone’s bucket list. Whether you are doing a cross country tour or simply navigating through your own home state, you can't beat the thrill of a road trip. The idea of this perfect getaway elicits a dream world where things go smoothly and you’re bound to have the time of your life. Naturally, things don’t always go as planned, especially when people forgo strategic planning.
That being said, everyone is prone to making mistakes. But finding yourself in a pickle during a road trip is a lot more hazardous and irritating than simply making a mistake in the comfort of your hometown. Keep in mind these 10 mistakes everyone going on a road trip makes.
10 Forgetting To Take Care Of Things At Home
This should be common practice for anyone who’s planned a vacation or two. One thing you don’t want to forget, especially if you are taking a long-winded road trip, is to take care of things at home. This includes pre-paying your bills, turning up your air-conditioning, setting security codes, hiring a dog walker, and more. You’ll also want to be sure to call your bank or credit card company and let them know of your upcoming plans. If you already have your route planned out, it should be easy to let them know which parts of the country you will be hitting.
9 Getting Cheap Gas
Cheap gas is never a good idea. This is especially paramount when you’re going on a road trip. Cheap gas does a lot of work on your car, and not the good kind. Cheap gas could cause a lot of issues, ones that will ruin your trip if your car ends up needing repairs.
As your trip unfolds, you may be more and more keen on the idea of low-price gas in order to spend your well-earned money on more eventful things. Sure, it’s always lucrative to be savvy with your gas spendings and you can use apps like Gas Buddy to help you find the best deals. But don’t simply choose gas with the lowest price, especially if it is well below the standard rate in that area.
8 Not Taking The Scenic Route
The whole point of a road trip is to explore. Opting not to take the scenic route is essentially stripping away the core of your road trip experience. You may be worried about budgeting and gas prices, but the scenic route doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan accordingly.
The idea of a road trip is to have a relaxing and eye-opening adventure, and a part of that is just simply cruising on the wide-open road. You may not realize it at the time, but you will definitely regret not taking the scenic route.
7 Packing Your Car Too Full
Packing your car too full is ill-advised for a number of reasons. First of all, you don’t want to pack unnecessary things. They will be hard to get to, even harder to unpack, and it leaves little room for the interesting souvenirs you may find on the road. But even more importantly, packing your car too full is like putting a neon sign over your car, inviting thieves to help themselves.
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If your luggage can be clearly seen through your windshield or back window, it’s time to rethink your car packing strategy. Your out-of-state license plate, as well as a car full of valuables, is a sure way to get the attention of potential thieves. Some cars, especially older models, are easier to break into than you'd think. And next thing you know, all of your valuables could be missing from the backseat of your car.
6 Not Stopping To Rest
Not only should you plan out where your rest stops are, but you should know when it’s time to call it quits. Even if you’re on a strict timeline and you’re falling behind, it’s never a good idea to be on the road while you’re tired. It’s just as dangerous as drinking and driving.
Plus, not getting the rest you need is a good way to put you in a sour mood, which can put a damper on the overall experience. Make sure to get plenty of rest during your road trip. It may catch up with you later and you’ll end up sleeping through half of your vacation.
5 Not Packing Enough Snacks
Most people plan on making a few pitstops for bathroom breaks and snap grabs for the road trip, but you want to make sure to pack enough of your own. Gas stations thrive on unprepared road trippers who need a quick snack to get through the last leg of their trip. The prices of these snacks are a lot higher than your average grocery store, which means you’ll have to budget for those costly chips and candy.
A better idea is to pack enough of your own snacks that will last you the length of your road trip. Just be sure to pack non-perishable items and try to pick a variety so that you don’t grow tired of the same old snack.
4 Having No Plan
Some people like the idea of going on a road trip with no plan, no expectations, with only spontaneous moves acting as their guide. While the concept is definitely thrilling, it’s definitely not a notion that will get you far.
Not planning out your road trip can induce pitfalls such as car problems, running out of money, and not finding anything to do. Sure, you can make a stop here and there that isn't on your list, but having an itinerary should be at the top of your road trip to-do list.
3 Perfect Expectations
Getaways always come with the notion that you were leaving all of the stress of reality behind you. Unfortunately, as most seasoned travelers know, this isn’t always the case. There is sure to be something that goes awry during your road trip, but what’s important is that you don’t stress too hard over it.
It’s also important to be aware that having perfect expectations will drain your state of mind, and could discourage you from ever indulging on this type of trip again. Of course, you don’t want to start off your road trip being pessimistic, but as long as you come well-prepared you should be able to tackle any obstacle you find on the road.
2 Not Budgeting Accurately
After carefully planning out your route, the next thing you need to do is figure out your budget. Most people forget to add in the more laborious price tags that need to be paid before going on a road trip. This includes having your car inspected and taken care of to make sure it will make the journey. People also tend to forget budgeting for parking costs, parking tickets (just in case), and wavering gas prices throughout each region.
Your best bet is to give yourself a higher budget then you may need. That way, you won’t run short on cash and you may just find yourself with extra spending capital that you can use for excursions.
1 Not Asking Locals For Advice
A road trip not only brings you new experiences, but it also introduces you to new people. Even introverts should take this opportunity that only road trips can provide. Road trippers should get to know the locals and try to get their read on the best things to do while you’re in town. They’ll tell you where to steer clear as well as which bars or parks have the most enticements.
Some people may do this in passing, but it should be at the forefront of your road trip, especially if you’re looking for a little spontaneity for your adventure.