Essential Rules of the Road Trip
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash
Whether it’s with family, a spouse, or a small group of friends, adventures await and great memories made whenever we go on a road trip with others. From the coast of California to the mountains of central Europe to the steppes of Asia and beyond, there are no shortage of breathtaking landscapes for a group of explorers to traverse by motor vehicle. Scattered across the map – a series of cities, sights, and historical landmarks enriching the journey along the way – not to mention one or two chintzy tourist traps for grins and giggles.
Before departure, it’s imperative for those taking part to remember some essential rules of a road trip. Bear in mind these rules are a product of the author’s opinion and have no tradition or history attached to them, nor are they enforced by some brotherhood of road trip regulators. They are, however, useful bits of advice to consider before hitting the asphalt in pursuit of adventure.
Use A Safe And Street Legal Automobile
Uncle Fred’s old emerald and gold conversion van looks like the ideal choice of vehicle for a road trip across America with your best pals, but take a closer look before taking off. Inspect the tires of the automobile you plan to use for your road trip and make sure the oil is recently changed. Check the wiper fluid and whether the wipers work, and test the lights as well. Double check to ensure the auto insurance is up to date and the license plates aren’t about to expire. Lastly, research the safety rating for the vehicle when fully loaded with passengers. If it has a propensity to flip or brake poorly in bad weather, consider another choice of vehicle.
Share The Storage Space
Touch base with your fellow travelers before taking off to plan the packing arrangements. Simply put, you don’t want to find out everyone plans to bring too much stuff on the day you plan to leave. Map out the available storage space in the trunk and elsewhere and assign an even amount to each person. If someone doesn’t need a certain amount, they can give it to someone who does with a trade as an optional part of the arrangement. Make sure the back window is not blocked by too many bags and containers, as a quick ability to see what’s behind the car in motion is a critical component of safe driving.
Assign Someone As Trip Treasurer
Calculate the rough estimate for fuel costs for the journey start to finish and collect each person’s money before leaving town. Assign someone the treasurer – for families, this is usually mom or dad but for groups of friends, it might need to require some recruitment on the part of the trip planner. Pick someone trustworthy and who is unlikely to misplace things. Now here is the important part – make sure to put most of this fuel money onto a prepaid card. This reduces the liability of cash, which can be easily misplaced during a road trip.
Keep it Clean and Organized
When you are racking up hours, meals, and miles in your car on a road trip you have to keep it clean the longer you go. When your car is tidy it is not as bad to sit in for hours on end. Every time you eat make sure to throw everything away, if you spill some snack food its best to clean it up or use a truck stop vacuum. Air fresheners and spurts with the windows down can keep the car smelling good and feeling fresh which sounds unimportant but everyone who has driven for double digit hours knows exactly how hot, uncomfortable and stale the inside of a car can be, especially on a hot day. Point is, keep it clean and the car will reward you with a lot more comfort.
Take It Slow
Plan for deviations. Expect traffic. Assume you’re going to get lost at some point despite everyone bringing along their GPS-enabled devices. It’s all part of the fun of a road trip. The worst-case scenario in the event you plan for delays and have none is you end up with some time to kill finding something spontaneous to see or explore along the way.
Road trips are one of the best ways to experience an unforgettable adventure with a special group of people whether they’re friends or family. But those about to embark on a cross-country adventure by car must be mindful of some of the important “rules of the road trip.” While they may not really be rules, they are worth treating as such.