5 Things to Know Before Hitting the Open Road



ROAD TRIPPING IS BY FAR ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO EXPLORE A NEW PLACE: THE SCENERY, THE CULTURE, THE VIBE. HERE ARE 5 OFTEN OVERLOOKED TIPS TO HELP YOU HAVE THE BEST ROAD TRIPPING ADVENTURE.

 

Oh summer road trips, a time to sit back and relax as the beautiful scenery flashes by from your window. At least for Summer 2020, it seems everyone is heading out on a road trip in one form or another (driving RVs, towing RVs, a supped-up van, a geared up motorcycle or just a plain old car).


With so many people hitting the highway this year, we thought it would be fun to share few helpful tips with you - after doing our own fair share of road tripping across the States, as well as internationally.


So, without further ado, here are are a few things we have learned over the years.



 

5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE HITTING THE OPEN ROAD

 



1. Download As Much Digital Entertainment As Possible


You will spend a lot of time in the car while road tripping (duh), so it definitely helps to have some good background noise - especially when driving through those “not” so pretty areas (sorry Kansas that means you).


We are suckers for a good podcast as we like to be entertained and learn something at the same time. But honestly, we both just tend to get bored with music after the first hour or so. Podcasts, at least for us, fill that silence that eventually hits us all around hour 2 or 3.


A few of our favorites are: The Dollop (funny, historical and a tad, okay maybe a lot, raunchy), Stuff You Should Know (for random facts that you can bring up at the next family gathering) and 99% Invisible (another fact-based podcast).


If podcasts aren’t your jam or you instead just want something a bit longer (or with a bit more depth) then recommend downloading a couple of audiobooks. We use Audible most of the time and have listened to dozens of books during not only road trips, but also international travel (and sometimes even to fall asleep to at night).





2. Don’t Worry About Your Diet While Driving


There is this odd thing that happens when you start driving for hours on end. For some reason you think it is completely respectable to load up on junk food. Again no judgment, we are guilty of it too.


Our junk food of choice is often gummy bears, peach rings, tortilla chips, and an Arnold Palmer to wash it all down. Though I (Madalyne) will admit that I once went on a 13-hour road trip living off cheerios and almond milk alone. Good times.


So forget about your diet and splurge on that junk food you’ve been eyeing for a couple weeks. When on the open road, no one cares that your breath smells like Peppermint Paddy’s or beef jerky.



3. Be Prepared to Drive in Inclement Weather and At Night


We say it time and time again: we will NEVER drive at night. But for some reason when push comes to shove we still keep going for an hour or two well past blue hour. Driving in bad weather, and in the dark, sucks. It keeps you from seeing the beautiful scenery (which is one of the biggest perks of road-tripping) and makes driving a lot more stressful.


So be prepared for all the challenges Mother Nature throws at you and remember that if you have to you can either pull over and let the bad weather pass or safely slow down so you are driving at a comfortable speed (this is especially good when visibility is bad). Just know that that sooner or later the weather will clear, the sun will come out and you will be able to appreciate the amazing nature as it zooms by once again.



4. Don’t Be Too Stubborn To Stop


This is key for enjoying your road trip. While you can see a lot of beautiful, stunning landscapes from your car window, there is nothing like actually getting out and experiencing them firsthand. This is what sets road-tripping apart from flying - the ability to stop when you want, where you want and take it all in.


And this doesn’t just mean at the most “famous” roadside attractions or lookout points. Pull over at any amazing vista, or simply take a walk down that cool dirt road you just passed. In the end, just stepping out of your vehicle every once in a while and experiencing the land fully, will make the road trip that much more special.



Person walking on ridge at sunset.


5. Allow Your Plans to Change


This might be the best tip we can give you when planning a road trip: do not let your set itinerary get in the way of spontaneous adventures. It is okay if you don’t get to see every single thing on your to-do list. It is okay if you instead spend extra time at one specific spot because it is absolutely amazing. Plainly put, don’t stick to your schedule so much that you stop enjoying what is right in front of your face.


The small things - the random stops - are often what you remember most after a trip. For us, we love pulling over and just taking a quick walkabout, snapping a couple of photos and then just staring out at a place (seriously, really take it all in). And many of those random stops have been the key things we remember years later.


A great personal example of this idea is when we did a 6-day road trip through Northern Thailand and had a very open schedule (seriously, we had almost no plans - including where we would stay each night). And in the end, everything turned out better than we ever expected (plus, we never had to sleep on the side of the road). We got to experience so many random places along the route and we know that if we had had a stricter schedule we never would have pulled over for them.


A road trip isn’t supposed to stick to a set schedule - if you want that, take a flight. Be okay with the random delays and don’t stress about not seeing everything.


 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the key to having a truly awesome road trip experience is letting go of your strict guidelines and letting the road take you wherever it wants. The freedom the open road gives you is one of the biggest reasons so many people embark on road trips regularly. So, while you are planning the most amazing road trip route possible, remember to leave a couple of spots open for some random magic to hit you along the way.



Road cuts through redwood forest in California.

 

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