Road trips are a great activity. If you do it right, you end up with good friends and amazing stories. To avoid a hellish and monotonous journey, Travellers Autobarn has compiled a list of 10 essential road trip rules to help you on your way to the ultimate road trip.
1. Sort Out The Basics
If you’re going to go on a road trip you need a vehicle, and if you don’t have one then you’ve got yourself a problem. Once you’ve got the vehicle, make sure it’s one that everybody knows how to drive. Don’t be the only manual driver in a car full of automatic-only drivers. Don’t forget to do all the practical things like getting the oil, tyres and water checked before you leave, and make sure you’ve got back-ups in case of emergency.
2. Choose A Worthwhile Destination
Jumping in a car and heading nowhere might sound ideal for an hour or so, but in the end, you’re going to want to be heading somewhere. It’s good to approach a road trip with at least an idea or framework for what you’d like to do. Nothing is more disappointing than realizing on the ride home that you forgot to see or do something and it’s too late. Have a list of things that are important to do and map out where they are in relation to each other, so you can accomplish things efficiently.
3. Learn To Read Maps
Bear in mind that the GPS is not infallible. Getting lost is not half the fun after a long day of driving. Basic map-reading skills are important.
4. Master The Art Of A Good Conversation
Once you’ve exhausted your witty high school stories, politics, childhood traumas and the ever-fascinating subject of who’s having sex with whom, complex philosophical questions are always a good bet. Master the art of a good conversation. Show interest and curiosity, strive to be an active listener and do not dominate a conversation or make it all about you.
5. Choose Your Crew Wisely
Be wise and consider precisely which of your friends and loved ones you’re going to enjoy being in a cramped confined space with for potentially weeks. There’s nothing more annoying and depressing than realising you can’t stand the people you’re friends with. Choose friends you’re comfortable with and close to.
6. Bring Enough Cash
Cash is crucial because ATMs can be scarce on the ground in the bush, and on a road trip, sharing is of the utmost importance. Assign the most organised member of your group the job of keeping an account of how much petrol and food everybody is paying. It’s important to keep a budget for random crap that you didn’t know you needed until you saw it in the window of side street grocery in a town of 500 people.
Cash is good to have because there will be a time at the pump in the middle of nowhere and they don’t take credit.
7. Bring Snacks
It’s a given that everyone is obliged to bring a lot of sugar on a road trip. Minties, Snakes, Red Frogs and TimTams are right and necessary when on the road. Eating options on the highway tend to be a choice between Maccas or Maccas, so if that’s going to bother you, prep some delicious healthy things which won’t spill too badly.
Also, if you’re going to drive a long distance you’re going to be in need of caffeine. Ask your organised friend to bring instant coffee, a saucepan, a makeshift stove and water, or just take a thermos.
8. Play Music
If you plug your iPod into the car’s stereo system, you’re sweet. If you don’t have one of those, however, you’re going to want a couple of good mixtapes, or, more accurately, mix CDs. You want to have songs that are going to remind you of the trip for years to come, an underlying theme for your future reminiscing, if you will.
9. Make time to sleep
Try to get sleep as much as possible; no one likes cranky travel buddies, and no one wants a driver who’s nodding off. It can be very challenging to get solid sleep on road trips. Take naps whenever possible and turn in when tired.
10. Wear Ridiculous Apparel
Questionable fashion choices are mandatory on the road. Nothing makes you feel more alive than climbing out of the car at a truck stop wearing something outrageously fluoro and swaggering inside to get yourself a Slurpee.
What are you waiting for? Start planning a road trip right now! Travellers Autobarn has branches in Christchurch and Auckland.