Looking for one last summer hoorah? Taking a roadtrip may be just what you are looking for! No matter if you’re visiting your Grandma a few hours away or traveling cross-country, this how-to guide will help you turn your roadtrip into the adventure of a lifetime!

Planning

You first need to decide how long you’d like to be gone to determine where you would like to go. If you only have two days available then it is best to take a short trip to the next state over. If you have some more free time then a longer voyage is possible. Next, determine who you would like to travel with (or if you wanting to go at it alone) and which vehicle is durable for the trip. If you’re over 25 then I’d suggest renting a car to avoiding racking up mileage on your everyday commuter. I always go on roadtrips with my sister and her dog and she usually does most of the driving while I navigate the maps, good teamwork!  

Once the basics are tackled you can determine your destination.  A travel agent, like AAA, can help you decide on an ideal vacation spot for you as well as organize the best route while keeping your budget in mind.  If you aren’t interested in working with a travel agent then I’d suggest heading to their website, www.aaa.com, to plan out your own trip using their free tools such as driving mileage and times, itinerary planner, maps, and photos.  

Don’t Forget:

  • To determine how long you are willing to drive each day; 8 hours on the road is more exhausting then you’d imagine. If you’re traveling with a companion then discuss taking turns driving for an easier trip.
  • Make sure your car registration and insurance is up to date. Getting an out of state ticket is not the souvenir you want to be bringing home!

Packing

Check the weather online to determine what the climate will be like in every location along the way and pack accordingly. Even in the summertime I suggest packing at least one outfit to accommodate cold weather and vice versa.  Also, as my mom always reminds me, pack a swimsuit even if you don’t plan on swimming.  It is always best to be prepared for any unexpected twist your trip throws at you. Of course, use your best judgment to avoid over packing.

Don’t Forget:

  • Socks! Everybody always seems to forget socks.
  • Casual shoes like flip flops and some sort of athletic shoes too. I once went on a camping trip without any hiking shoes and let me tell you, trekking through mountains in sandals is not fun!
  • Toiletries like toothbrush, razor, etc. Don’t fret if you forget these though, toiletries are always easy to buy along the way, even gas stations sell toothpaste!  

 photo credit

Lodging

Are you wanting to stay in a hotel? Are you prepared to camp each night? Are you driving an R.V. and do you have a legal location to park it? Consider you options and choose the one that works best for you. Hotels are obviously the most comfortable option but it can get expensive buying a room each night. Camping is always a fun summer activity but can you endure sleeping on the hard ground for a week?  I suggest taking advantage of both accommodations. Renting a campsite is cheap and easy to find off major highways.  If you can’t find a campsite, an R.V. park will usually have patches of grass to set up a tent if necessary.  Head over to the KOA website, www.koa.com, to find a list of safe campgrounds in every city.

After a few days of camping treat yourself to a hotel room once you arrive in your destination.  If you’re traveling with a dog like I do then make sure your hotel room allows pets. I would also suggest checking out some of the low-end hotels, like Super 8 or Motel 6, if you’re on a tight budget. These types of lodging often get bad raps but I’ve had great experiences in several low-end motels and they usually provide a free breakfast! Make sure to plan your lodging choice ahead of time and make reservations.

Another option would be staying in a youth hostel, a popular and super cheap alternative for lodging. Youth hostels are available worldwide and allow you to rent a bed in a dormitory while sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and living space with other travelers. Hostels are perfect for meeting interesting people at every stage of your trip. You can find a full listing of hostels in your area at www.hostels.com.    

It can be fun not knowing where you’ll be staying that night so if you plan on just seeing what’s available when you arrive in a destination then make sure to stop before it gets darks so you can check out the lodging options fully.

Don’t Forget:

  • Camping equipment like a tent, sleeping bag, and s’mores supplies are absolutely necessary!  
  • Survival skills! Make sure you know how to build a fire and set up a tent, two skills I didn’t have on my roadtrip … oops!

The Experience

As they say,”Getting there is half the fun!” so don’t rush the trip. The whole point of a roadtrip is the drive so stop along the way and take pictures, drive down the scenic routes, and try new things. My favorite thing to do on a roadtrip is to take a picture next to the Welcome sign when entering a new state. Make sure to check out www.roadsideamerica.com  for kooky tourist attractions in each state like the Lunchbox Museum in Georgia or the World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Colorado!

Souvenirs are always a must on road trips so don’t forget to bring something home to remember your vacation by! Instead of browsing overpriced tourist shops I suggest stopping at roadside stands or checking out the favorite stores of the locals. If you’re on a budget then collect something in each state like rocks or seashells for free! Also, make sure to document your adventure through pictures! My personal favorite is to keep a blog as you are on your trip to keep track of all the little moments. Most blogging sites allow mobile blogging so you can send videos, pictures, and audio clips straight from your phone as you’re on the road!

Don’t Forget:

  • A camera for quick snapshots.
  • To call home!

What Do You Think?

Are you up for a good ol’ fashioned roadtrip? Did I leave any helpful hints out? Leave me a comment and let me know! Also, I want to hear about your roadtrip experience so shoot me an email at madelyn@everycollegegirl.com or share in a comment below! You can also check out my roadtrip blog at www.MandyandMadisGreatAdventures.tumblr.com .

Madi Hadel Author: Madi

More Every College Girl

3 Comments

  1. yelitza yelitza says:

    that’s an awesome article, madi!
    i’m inspired to take a road trip of my own now :)
    i’d say a job very well done for it being your first published work :D

  2.  sandra says:

    Great post! Lots of good tips, it makes me want to jump in my car today!! :)

  3. NotArianna NotArianna says:

    I’ll be using all of these tips next summer when I take my road trip. This was a fantastic article. Who is this girl? She’s smart, charming and witty! I love herrrr!@@!!!

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