Travelers take to the open road for any number of reasons. When traveling on a summer vacation, families may find it’s more affordable to travel by car than to pay for airline tickets for parents and kids. Others take driving vacations because they afford more freedom to move at one’s own pace than air or train travel. Whatever it is that motivates drivers to hit the open road, there’s no denying such trips are more enjoyable when drivers make an effort to plan ahead. With that in mind, travelers can keep these road trip planning pointers in mind.
- Choose a nearby destination. Driving to a faraway place may conjure romanticized visions of scenic roadways and heartwarming roadside cafés, but that may only appeal to drivers like retirees who have all the time in the world to get from point A to point B. Family travel is often dictated by how long parents can get away from the office, and in such instances shorter tips make more sense than spending days in the car. In addition, driving tends to be the more economical option when travelers are only going short distances. Parents may think driving to a destination that’s a couple of days away from home by car is more economical than flying, but it’s best to crunch the numbers first. The cost of hotels, meals and gas to get there and back may negate the cost savings of driving over flying.
- Develop an itinerary. A trip itinerary does not have to be strictly followed, but it can provide some structure and help ensure drivers get to spend as much time at their desired destination as possible. Identify sights to see and restaurants to visit along the way, which can provide a welcome respite from sitting in the car. Do your best to stick to an itinerary that keeps the car moving toward your ultimate destination.
- Read the room. Who’s going to be in the car also merits ample consideration when planning a road trip. Parents know that young children will need to be accommodated with some in-trip entertainment to make any lengthy road trip more enjoyable for all. But adults also may require some extra creature comforts and accommodations. For example, seniors about to embark on a road trip can identify pitstops along the way where they can use the restroom and even stretch their legs. And if the family pet is coming along, periodic pitstops for Fido to stretch his legs and burn off some energy will be necessary as well.
- Ensure you have support. Many automotive insurance providers offer roadside assistance to policy holders. Such plans are generally affordable and can provide a safety net for drivers taking road trips. They can be especially helpful when visiting remote locales. If an insurance provider does not offer a desirable roadside assistance plan, consider a membership in an automotive club like AAA.
Planning is a vital component of a successful and memorable road trip, which is something travelers can keep in mind regardless of where they’re going.