7 In Travel/ Travel hacks/ United States

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST ROAD TRIP

While road trips are an exciting experience, they also have the potential to go wrong (the movie Vacation, anyone?). I had told myself for years that I would take a road trip across the United States. However, the chance had just never presented itself. So, when my friend found out that she had been offered a job in California, I was the first to volunteer to ride along. After having my first road trip experience, I’m ready to share my advice to make your drive run smoothly.

road trip

What to pack

Here’s an idea of some of the items you’ll want to pack to make your long haul in the car as comfortable as possible.

  • Caffeine– Whether this is in the form of Red Bull or coffee, caffeine can help you wake up and stay focused while driving when feeling drowsy.
  • Snacks– There are many areas where you may not even be able to find a bite to purchase, so maybe sure you bring some along. I recommend something like a granola mix and water bottles.
  • Phone car connector– Unless you want to listen to the radio for the entire trip, make sure you bring a phone car connector so that you can play music off of your phone.
  • Comfy shoes– There’s no reason to bring anything but comfy shoes on a road trip.
  • Sunglasses– Is there anything worse than driving with the sun in your eyes?
  • Your camera– You never know when you’ll see a photo worthy landscape along the road!
  • A car phone charger or external battery– Your battery won’t last forever.

road tripWhat to download

Audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks is one of the best ways to pass the time while riding in the car. Nonetheless, they can be a bit expensive. If you sign up online for a 30-day free trial of the website Audiobooks.com, you get a free audiobook download of any book in their library! Remember, you have to sign up online first. Then, you can use the app on your phone to download the text of your choice. I used my free book on Bossypants by Tina Fey.

Audible

Similar to Audiobooks, Audible also offers a free audiobook download upon registering for a 30-day trial. Between Audiobooks and Audible, they will both have all of the most popular books to download. Nonetheless, it is essential to note that Audible has a more extensive library. So, if you like “niche” books, you may be better off with Audible.

Hotwire

Hotwire is a fantastic booking app that helped me save a ton of money on the road trip. My friend and I booked our hotels while driving (instead of ahead of time) and always had a great experience with this app. The cool thing about hotwire is that it advertises hotels at prices that are cheaper than usual. The only catch is that it does not display the name of the hotel until you book it. When you search for a hotel room, you’ll be told how many stars the hotel is as well as the neighborhood in which it is located. Furthermore, details such as “free breakfast” and other amenities are listed.

Yelp

We’ve all heard of Yelp, but I can’t express how useful this app is to find great places to eat while driving. Driving from Atlanta to Los Angeles, there was a bit of a dry spell after getting through Dallas. Sometimes we were unsure of when we would see a restaurant next, so we started planning out where we would stop to eat using Yelp. The app was especially helpful in small towns where there were not many options.

Waze

Waze is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to avoiding traffic. With this app, you can communicate with other drivers in the same area and alert them to road and traffic conditions. Moreover, if Waze detects bad traffic, it will attempt to reroute you using back roads that many don’t know about.

Podcasts

Podcasts have become quite the rage in recent years due to the smashing success of Serial. Entertaining podcasts include This American Life and Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.

road tripExtra Tips

  • Get your car checked before you leave.
  • Make sure to refill your gas tank before entering a remote area.
  • Stretch each time you get out of the car to prevent pain and tension.
  • Anticipate hiccups in your plan and traffic along the road.
  • Be open to adding in last-minute stops.
  • Make road trip playlists with your favorite upbeat music.

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    carrie
    August 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    I do a ton of driving travel all over the US and your tips are spot on! I am typically traveling with my dog, so i not only have to pack everything i might need, but also everything he might need. it can be stressful, BUT i love getting to stop at places along the way i normally never would have stumbled upon.

  • Reply
    Van @ Snow in Tromso
    August 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Road trips are the best! Not exactly here in Northern Norway though as I already live in the middle of nowhere and the roads don’t really lead to anything but I’d love to cruise the freeways of the US! And my boyfriend is dreaming about roadtrippin route 66 anyway so we’ll have to visit the US for a road trip sooner or later 😉

  • Reply
    Skye Sherman
    September 1, 2016 at 9:56 am

    These are seriously some great tips. I’ve never really had the desire to go on a road trip–long rides in the car get old to me pretty quickly, and I much prefer the thrill and speed of flying!–but this makes me want to go for it! Maybe someday I’ll try that quintessential “Route 66” American cross-country tour…with plenty of stops for BBQ, scenic outlooks, and random small-town monuments along the way! Thanks for this awesome all-inclusive guide. You mention some really great tips and tricks I hadn’t thought about! I’ll definitely be referring back to this when I do make the trip!

  • Reply
    Lolo
    September 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    What a fantastic list! Some of this stuff I haven’t even heard of before! Could come in handy during our next road trip! #WanderfulWednesday

  • Reply
    Lauren
    September 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Love these tips! I’ve done a bunch of road trips, but my first real long one was last year with my parents. My parents recently retired and bought an RV and have been traveling back and forth across the US! Last year I had some time when I returned from Spain so I decided to join them. Thankfully they’ve been doing this a while now so they had all the bases covered and I had such a good time! These are great tips to get going on the road trip bandwagon! 😀

  • Reply
    Scarlett
    September 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    It’s all about the snacks!!… and the company ; )

  • Reply
    Katie
    November 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    So my partner and I are heading to the US for our honeymoon and plan on a road trip so these tips are great! I had never heard of Hotwire so thats, will try that one out! 🙂 Waze also sounds great! We are planning on driving around the West Coast and have heard such negative things about the traffic.

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