Guide to Planning a Road Trip with Friends

Recent world events have left many of us feeling rather stuck at home. If you’re ready to bust out and take a road trip with friends, the checklist below can help you plan out your travels. With the right trip plan and the right people, your road trip can give you memories you will enjoy forever.

Schedule

How far do you have to go, and how much time do you have to get there? If you’re headed out for a particular event or destination such as a concert or party, try not to travel on the event day. Driving takes focus and concentration. Pushing the driver too hard on the event day can steal their joy.

Try to get on the road at a time that allows you to get through major population centers during quiet hours. Don’t pass through large cities at 5 pm on a Friday unless there’s no other way. If you find yourself in heavy traffic and are supporting the driver, plug into your GPS Tracker for the most up-to-the-minute directions and rerouting if needed.

Budget

Determine how much you have to spend on your trip. If you’re going to a ticketed event, you may need to camp on the way to stay within budget. If you’ve got a bit more ready cash, consider breaking your trip down into shorter driving chunks of time to allow for a hotel stay. If funds are very tight, you may choose to swap drivers in the night and just take turns sleeping in the car. Carry earbuds so you can enjoy your driving tunes!

Pack a cooler to keep costs low and to avoid eating a lot of junk food. To keep things tidy, freeze small bottles of water and lay them in the bottom of the cooler. On top of this, layer simple single-serving snacks, from yogurt to freshly washed and packaged produce to crackers and sandwiches.

No matter what, make sure you have an open, honest conversation about the budget before you get on the road. Everyone at your party should be comfortable and confident about your plans.

Directions

In addition to your GPS tracker, make sure you print off a paper set of directions with stops along the way. Traffic accidents and construction zones may force you to re-route. Having a paper backup can reduce stress, especially if you are headed out into areas with limited cell service.

Checking In

Having a friend, family member or partner who worries about you is a gift. Check-in with them when you stop for restroom breaks, food, and sleep. Of course, the driver should never be texting. However, you will want to take the time to stop, stretch, and check-in.

Vehicle Prep

Get your car serviced a few days before you plan to set out on your road trip. Clean out your trunk, footwells, and cubbies so you can load up what you need for your travels. Consider getting the car detailed, or at least vacuumed before you start.

On your travel day, take the time to check your tire pressure. Even a slightly low tire can be a serious problem when you’re on the highway. If you have a tire that has been slowly losing air, get it repaired or replaced before you go. Changing a tire is a hassle. Moving everyone’s luggage before you can even get to the spare is a huge pain in the neck.

Delays and Emergencies

Stay flexible. Things will go wrong. For those traveling to a particular event, don’t plan to arrive just as the concert or party gets going. Try to plan at least half a day of cushion time so you are prepared for any delays that may crop up.

If you are a passenger, keep the driver in mind. In addition to providing them with directions, be ready to open snacks, open drinks, and monitor upcoming road hazards. Be ready to swap if they get tired, and if you aren’t comfortable driving, be ready to stop when the driver needs to stop.

Your road trip can be a great way to reconnect with friends. Breaking out of isolation can be a truly joyful experience. With just a little planning, your next road trip can be memorable.

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