Craving the freedom of the open road? Whether you’re planning a short weekend excursion with friends or a trip across the country, here are some tips for a successful road trip.
Packing presents a challenge, especially if you are traveling with limited space. To avoid overpacking, make an essentials-only checklist for your trip, everything from car snacks to electronics. Create a clothing plan in advance, and try to pack outfits you can easily mix and match to minimize items. Tiny toiletries are a big space saver; invest in reusable travel bottles to fill with your favorite products. Don’t forget to check the weather leading up to your trip in case you need to make any adjustments. For more ideas, Travel + Leisure has a page on its website dedicated to packing tips.
Perfect Your Playlist
If you’re planning to drive through remote areas and don’t want to be stuck without your favorite tunes, or if you want to save some data, take advantage of apps like Spotify and Pandora that let you make playlists to download for offline listening. And if you grow tired of constant tunes, have an audio book or podcast picked out and ready to go.
It’s best to be prepared for any situation, especially when traveling long distances. Have an easily accessible first aid kit, stocked with bandaids, ibuprofen, gauze, paper tape and antibiotic ointment. Always keep jumper cables in your car; you never know when you may have to use them (or help a fellow traveler out!) It’s also a good idea to let a friend or family member know your trip itinerary, and check in with them every so often.
There’s an App for That
If there’s a service you need, chances are there is already an app out there for it. Road trips are no exception; there are hundreds of apps to make your adventure more enjoyable. Are you planning a longer trip but need some ideas for the journey? Check out Roadtrippers, which helps you discover obscure points of interest along your route. For navigation, use Waze for live traffic conditions and notifications.
If your budget is tight, use an app like Gas Buddy, which tracks gas prices near you so you can fill up for less. iExit is another great app if you’re traveling mostly on interstates. It provides details and directions for food, lodging, gas stations, and more on your route. This is great for those of you who are trying to avoid fast food joints during your trip.
Hotel rooms can be costly and don’t always offer a memorable lodging experience. If you love nature, most state and national parks offer cheaper camping options, ranging from cabins and yurts to primitive campsites. Looking for something a little more homey? Local bed and breakfasts, like our Inn at Stinson Vineyards, may cost a little more, but offer a personal touch to your stay. Finally, search for unique and boutique lodging, like our Townsman Hotel or 829 Belmont vacation properties in Charlottesville, VA, which leave a lasting impression and allow you to experience the area like a local.