Common mistakes people make when going on road trips

In Travel

I love road trips. The way I see it, how can one not? There’s something inherently soothing about driving on along the open roads with scenic beauty surrounding you.

It’s a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of daily urban life. Having taken several roads trips, I can safely say they are a great holiday to take with either your family or your friends.

Yet some people have had terrible experiences on road trips, and after talking to them, it’s easy to see why. There are several common mistakes people make on road trips, that should be avoided as they can spoil the entire experience. Here are a few of them.

Being in a hurry to get to a destination:

Road trips are meant to be a break from our fast-tracked lives. Yet, most people bring that mindset into these trips as well. Road trips are not like air travel – they are not a means to an end.

The drive itself is supposed to be an adventure – much like on a cruise. Trying to rush in a road trip is a terrible idea. Take your time and enjoy where you are right now rather than worrying about the next destination.

Don’t try to force yourself to travel longer than what everyone is comfortable with just to meet an unnecessary deadline. If everyone agrees to take a stop, do so. These stops provide a much-needed break for our body and mind from the enclosed confines of the car.

Breaks are also needed to replenish you with food. This gives the driver, in particular, a much-needed boost for the rest of the journey. We all know how dangerous it can be to have a tired driver behind the wheel.

Besides, there are better ways to save time such as starting the trip early in the morning or using Google Maps to avoid traffic. Remember, road trips are about quality, not quantity.

Not planning in advance:

Discuss with your group what sights are a must see and ensure that there is time for them. Call up in advance to see if these attractions are open for tourists at the time you want to visit.

You don’t want to reach all the way there just to find out that they’re closed. For the same reason, do read weather forecasts as well. You should try to do all the sightseeing before sunset as the views get obscured in the dark.

While it is essential to plan some things in advance, your schedule on a road trip should stay flexible overall. Do leave some spare time to see other sights that come your way.

You never know what you might find interesting. As a general rule, expect to go slower than planned. However, be mindful that if you go too slow, you may not have time left to see the all the important attractions.

As your schedule should remain flexible, booking rooms in advance is advisable. Apps such as Hotel Tonight will help you find a hotel at a good price, even at the 11th hour.

The Car:

The car is a major part of the trip. Quite a lot of your time will be spent in it. This makes it extremely necessary for your car to be perfectly suited for the journey.

The car should be big enough for everyone and their luggage to fit in easily. As an example, if there are six people the car should be built to seat nine. I say this because, over a long period, sitting in an enclosed space can make your body stiff and sore.

There should be some room for everyone to relax and stretch out a bit. The car should also be smooth and comfortable to drive over long distances.

Renting a car is the best option for most people. However, for the explorers among you that love taking road trips often, buying a car for this purpose will be more economical than renting one each time.

Sell car online services such as this will get you a good deal for your old car and help you make up at least some of the money needed to buy a new one.

If you do take your own car, get its maintenance work done beforehand. Get the tires and engine oil checked. You wouldn’t want your car dying on you in the middle of the trip.

Supplies:

Pack in preparation for any unplanned situation that might arise.

  • Carry snacks and drinks as you never know when you might get hungry on the road.
  • Do take basic toiletries such as napkins, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, etc.
  • Take sleeping bags and tents if you plan on camping.
  • Take insect repellant lotions for the outdoors.
  • You should have at least one fully charged phone at all times with the necessary apps for navigation, hotels, and entertainment (g., Spotify for music). Phones are also needed to call for help in case of an emergency.
  • Portable speakers for music.
  • A good camera.
  • A spare tire and a tire changing kit.

As you will be on the move for the most part, you should pack light, but pack right.

Budget:

When budgeting for a road trip, people do consider major things such as fuel costs, hotel bills, and food. However, they commonly forget to consider money spent on buying souvenirs, toll and parking charges among other minor expenses. All these may seem less but can add up to be a substantial sum over the course of the trip. Thus it is advisable for you to carry some extra cash over the expected amount.

One way in which you can save a lot of money on a road trip is by refueling in urban centers instead of on a lone pump on the highway. This is because competition in cities helps keep gas prices low there. Gas Buddy is an app that will help you find the cheapest gas stations during your trip.