Road tripping promises to be one of the most popular forms of travel in the year 2022. It offers just enough adventure to soothe years of lockdown-induced cabin fever, and it’s easier on the budget too. But there’s a little more to this form of exploration than getting into your car and driving.
Here is everything you need to know about planning an exceptional road trip in 2022. Grab your friends or your family and get ready to ride!
Choosing A Route
But before you hit the road, there are practical matters to consider. Primarily, where your road trip journey will take you. Choosing a route to follow will not only provide structure to your journey, but it will also make all the following steps much easier to execute.
When it comes to route selection in the US, you are spoiled for choice. The 5,000-mile-wide country is overflowing with different terrains, regions, and microcultures that never seem to run dry.
Some of the most popular road trip routes to take in the US include the Pacific Coast Highway, which goes through California, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, and the classic Route 66 spanning all the way from Chicago to the coastal Santa Monica Pier.
If, like a large percentage of other road trippers this year, you’d like to branch out to other countries, some of the most highly recommended international road trips highlight South Africa’s glorious green Garden Route, and Spain’s sunny Catalonia Coast. The list is endless!
Pick The Perfect Road Trip Car – And Prepare For Every Eventuality
The car that you choose for your road trip is of the utmost importance. It’s got to carry you, your fellow road trippers, your luggage, and everything in between. SUVs have a good rep, as do RVs and minibusses. But the most important thing is that the car is in good condition and has been approved for long-distance driving by a professional mechanic. If there is an issue, fix it before setting off.
Knowing what to do when a car breaks down might seem superfluous to some, but when you’re on the road and something goes wrong – being unprepared could lead to injury, assault, and other less-than-ideal circumstances. Don’t wait for accidents to happen, prepare for them logically and you’ll be fine.
If your car does break down, turn on your hazards, swiftly pull over, and put on the emergency brake. Then, stay in as visible a spot as possible and call up a road service, which will typically charge you between $2.50 - $7 per mile for towing. You may be a damsel in distress, but you’ll know what to do!
Select Your Stops In Advance
Whether you’re aiming for spontaneity or schedules, having a general idea of what kind of stops to expect on your route can be very beneficial. For example, it can help you budget more effectively, and ensure that you don’t arrive at any hostels or hotels that are fully booked and unable to accommodate you.
Once you’ve selected your route of choice, spend some time with whoever else is joining the ride researching what kind of stops to expect on your cross-country journey. Grocery stores, hostels, AirB&Bs, bars, restaurants, events, and sights that might be worth stopping for on the way.
There are apps available that help identify stops on common routes and some which even take on the responsibility of making bookings on your behalf, for a price of course.
Prepare Road-Worthy Snacks And Entertainment
Remember, your car is basically going to be your home for the duration of the journey. That means decking it out to make it as comfortable, entertaining, and well-stocked as possible.
The best snacks to take on a road trip are slow to perish and don’t mess easily. Things like fruit roll ups, nuts, pretzels, cheese sticks, crackers, and jerky are all dry and compact foods, which means they will last a little longer and be easy to eat while confined to either a driver’s or passenger’s seat.
In terms of drinks, water is the most important one to stock up on, but a flask for coffee and tea refills is a great idea, as is stashing away some emergency caffeinated drinks for those late-night drives.
Car entertainment really depends on your preferences, but simple things like pre-downloaded TV shows on an iPad, extensive music playlists, and a list of your favorite podcasts are sure to keep your mind stimulated when the conversation is shelved for sleeping or watching the scenery.
Pack Like A Pro
As is the case for any trip, packing is a crucial step in the planning process. You’ll need your standard travel items such as clothes, toiletries, and earphones, plus some additional road trip-specific goodies.
In terms of clothes, it’s best to pack breathable, comfortable items that you can sit in without needing to make adjustments over long periods of time. Practical shoes like sneakers, leather sandals, or well-worn boots will serve you well as you explore different terrains throughout the journey.
Some additional goods to consider are a first aid kit, a basic mechanical toolkit in case of car trouble, and a car safety kit if you can get your hands on one. They contain everything you might need in a road emergency, which will help keep you safe and diminish any anxieties you have about the long drive.
Let Go Of Expectations And Enjoy The Ride
No matter how much you plan for a road trip, it is still a journey that may be prone to last-minute changes and unexpected discoveries.
At the end of the day, that’s what will make it memorable. When embarking on any adventure, it can help to let go of any rigid ideas about what to expect and just try to immerse yourself in the overall experience.
As millions of people from all over the world prepare for what’s shaping up to be a big year for American road trips, remember to stay open-minded, be flexible, and above all, have fun.