I’m sure you’re already well aware that flying isn’t the most eco-friendly form of travel… But that’s where road trips come into play! Not only are they a more sustainable travel alternative, they are also one of the best ways to see the ins and outs of a location. The only problem is, they can often come with a few complications!
We’ve all been there… A long-awaited road trip that you’ve been planning for months in the hopes of experiencing fun and adventure, that transforms into a getaway filled with flat tires, unexpected costs, and an abundance of unwanted stress.
Well for all of you who would like to avoid this in the future, we’ve created our top 12 tips for making your road trip a success… And a sustainable one too!
1. Invest in a Road Trip Toolbox
This may seem like a trivial tip, but there’s a reason it’s at the top of our list. You may have a perfect vision of your road trip and only foresee a grand adventure, but fate may have different plans. It’s always wise to know that you have the right tools handy in case anything goes wrong.
Some tools that you may want to include in your road trip toolbox are:
— Both types of screwdrivers (Flathead and Phillips)
— Regular and needle-nosed pliers
— A multimeter
— A battery terminal cleaner
— A socket wrench set
— Box end wrench set
— Metric nuts and bolts set
— Zip ties
— Jumper cables (a must)
— Tire pressure gauge (or just use the ones at a service station)
These will help you solve any unwanted issues, and will save an unnecessary roadside assistance trip for an overly simple fix!
2. Check Your Tire Pressure and Oil Levels
This tip goes hand-in-hand with tip #1; put those tools to good use!
You wouldn’t believe the number of vehicles driving around low on oil and tire pressure who are just begging to break down. You can be assured that this will ruin any fun road trip. Make sure that all four tires match your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure and that the oil levels are full… BEFORE YOU DEPART!
Photo by Matt Duncan
3. Invest in a Roadside Assistance Service
This tip is for when even planning ahead isn’t enough. Becoming a member of a roadside assistance service is a great backup plan when you drive long distances. Getting locked out of your car, running out of gas, or simply breaking down are just a few reasons you should use invest in one of these services.
4. Plan out your trip day-to-day (But don’t over do it)
Planning out your road trip day-to-day is essential if you want to make the most of your trip. Using a day planner or Google calendar will help you to budget your valuable vacation time.
However, some people go a bit too far and try to squeeze in as many activities as possible. This is a no-no from our perspective… Give yourself and your loved ones some time for some R&R on your road trip. Sometimes the best part of a getaway is that you get to escape your everyday thoughts and rituals.
Take the time to relax in between the fun adventures so that if something spontaneous or amazing comes up along the way, you’ll have the time to do it without feeling like you’ve missed out!
5. Budget to spend more than you think you will
We as humans tend to underestimate quite a bit; the recovery time after an injury, the difficulty in mastering a skill, what we think we can accomplish in a day… These all end up taking more time or effort than we think they will on the front end.
The budget you have planned out for your road trip is no different. Give yourself a nice budget window so that when you do spend a bit more to enjoy yourself, it doesn’t leave you feeling stressed out.
After all, isn’t the point of this road trip to enjoy yourself?
6. Travel by RV (or book Green Hotels)
If you’re travelling in a group or with a loved one, booking an RV is an amazing alternative!
They give you the ability to cook your own food, keep your belongings in one place, avoid the stress of finding a hotel, and will save you a lot of money on accommodation too.
But for those who do prefer to travel by car, staying at responsible, eco-friendly accommodation is an amazing way to ensure you have the most sustainable road trip possible! And if you want to be super eco-friendly… Why not book an electric or hybrid car too?
Photo by Vladimir Kudinov
7. Know where the Cheapest Gas is
Knowing where to find the cheapest gas is definitely an important tip for any successful road trip.
For those in the US, the GasBuddy app is a great solution for this. It helps you to locate all of the available gas stations within a given area and price check to find the best deals. There is even a trip cost calculator that will help you find the cheapest stations along your road trip route. But otherwise, good ol’ google maps will help you find the closest too!
If you can do the same with an electric vehicle, that would be even better!
8. Put your sunshade up!
When the weather gets hot, the last thing you want is an overheated car. Not only will a sunshade protect you from burning when you sit down on your seat, but it will also avoid the car and air conditioning from being overworked.
9. Don’t be Afraid to Talk to Locals
Talking to the locals is a great way to make your road trip a unique adventure. Online guides to cities and reviews are great, but connecting with the locals who can point you to the hidden hot spots along your trip is the way to go.
Make some friends that can show you a good time. Soak up the culture of a place and people that are new to you… We can assure you won’t regret it!
10. Put the Smartphone Down!
Smartphones have transformed the way that we communicate. In some sense for the better and in some sense for the worse… While your smartphone can be an extremely useful tool (tip #7), it also can make a fun-filled adventure dull and boring.
Instead of endlessly swiping on Facebook, take the opportunity to have engaging conversations with your friends, family or the locals. Get to know each other better and deepen your relationships.
If you’re travelling alone, take time to self-reflect, think about life, or just sing your heart out to what’s playing on your car stereo.
11. Bring your reusables
A reusable shopping bag, water bottle, cutlery and coffee cup will save you from producing a lot of waste! If you travel via RV, some of these things may already be included, but if you travel by car you’ll definitely need to be prepared.
No one wants to have to sit for hours in a vehicle surrounded by trash… Nor do we want to cover the earth in plastic waste, right?
12. Remember Your Souvenirs
Why not buy yourself something special from your road trip? Something that you will help you to remember the adventure for years to come!
I don’t know about you, but I love getting souvenirs from family or friends after they’ve gotten back from a trip. It tells me that they were thinking of me while they were out exploring and enjoying themselves. Don’t ever assume that you have to spend a fortune on some super expensive gift… The small, locally crafted souvenirs are actually the best alternative – they’re more personal, authentic and much better for the community too!
Something as simple as a small gift shop item will make you, and your family back home feel super special. It’s also a great way of encouraging the ones we love around us to strike up on their own adventure and have some fun!
We hope you found this list of road trip tips helpful in preparing for your long-awaited vacation. A truly enjoyable road trip is a result of careful planning, a sense of adventure and the ability to balance both… So, get out there and have a blast!
This is a guest post by KYLE DORAN
Kyle Doran is a Denver, Colorado native and content creator for B&B RV. He loves to get outside, exploring mountainous hiking trails, and discover new and exciting places on vacation
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