If the English vocabulary had only one word to describe a road trip, what would it be?
Only one word comes to mind: Awesome.
Road trips are all about freedom, adventure, good company, and discovery. It can be even a rite of passage for some people. Everyone who's been on the road knows that no other experience comes close.
Are you going to hit the road soon? Here are six hacks to make your road trip way beyond awesome.
Make Sure Your Car is Roadworthy
There can be no road trip without a car! Make sure the vehicle you plan on using can take you there and back without issue. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle for any underlying problems that might come up during a long drive.
Check everything - brakes, suspension, fluids, tires, batteries, lights, water, AC - the whole nine yards. If you're renting a car, do a VIN check to view the vehicle's maintenance history or if the model is under a recall. There are plenty of free online services where you can vin search the owner of the car easily.
Go Old School and Use a Real Map
Who says real, paper maps were for old timers? Tracking your progress via an actual road atlas is fun and extremely gratifying. You can use Google Maps or whatever it is you have on your phone for navigation. But for a visual and tactile journal on your trip's progress, nothing beats a map and a sharpie.
Make a Food Passport
You'll be making a lot of stops and eating a ton during your journey, why not document it by making a food passport? Any passport sized notebook will do. Add details such as location, price, notes and even small photos of the food you just ate.
Stick postage stamps, stickers, and receipts to your food journal. Ask the establishment if they have a rubber stamp you can borrow, to add a little more authenticity!
Don't Do Your Research
Wait, what? Isn't doing research on the places you plan to visit crucial and part of the plan? Yes, you need to do a little research on what roads to take, location safety (crime, etc.) and the nearest hospital. But part of the fun is NOT to have a plan at all!
Road trips are about freedom. The journey is all about making discoveries, creating memories and experiencing new things. Don't ruin by spending hours and hours researching a place, only to get disappointed because your expectations weren't met.
Take a Breather
An excellent strategy to combat road weariness is to schedule stops every three hours of driving. Pit stops allow you to rest your eyes, stretch your legs, use the facilities and have a snack. Keep your eyes peeled for unique gas stations, ones that offer sights and even food you won't find anywhere else.
Be Sure to Reach a Destination Each Night
For each driving day, you should aim to reach a destination where you can get a hot meal and a good night's sleep. Rest will recharge you for the journey ahead. You'll also have the chance to visit more places, even those off the beaten path.
Check your map for the nearest small town or city and make a beeline towards it. Chances are, you'll discover sights and locations that aren't on any guidebook!
Time to Go
There you have it, six proven hacks to make any road trip awesome. Remember, road trips are all about freedom, discovery and epic experiences. Get your friends, grab some road snacks and hit the road. It's time for you to make some memories!
Patrick Peterson, born and raised in the automotive world, regularly test-drives new vehicles on highways and back roads. As the editor and publisher of AutoDetective, he is passionate about everything related to cars. He's also a frequent contributor who crafts exquisite content on automotive topics for high authoritative websites across the U.S.