Road trips are meant to be fun, laidback, and relatively stress-free, so planning one shouldn’t be difficult. I covered budgeting for a road trip in the last post so today I thought I’d share a few of the tips I learned while planning my trip last summer.
1. Map it out. This is the time to plan your route, especially if there are specific roads or viewpoints you want to hit along the way such as a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through Pisgah Forest in North Carolina and offers stunning views, winding roads, and trails to hike/run/bike.
2. Don’t drive too many hours in a day. You might think there’s nowhere between Point A and Point B that you want to visit so now you’re planning to drive 9 hours in a day. Don’t do it. Find a smaller locale, an activity, or take an alternate route.
3. Leave room to change your mind. Maybe you’ve left everything to spontaneity or perhaps you’ve decided to book every accommodation and activity in advance. Whichever you decide, leave yourself enough wiggle room to skip something you’re not enjoying or to stay a bit extra (hours to days) in a place you adore.
4. Figure out which activities you positively must do. You’ll also want to know which sites you want to see but wouldn’t regret missing for something else and which things you think you should do but you aren’t overly excited about doing. Then cut the ones you’re not excited about – even if that includes the “main attraction.” Shows, ballets, symphonies, and the like have a tendency to sell out in advance so don’t plan to get those tickets the day of the event. The same goes for more adventurous things such as bungee jumping or skydiving.
5. Research your food options. Check which foods are can’t-miss in each location you’re going to visit or if there’s something on the way that you must try. Food is one of the best ways to get to know a region, its customs and traditions.
Tomorrow I’ll cover the basics of what to pack, what to leave behind, and what I wish I would have brought with me.
– M. Ray Hall