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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

As someone who just embarked on her first long road trip ever, 38 hours to be exact, I feel like I have some advice for people that are planning to go on their own road trips! Whether you drive a stretch like Athens, Georgia to Sacramento, California like me, or just plan a weekend getaway, you need to be prepared. When you are stuck in a car for hours, you learn some things. Important things. Here are 8 tips for your next trip!

 

1. Account for everything while budgeting

There are a plethora of things to think about when planning your budget. First, you need to know your destination and how long you want to spend driving there. More days equals more gas money, food, stops and hotels. While there are cheaper options like hostels and sometimes Airbnb to stay at, it’s best to budget to give you flexible room to spend if you need it. Sometimes it might not be great to book hotels completely in advance before you start driving, but Google is a good and obvious resource when you need to stop on the road. If you are under 21, make sure to check with a hotel if you can stay before you go! They might ask you to put down a cash deposit until the next day, so remember to carry cash on you. ALWAYS research the area you are staying in. Sketchy places are a no-go. 

 

2. Choose your snacks wisely!

You say you won’t snack, that you will wait until lunch or dinner rolls around, but you are wrong. Once you sit in a car for a while, your mind will want to eat out of boredom. Instead of packing junk foods, try to pick some healthier options like Skinny Pop or just plain pretzels (I lived off pretzels for three days). If you want to bring perishable items, buy a small Styrofoam cooler at Walmart or Target before you leave! The healthier you eat, the better. The last thing you want on the road is an upset stomach. 

 

3. Know proper car-care and how to change a flat tire

Luckily, my friends and I had no car troubles on the way to California, but we saw a couple people along pretty deserted roads that had flat tires or car problems. You never know if something will happen to your car, and the internet does not work in all places, unfortunately. So while you think that you can become a mechanic via YouTube, it might not be plausible. Have someone knowledgeable about cars teach you how to change a flat and check everything under the hood before you go. ALSO, you should probably get an oil change before you leave, if you are planning to go on a long trip.

 

4. Print directions out! DO NOT JUST RELY ON YOUR PHONE!

Like in the last point, your phone will not have internet everywhere. In the case that Siri abandons you, print out directions beforehand! Also, check with them from time to time to make sure that your phone does not take you on a different route than intended. Learn from my mistakes. We had to turn around twice and lost an hour or two because the phone’s directions starting taking us a northern route when we wanted to take a southern one. Maps are pretty accessible as well, and you can find them in a lot of gas stations or stores. 

 

5. Research your stopping points

Roadtrippers is a cool website that my friends and I used to plan out our trip. We all had access to the route we were taking and could pin places we were interested in. You can set a radius of popular destinations, hotels, restaurants and other things around your route. If you have the chance, pass through big cities for dinners or memorable landmarks you might not get to see again!

 

6. Bring things to occupy you!

Don’t just expect music and conversation to carry you to your destination, especially if your drive is long. Bring books, a movie, a journal or anything else that will occupy your time when you get bored. You don’t want to get stir crazy with nothing to do in such a confined place. The best part about this is making memories with your friends or family, but everyone needs a little time to themselves to recharge. 

 

7. Playlists set the mood

Spotify Premium is life. Being able to download music and make playlists without streaming and using data is one of the best things that I’ve discovered this year. Make use of it! Make different playlists for moods, car karaoke, whatever you can think of. Now’s your time to shine with the aux cord. 

 

8. Take the bathroom break

It is very vital to stay hydrated, even when you are not moving, sitting in a car. It is also vital to stop for bathroom breaks when you can. Don’t be like me and have to pull off in the middle of nowhere-New Mexico because you don’t want to stop. Bathroom breaks also give you the chance to stretch and walk around when you aren’t stopped for the night or other excursions. 

 

 

Following these tips, you are bound to have a good road trip. Treasure your time on the road. There are such few times when you are able to actually take time out of your busy life to explore the state or country. Your memories will last with you forever! Don’t forget to buy a disposable camera to snap pictures along the way. Safe travels!

 

 

 

Cover Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash