The road trip. Most people have taken on this adventure on wheels. Some do it as a means to get to a destination. Some do it because the journey is the destination. I’m here to tell you that regardless of how you do it, there are a few things you can think about in order to improve the experience. Full disclosure, I consider myself to be an expert on taking these journeys, as I’ve traveled thousands and thousands of miles. In the US, I’ve gone from Boston to North Carolina, Boston to Louisville, Boston to St. Louis, Boston to Montreal, Boston to Orlando. St. Louis to Aspen, St. Louis to Tampa Bay, St. Louis to Northern Michigan, Denver to Northern Montana, and dozens four to six hour drives in between. I’ve also driven the entirety of the South Island of New Zealand, the Great Ocean Road in Australia, much of the coast of Queensland, Australia, and all over England. And, Modern Magellan is heading to the Ring Road in Iceland soon. That said, here are some tips:
1. Don’t hesitate to stop multiple times, assuming you’re not up against a serious deadline. See an interesting land mass? Check it out. Mom and pop diner? Grab a bite. Largest ball of yarn per Guiness Book of World Record? There’s a story. Similar to taking advantage of stopovers during long international flights, the drive is as much of a part of the journey as the destination, so be sure to enjoy it as best you can.
2. Find something stimulating to listen to. This can be a playlist on Spotify, some hilarious standup, an intriguing podcast, or even a book on tape. Conversation is great, and is vital to a good road trip, but you need to have some audio prepared or you will be dealing with long silences or some spotty radio stations as you find the middle of nowhere often on your way.
3. Travel with someone, hopefully someone you really enjoy. Road trips alone are fine, and I’ve done my share, but they can also be extremely boring. Solitary confinement is a punishment for a reason, so it’s a good idea to have someone to share both the driving and also some fun stories. Second, it’s also safer to share the load with someone. It seems obvious, but you have to make sure you are taking precautions while road tripping. Avoid driving at night. Don’t speed too crazily. Leave road rage for video games. With all this time driving, the chances of an accident rise, and nothing is a bigger buzzkill, for the trip, for the car, and for your health, than recklessness or tired driving.
4. Embrace the freedom. Nothing is more exciting than seeing an open road, knowing that for days or weeks, you will be away from the stresses of your daily life. This is something to be cherished, as it is a large part of what makes traveling so great. Utilize every second of it, as it always seems to end far sooner than it should.
Road trips are an essential type of travel, allowing one to not only reach a coveted destination, but also to see all things in between. If you treat it as a chore, it will be just that. If you treat it as an adventure, than it can be as enjoyable as any place you are seeking.