It would be no lie to say that for many people, the idea of just packing up and hitting the road – driving for endless miles down a straight highway, with a friend or two, would be a wonderful, wonderful idea. Indeed, many people dream of doing so based on works of fiction such as American writer Jack Kerouac’s 1957 masterpiece On the Road.
But what things should you keep in mind as you plan your ‘On the Road’ style road trip? Here are six ideas.
Pick your mates wisely
No, this doesn’t mean you need to pick (or be) the Dean, Carlo, and Marylou from among your friends. It simply means that you should pick your companions wisely. Make sure you have more than one driver to pick up the slack when everyone is too hungover to drive. Make sure you all (relatively) get along. And make sure you roughly have the same idea about what you’re doing.
Bring a guitar
Don’t doubt; just bring one. This extra piece of baggage will prove itself useful time and time again, whether when getting out of city traffic, when on an endless stretch of red dirt and earth, or at night as you’re staring into space, counting the stars one by one. Don’t forget some extra strings as well, just in case someone gets overexcited!
Don’t plan any accommodation in advance
“Any accommodation?” Well if you must, go ahead. But if you want a real, ‘On the Road’ or perhaps ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ style road trip, keep it spontaneous by leaving your accommodation unsorted. So you might have to spend a night or two in your vehicle. Or you might find yourself falling in love with a small town you might never have visited had you gone on to the next big township. It’s scary but worth a try.
Don’t even think about a schedule either
You’re on the road, not heading into the city where everything runs to the dot. Take it slow and keep your options open. This doesn’t mean you should be totally aimless in your road trip – it’s probably wise to know where you’re heading. The point is, don’t pack so many places in your itinerary that the drive becomes a rush. The journey is most certainly more prized than the destination when it comes to road trips.
Get that playlist going
True you’ve got a guitar, but you’re probably not going to want to hear endless hours of strumming or even the most perfect, melodic Tom Cochrane tunes. In the month before your road trip, as you’re itching at the thought of your adventure, start compiling some songs for your road trip playlist. Don’t be afraid to check out some olden goldies too!
Make sure you’ve got the car
It’s a point worth noting, as juvenile as it sounds. If you’re really thinking of going classic, Route 66 style, consider renting a car rather than taking your mini Volkswagen or family Volvo. Or if you’re planning to become a regular road tripper, you might want to even consider buying a used car from a local dealer such as John Hughes.
Author bio: Katie Mahan is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in all kinds of travel.