The Ultimate Summer Road Trip

Road Trip
Lauren Bernhard

A good plan and an adventurous spirit are essential when planning the perfect summer road trip.

The Final Destination
The most important element to a road trip is your final destination. Figure out the place that will be the most fulfilling for the entire group to wind up and plan from there. Yosemite, Mammoth, Scottsdale, Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Luis Obispo, Ojai, Tijuana and Ensenada are just a few places worth considering.

What to Bring
Every trip begins with a list of personal essentials. Electronics, medical supplies, reservation confirmations and identification documents are all necessary.

Must-haves of equal importance include money and credit cards, flashlights and batteries, a road map, pocketknives, towels, trash bags, paper towels, pillows, blankets and a cooler full of snacks and water.

Additional items to make your road trip more enjoyable comprise of fun things like car games, a video camera, music, ipads, DVDs, a football and books on tape.

Only pack clothing that you feel is worthy of the space it takes up in your suitcase and car. Create a checklist of “must-haves” and know who is bringing what to save room and resources.

Designate a Road Trip Organizer
Find one person in the group who enjoys coordinating plans and doing research on where to stay. This helps alleviate confusion and conflict because when there are too many people and not enough planners, nothing gets done. Even with a group coordinator, compromise is still important so that everyone is happy on the trip.

The road trip organizer should first map out how many days the group will be traveling. From there, the next step is to find out what there is to see and do along the way. Once you have that figured out, the group as a whole can agree on the best things to do and how long they want to stay in each pit stop. Finally, you’ve got yourself an amazing itinerary.

If you absolutely hate creating itineraries and being in charge of group vacations, travel sites like Contiki, Roadtripusa and Roadsideamerica offer amazing ideas and suggestions for your next road trip.

Decide Who Drives
How many vehicles and how long each vehicle is planning on staying in each destination is an important thing to figure out.

Make sure you take into consideration how much room you will need for bags and belongings. Nothing is worse than being crammed up on a long road trip. It is best to switch drivers so that everyone gets a chance to relax.

This Way, Or That Way
Not only do you need to plan who’s driving; you also need to figure out whether you want to take the scenic route or the most fuel efficient route. Plan ahead by researching a couple different routes in case of emergency road closures or summertime construction.

Typically, road trips are all about getting to your destination, but people rarely realize that there is so much more to see and do along that way to maximize your traveling experience. Make your road trip worth the drive by checking out what there is to do in California, what there is to do in Nevada and what there is to do in Arizona.

Travel with Flexible People
Being flexible is important because if you find something more fun or neat to experience than what was originally planned, you do not want to be the person who made everyone else’s lives difficult by being too rigid. If you go into your road trip with an open mind and look at the road trip as an opportunity for true adventure, you will have the time of your life.

Traveling with a gregarious spirit is especially important if you are planning to camp because rain or shine, you will be at your destination. To avoid this problem, do some research on nearby hotels in advance.

Budget in Advance
Make sure you talk about the cost of gas for the entire trip far in advance.
Hotel rooms, activity prices and food are other vital items to factor into your road trip’s overall budget. Everybody should be informed of the per-person cost estimation.

An easy way to keep track of what was spent on the trip is by saving receipts from things that were deemed a group costs.

The whole point of a road trip, or any vacation, is to strengthen your relationships with the people you are traveling with. Now that you know the road trip essentials, you can start planning a fun summer road trip with no difficulty.

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