Ahh the road trip. Believe it or not they do let a goat drive, although I’d rather ride, but the occasional road trip can be refreshing and a bonding experience for those involved. A road trip can also be stressful and uncomfortable without a sound plan. So lets’ plan. Here is a list of things to consider when planning your next road trip.
- BUDGET– How much is it going to cost and how much am I comfortable spending. How much you want to spend is up to you, but determine an amount ahead of time. Here is a list of cost to consider:
–Gas (google map the route to figure out the total miles round trip and divide by the average miles per gallon your vehicle should get. I recommend using a conservative figure for MPG’s)
–Parking, especially true if you are going on a cruise or to a theme park
–Tolls (if applicable)
–Food/Refreshments along the way and at your destination, will you be eating out every meal or cooking with friends and family?
–Hotel/Accommodations, likely you will already know where you are staying and the cost, always over estimate your cost to make sure there aren’t surprises later. Or, if you are staying with friends consider budgeting for the cost of taking them to lunch or something simple to show your appreciation.
–Over estimate expenses, this is a good rule of thumb for life. Always over estimate your expenses and underestimate your income. Do this by simply rounding up for expenses and rounding down for income. This will give you a margin of safety and keep you from experiencing displeasure.
–Clothes for each day, look at the weather ahead of time (a good rule of thumb here is after you get your clothes packed in you luggage take about half of them out, we always over pack)
–Cooler, I always pack a cooler for any road trip, no matter the distance. Make sure to have water and snacks because when you travel you never know when you’ll need something to eat and there often are not good options around at the time, mostly just junk food. Hydration is important, traveling can dehydrate you and make you sleepy, uncomfortable or just feel plain bad. Pack plenty of bottled water, you will be thankful. If staying in a hotel a cooler is a must. Having food and drink with you in the room is much more comfortable then having to get dressed just to go down the hallway for some water at the vending machine. This is especially true early in the morning or late at night.
–Get gas the night before the trip, go ahead and fill up ahead of time. I am not one who refuses to stop, I actually find it more comfortable to stop every 2-3 hrs. However whenever I am beginning a long trip I like to get a couple hours down the road before I make the first stop.
-Pets, make sure the pets are going to be ok, food, water, someone to check on them, etc
–Clean the house before you go, “never do tomorrow what you can do today” -Benjamin Franklin. You may be in a rush to leave for your road trip (although good planning could prevent this) but leave your home clean and organized, your future self will thank you. When you get home you will likely be tired and playing catch up, don’t leave yourself with a mess (be good to yourself)
Mentally visualize the trip ahead of time. Think about each day, where you will stay, how you will feed yourself, what activities will you need to plan for. Also consider what time of day you will be traveling and plan accordingly, will it be “rush hour”? There are many small and unanticipated cost when traveling so make sure to allow for this. Do the planning ahead of time so that when the trip comes you can sit back and relax, knowing you are living the life, the prudent life.