Embarking on a road trip of any kind is an exciting idea in theory- be it a fun family holiday, a weekend getaway for two, or an impromptu automobile adventure- but the laid-back vacation expectation can quickly become a greater source of stress than relaxation, especially since we can’t all take naps in the backseat when the scenery loses its novelty. So how do you prepare to deal with the unprepared? Here are six tips for how to handle all the bumps in the road you might encounter.
Try not to plan your stops.
Though you should of course have loose route to your ultimate destination in mind, be careful not to schedule your drive too rigidly. If you head into the trip with as few specific plans as possible, you’ll optimize the chance of being pleasantly surprised by a stop you wouldn’t have otherwise made. Not to mention, the kids can’t exactly whine a chorus of ‘are we there yet?’ if nobody knows exactly where the next “there” is, can they?
When you pass those billboards, homemade signs and mysterious exits along the road which boast the quirkiest, most obscure wares and forms of entertainment, don’t hesitate to check them out. Many of these paths may provide hidden gems, new favourite pit stops, and the inevitable excitement of even the most mundane unknown. The most at stake is an unplanned bout of fun- or a funny tale to tell if these spontaneous ventures turn out to be as weird as they sometimes sound.
Clean your car before leaving.
Nobody wants to do it, but tidying up all the haphazard wrappers and coffee cups, and even vacuuming the entire interior is the way to go. Road trips mean an even more rapid accumulation of the mess your car would usually rack up over the course of a month, so best not to begin with a foundation from last week. To keep the small space bearable during the trip –
Take advantage of gas stations and rest stops.
They will give you a garbage can to keep the clutter manageable, a toilet for after all those bottles of water are emptied and ready to be tossed, and an enticing array of snacks and treats for the next leg of the journey. The most ordinary of places can always fuel the adventure, even if topping up on gas seems somewhat less than exciting.
Opt for local restaurants instead of fast food chains.
When you pass through towns and cities, try to stop off for lunch there rather than rolling up to a drive-through window again. Ask one of the locals where the best spots to grab a bite are and try out something new. Dining in town will also give you an opportunity to hear about the sorts of things to do there you may not have planned for. Find some good eats on unfamiliar streets.
When something doesn’t go as planned, make it part of the plan!
No trip ever goes perfectly according to plan, and that’s often the fun of getting away. It’s exceedingly easy to allow even minor inconveniences to get in the way of enjoying the vacation. The best way to let go of these stressors is to accept them and take a positive spin on them. After all, some of the most interesting stories and fondest memories find their roots in the happy accidents of the journey, so sit back, enjoy the ride, and remember: you’re in no hurry.