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College 101: Road Trip Basics

My friends and I are thinking about taking a big vacation together this year. The idea is to go on a road trip, most likely around the West — California, maybe Oregon and Washington, places like that. None of us have planned a big road trip before, though, so I’m not super confident that we know what we’re doing. Are there any common problems we should watch out for? Do the experts have any tips on planning a big road trip?

Your vacation plans with your friends sound like they have the potential to be a lot of fun! Road trips are popular vacations in the United States and abroad, and for good reason. Traveling by road affords vacationers the chance to see their destinations at street level as they pass through areas they might not see if they concentrated on air travel and resort destinations. Road trips have a lot going for them, but we can certainly think of a few tips that will help you ensure that yours is as fun, safe, and cost-effective as possible.

For starters, you should think carefully about the vehicle that you’ll be taking on this trip. If you’re using a car that you or a friend owns, then you should be quite sure that it’s ready to take on the long hours of travel that you’re about to ask of it. If you’re exploring natural areas off the beaten path, you may find yourself a long way from the nearest auto shop or gas station, so be careful! You should get your vehicle fully checked out by certified experts, caution experts at an automotive & diesel technology college in NY.

Of course, you don’t have to take your own vehicle — you could also choose to rent one. Assuming that someone in your group is old enough to rent a vehicle (and do it affordably), you may want to look into the possibility of renting a recreational vehicle. RVs are a great way to explore natural areas and tourist attractions. They’re popular all over the world, say the pros who run caravan parks in Hervey Bay, Australia (“caravan,” as you may have guessed, is what the Aussies call RVs).

If you’re looking to experience something out of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and have a more sensory-driven experience, consider a motorcycle instead of a car. The combination of fear, adrenaline, relaxation, and pleasure make motorcycle tours an increasingly popular way to road trip and experience the country. If you’ve thought about trying this but haven’t convinced yourself to get on a bike, consider stopping by a Harley-Davidson dealership and seeing if its a good fit for you.

You should also remember that it’s not just your vehicle that has to hold up to long hours on the road — your drivers, too, will need to be alert and effective behind the wheel. Be conservative as you estimate how much you’ll be driving each day — it’s better to go a little further than you planned than to find yourself tired and still facing more hours of driving. Drowsy driving can be extremely dangerous, so take this seriously and make sure that you have a big margin for error. Your trip will be safer and more relaxing if you’re sensible about how much driving you plot out for each day. Adding planned rest stops and anchoring your journey around dining, such as a great meal at a restaurant in Boston, MA for example, will help keep you energized and well fed.

Finally, you should remember that a road trip still requires planning steps similar to those demanded by other sorts of trips. While you might find that the fluid nature of a road trip leads you to make changes, you should have reservations for hotels and campgrounds set ahead of time (just be aware of cancellation policies before you decide to change things up on the fly). Be sure to budget for the whole trip, including things like gas and food purchased while you’re on the road. You don’t want any surprises!

A little planning will go a long way with a road trip, but, above all, remember to be safe and have fun! Trips with friends can create memories that last a lifetime. We wish you all the best and hope you enjoy your trip.

“A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” — Tim Cahill

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