Road trips aren't always easy, but they can be a lot funner if you're prepared.
Taking long driving trips and exploring the open road is all fun and games until you get hungry, or tired, or the car runs out of gas. These trips require far more preparation than your average flight, especially if you have no idea how the journey is going to turn out. Driving is exciting because of its indirectness, its twists and turns into places you never thought you dreamed of. Like any good traveler, a true Journiest needs to be prepared, and whether that means feeding your soul or feeding your stomach, we have you covered.
Here are the top 5 things you'll need to know before hitting the road so it won't be so hard later on; you'll thank us later.
Make sure you mark gas stations on the way to your destination
Gas is your lifeline when you're on a road trip, and if you don't plan for pit stops at gas stations to feed your car (and yourself, if you've run out of snacks at that point), it's going to be an arduous road. Before you even begin to think about your trek, take a look at a map and verify that you're going a route that has several gas stations along the way depending on how long the trip is. You do not want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere without gas in your tank. Plan ahead, and it's smooth sailing.
Have snacks on hand
This one probably seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised how many people forget to eat in the midst of a long road trip. If you know you're going to be out on the road for 6 or more hours, make sure to stock up before actually getting on with your journey. Be smart, Pack some trail mix. Pack some grapes. Love yourself; you'll be thankful for it later when your stomach starts growling at the wheel and there's no Cracker Barrel nearby to appease it.
Have a plan for when you're tired
Road trips are as exhausting as they are fun, and that's because driving is, in and of itself, an exhausting activity. After spending a day out trekking, trying to avoid other drivers and the various fauna that seem to springing out into the highway at any given moment, you will be tired. Make sure to map out rest stops or places where you can take a nap, stretch your legs, or explore someplace you've never been to--maybe even one you've never heard of.
Have a good playlist (or, even better, a good co-pilot)
If you're traveling alone, you will most definitely get bored at some point of the driving and (usually empty) roads. Compile a good playlist before you head out, so you can let your mind wander. In the absence of a car that has an aux cord, bring a friend along for the ride, preferably one who's good at telling stories. Re-enact Thelma and Louise, minus all the violence; it'll make for good memories once the trip becomes photographs and stories of a long, legendary drive.
Stay open to the possibilities of the open road
It's not called "the open road" without a good reason: with an endless path stretching in front of you, the options aren't limited to your destination, and are often well-worth exploring. If you're in no particular rush to get where you're going, stop by the cities, little villages, towns, and unincorporated communities on your way to the main destination. You'll never know exactly what you'll find, and it's usually worth finding.