This article is contributed by Husna Hafit.
Living four years in US has given her many memories especially the awesome road trip experience.
Going on a road trip is always exciting. Road trip is also the best activity for you to know the real person’s character if you go with another person or in a group. However, a road trip could turn to worse if you do not follow the rule of thumbs of a good road trip. Here are ten of the many tips for those who would like to try a road trip for the first time.
- Good car and competent driver. Safety first!
If your car is quite old, a rent car is always a safe bet. They are usually in good conditions and ready to go. However, you should buy insurance together with the renting for safety. Be prepared with some unfortunate situation, like flat tyres. I remember going through them twice during the field camp, and thank God, we survived!
- Left or right? Know your direction.
Phone with GPS is very handy, but don’t waste the battery on main highways, unless you have cable chord or stand alone GPS that is able to connect with the car. Another great option and more adventurous one is to use physical maps. Print out the direction beforehand and keep your eyes on signboards. If you’re in the city, just turn on the GPS. I don’t really favor GPS because they tend to make us going around in circles, but something is better than nothing, right?
- Happy tummy, happy people, happy trip
Road trips are often very long, so keep calm and keep munching. Have enough snacks on the car, but choose wisely. I personally don’t like those crumbly ones; they are just causing big mess. Be prepared with napkin/tissue. You don’t want sticky fingers throughout your journey.
- Manage your time.
Stop less, if possible do food, solat and toilet break in one go. My dad used to be so pissed off when we requested for a toilet break right after we hit the road. And I’m pretty much like him too, haha. So, do all the business at the right place where everything is available.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to fill your tank.
There were few times we got caught up surveying the gas price at different stations, thinking that we would find better rate later. The truth is, the price is more or less the same everywhere, and there’s no need to find the lowest rate actually. Before you know it, the next station will be in another 50 miles. Better pay more than sorry.
- Study the weather.
Road trips in winter can be extremely dangerous, so make sure you have the tools ready. I remember having to stay overnight in the car at one of the rest areas due to heavy snow. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and our bodies got all froze up the next day. You may check the weather on many websites or apps on your phone.
- Sing your heart out!
Don’t depend too much on local radio stations. Take with you good songs, the ones that you can sing along to. They are life-saviors to drivers and navigators, trust me. Singing is a must, coz you can’t really talk non-stop for 5 hours (and that would be a nightmare for the listener). So, this is like the only way to stay awake.
- Enjoy the scenery.
Driving in western US is always a bliss. The rocks are just too cool (heaven for the geologists)! Don’t miss out the different colors, sizes, and orientation; they are amazing. Study the scenic drive, so you can pullover and take beautiful shots of the view.
- Yawning already?
For most drivers or even passengers, if the scenery looks the same for 100 miles and make you feel bored, keep yourself busy with these: books, games, knitting sets, or movies. My dad always had geography quizzes in car, a bit nerdy, but they were so much fun; and there are a lot of license plate games that you should try too! Or you can gossip about many things with your buddies but be careful not to spill so much secret.
- Travel light.
You wouldn’t want to sit in between your bags, so make sure you have enough room for everyone. In one of the trips to LA, we had to send off our parents at LAX, and there were like 5 huge luggage. We had to squeeze among each other, but luckily, we need not to suffer for the return trip.
There you go. 10 tips for all of you out there. You might experience like what you see on road trip movies though. Who knows. Thanks for reading!