On the road

With summer break just days away, it’s time to plan your getaway

Ashley Hale, Staff Writer

With summer coming up, it’s time to start planning how to spend all that free time. For me I want to do as much as possible in the few months I have, this includes going on a road trip. Before hitting the road, there are a few details that need sorting out.

One of the first steps in planning a road trip is to decide where you’re going to go. Have a turning point where you will start to turn back. Essentially this will be the halfway point before you loop back around to head back home.

It’s also important to decide with whom you’re going to take on this adventure. I plan to bring my best friend, but you can bring as many or as few people as possible. Just make sure they’re people you’ll want to spend a lot of time within a tiny space.

With the big picture sorted out, there are a few apps out there to help with the detail work:

Roadtrippers: This app/website is perfect for planning your roadmap. It has so many features that are very useful to build your trip to just how you like it.

They can show you hotels, campgrounds, or any other sleeping accommodations you may want all specifically on your road trip.

It shows attractions and cultures. For example, I found a small ghost town that I plan on visiting that I would never have known was there otherwise.

Another useful thing is it has restaurants, gas stations, and places to get your car serviced if needed.

It has outdoors and recreational points like state parks, hot springs, and anything else you can think of. It has tons of other features that can be very valuable and I HIGHLY recommend this app.

iExit: This can be useful for the person that is helping you navigate, if there is one, on this app it shows exactly what gas stations or other amenities are available at the next and upcoming exits. You can also search for certain restaurants or other things.

GasBuddy: This can be the most useful app alongside the roadtrippers, and it can help you save money. This app is designed to help you find where the nearest gas stations are and where the cheapest gas could be.

Scout: This app is not essential but it can help you convince your parents if they are a little uneasy about you going. This app allows you to share your location with parents or whoever else you chose to. This can be useful to keep your parents at ease and make your trip more fun.

Tune In: This is optional of course but can be useful. With it being difficult to find quality radio stations in random places this will help you find stations and other music. If you get bored of your playlist after being in the car for a long time this can be useful.

Now that you have these tools it’s time to start planning. Using the Roadtripper app, I would start looking for things to do. The app gives you a general area around your main route that has recommended stops. You can look at ratings, pictures, and a lot more.

Something to consider should be how many nights you’re going to be gone for and at what places you’re going to sleep. Sleeping arrangements largely depend on how far you’re driving. Something to keep into consideration is you have to be 18 to rent a hotel room.

Depending on where you are going and how rough you are willing to go, you could sleep in the bed of a truck or back of a van, or find a tent. Of course, you could stay in a hotel/motel and have your parents rent it ahead of time for you; also, you could find relatives to stay with along the way. Sleeping arrangements all depend on who you know and how comfortable you are in certain situations. Make sure you do get enough sleep if you will be driving.

On the way too and back from your turning point you should plan things to do, that way you will be taking breaks from driving every once and a while and it will give you the fullest experience. One thing I would recommend is to try doing new things, visit places you’ve never heard of and if you see something cool on the side of the road, do it! A road trip gives you the freedom to do and see what you want, so take advantage of it.

Be prepared! Plan ahead for things you may not expect. Save up money for food, sleeping, gas, spending, and planning for the unexpected. Use cash so that you can keep track of how much money you have and keep most of it in a safe place in your car. Only bring in part of it to wherever you are going, that way if you lose it you will still have money for the trip.

When packing, get all of the basic clothes you will need and bring jackets and pants even if you’re going somewhere hot, you never know when the weather might change and get rainy.

Buy snacks ahead of time—it’s cheaper to get it at a grocery store than in a gas station. Bring water bottles, maybe even an entire case if you’re bringing three or more people.

Don’t forget chargers! You will definitely need chargers, having your cell phone will be an absolute essential. I would consider bringing a backup battery pack if you don’t have access to a charging port.

Another thing I would think about bringing is a small backpack or purse to bring around so you can keep things like a charger, wallet, or anything you may need. Overpacking and being prepared is better than not having enough things and needing to buy things.

Prepare your music. Driving can get long so you need to have something to listen too. Personally, I would have each person that is coming make multiple playlists with different genres you may like as a group. Try new songs, the road can get boring so try and mix it up. Who knows maybe you and your friends will come up with a new theme song you’ll always identify that trip with.

This trip should be memorable, so don’t stress over every single detail of every minute. Make it random and exciting, consider it an adventure. No matter what you do and where you go, stay safe. Follow the rules of the road and make smart decisions while still having fun. Keep it exciting.