Whether you’re single, married, or have a half dozen kids attached to you at the hip, a summer road trip is the perfect getaway. From the low costs involved to the endless list of different places you can visit, rolling down the windows and hitting the open road is an excellent way to insert some adventure into your life during the warmer months of the year. Of course, if you decide to pack everything (and everyone) up with the intention of spending multiple days in a vehicle, you’re going to want to make sure to go about it the right way!
Why a summer road trip is a must
While there is always a laundry list of excuses not to take a vacation, here are a few of the plain and simple reasons why you really should be thinking about packing up the crew and driving off into the sunset this summer.
Don’t Let Those Gas Prices Fool You
It’s easy to roll your eyes as you fill up your tank at the gas pump these days. But just because those prices are slowly creeping up again doesn’t mean you should rule out the affordability of a road trip. For example, a vehicle that gets thirty miles per gallon could make the 800 mile trip from New York City to Chicago on less than 30 gallons of gas — at $3 per gallon that comes to around $80, give or take with different driving conditions!
On top of that, it’s easy to keep lodging costs down by detouring from the path in order to find the cheapest quality options possible. Rather than getting stuck at an overpriced airport hotel, choose a comfortable, reasonably priced AirBNB each night as you go. Maybe even bring along the tent and look for camping grounds along your route.
On top of the affordability factor, taking a road trip naturally implies a certain sense of flexibility. While you can travel as straight a path as possible — especially if you have a destination you’re trying to get to — taking less efficient, more scenic routes can be a great alternative.
After all, scheduling numerous stops is a crucial element to any successful road trip. Especially with kids in the car, you’re going to want to stop on a regular basis to eat, stretch your legs, and use the restroom.
But the naturally adventurous spirit of road tripping also lends itself to the opportunity to make each break an adventure all its own. Each break turns any single-destination trip into a myriad of different experiences. If you fly to your destination, you miss out on the extra “side-trip” adventures.
The World is Your Oyster
One of the best cases for a road trip is the multitude of different locations that are worth visiting. Here are a few of the best hot spots you should be considering as you plan out your trip.
San Antonio, TX
If you find your crew traveling through the south, considering adding San Antonio to your list of destinations. The Texas city is the perfect place to nab some authentic Mexican or even Tex-Mex culinary finery. It’s also the home to a host of different interesting activities and sights. From free light shows at the San Fernando Cathedral to spending the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas to a tour of the Alamo, the city has a Texas-size portion of road tripping fun to offer. It even topped Forbes’ list of The 18 Best Budget Travel Destinations for 2019!
Disneyland, located in lovely Anaheim, California, is a classic vacation destination. But 2019, in particular, is going to see the official unveiling of the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction. While you’ll want to buckle in for some pretty busy crowds, the impressive new addition to the park could be the perfect crown jewel for your trip, especially if you’ve got a young padawan or two in your midst.
Niagara Falls, NY
If you’re fans of nature, you may want to consider heading to Upstate, NY to see one of the iconic jewels of the Northeast: Niagara Falls. The falls are a great hot spot to weave into your trip, with numerous state parks nearby that can make for an ideal camping experience. This option is particularly alluring for the late summer, as the area is well-known for its fall foliage, which can make the drive that much more special.
Things to Keep in Mind
Of course, if you’re going to spend days or even weeks on the road, you want to make sure that you go in prepared. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you plan your trip.
Driving for such long periods of time can be a tricky business. Make sure that you understand the dangers and are aware of the signs of fatigued driving no matter where you live or are visiting. If you see the driver frequently yawning or slow blinking, make sure to have them take some time to rest.
It’s also important to get a full car inspection before heading on the road. You want to make sure that your car is in tip-top shape so that you know you can rely on it to get you everywhere you need to go with no problems.
Make sure you plan your trip with comfort in mind. Things like bringing pillows, wearing sweats, planning in bathroom breaks, and maintaining good posture can make a huge difference. In addition, if you have anyone coming along who suffers from chronic pain, make sure to make an extra effort to ensure that they aren’t suffering as you go along. This can take many different forms.
For example, wheels on your luggage can help with carrying things or earplugs and eye masks to ensure better sleep in strange places. However you go about it, investing in different ways to make sure everyone is comfortable as you travel is well worth the effort.
Bring the Necessities
Finally, make sure to pack all of your road trip necessities. Make sure not to leave any medications behind, bring wet wipes to help with messes, pack snacks, and even bring a barf bag or two. Thinking ahead can make those miles roll by with the greatest of ease.
Keep Health in Mind
Road trips are notorious for the long stints of sitting in a car and getting drive-thru food along the way. You want to make sure that among your road trip plans is one to stay healthy while traveling.
- take frequent walking/stretching breaks
- stay hydrated with plenty of water
- bring healthy snacks in order to eat well
- make healthy choices when eating out
Whether it’s the low costs, the great destinations, or the simple fun of unplugging from life and heading off on an adventure with those you love, there are many different reasons to plan a road trip this summer. So what are you waiting for? Pick a destination, plan a route, pack your bags, and have some fun!
About the Writer: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. You can check out more of her writing on twitter, @faulknercreek