How To Get the Most Out of Any Road Trip
Heading out on a road trip? Whether traveling by RV, in the family car, or a rental, you can make your trip a memorable one with a little planning ahead. From making the best use of travel guides and visitor centers to planning extra time for your trip so you can be spontaneous, there are many ways you can have an amazing road trip by doing your homework ahead.
Whether your destination is a specific attraction or exhibit, or if you plan to wing it, for ideas on how to have a successful road trip, read on.
Museums and Stops
The first step in any successful road trip is coming up with some plan. While you’ll want to leave room to be spontaneous, having a general idea of the basics ahead will make for a stress-free adventure.
When planning your road trip, a great way to make it fun is to think about things you’re interested in. Maybe you’re a music lover. Planning a stop at gateway to the blues events or attractions will make your trip all the more exciting. A simple google search of places for music lovers could not only set you down another road but make your trip all the more special. Find out where you can write your own blues song, talk to organizers of music festivals you belong to, and ask around. You might be surprised just how many people offer fantastic suggestions when you tell them about your plans to hit the road.
Into history? The same thing applies. A quick web search of historic attractions along the way will give you great ideas of places to stop. But don’t stop there. Ask around. Maybe you love historic artifacts or interactive exhibits. Think of online groups you’re in and ask about where others have been. Like-minded friends may even be able to give you suggestions of historic sites they love. Consider each aspect of history you love. Whether it’s a region like the Mississippi Delta or a time period like the Civil War, it’ll be easy to make a list of places you’re interested in ahead of time and even make you more excited. Still not sure? Check the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll be bound to be excited about a tour in no time.
Staying for Awhile
Trips can have dual purposes, of course. Maybe you have family in New Jersey. A simple search like plan your stay in Central New Jersey will go a long way in giving you ideas of things you can do while visiting. While you’ll obviously want to spend time with family, there’s no reason why you can’t get even more out of your trip. Stop off in the visitor center along the Jersey Turnpike and pick up brochures that might give you ideas for other places to visit, too. You could even bring family members along with you. While you’re there, ask workers about local places, good prices, and where they eat their favorite foods. They’ll be able to suggest places they love and give you some great ideas too.
When planning your trip, make sure to budget for not only fun but mementos too. It’s not every day you get to travel so far, and you’ll want to remember the details. But before you decide to build the standard souvenir collection, think of other ways that might be more personal to you. Ask yourself: What would you collect if you weren’t going on a trip at all? Then, tie that answer to your travels.
Are you a treasure collector? If so, think about mementos and souvenirs you’ll want from your trip along the way. A pawn shop in Alliance, OH, for example, might be the perfect place to find something to commemorate your trip. Rather than relying on the standard gift shop, you might be able to find a treasure that means more or is unique.
Search along your proposed route for antique shops and used book stores, too. Between antiques and unique items you won’t find in traditional retail shops, spending time in local shops will lead to other ideas. Maybe you combine interests and head into a bookshop to find a story about the blues. It would be a great way to commemorate y our trip to the Blues Museum or even just a great keepsake as a nod to your love for instruments.
One of the great things about local shops is that their owners will be able to tell you about sights to visit while on your travels. Different than the places you’ll see in those visitor center brochures, you might find your next favorite place for burgers.
Alternative Accommodations and Locals
The best way to really explore a new place is to get to know the locals. One way to do this is to consider staying in an Airbnb versus a traditional hotel or motel. Locals often rent out properties at rates even more affordable than the bigger chains. From tiny houses to apartments and rooms in their homes, you may be surprised at what the locals have to offer.
If you’re traveling in an RV, converted van, or even car camper, you could stay on public land or even research the local campgrounds. Depending on the kind of amenities you want or need, you might find an alternative living situation that gives you an even better experience for your road trip than a traditional one would.
In the end, there’s no right or wrong way to plan your road trip. But if you keep an open mind, make side trips to meet the locals and ask questions, and leave space and time for exploring, you might find you want to stay awhile longer than you even planned to. Whatever you do, make sure you take your camera to capture your adventures. While you have it out, stop for pictures with the locals. You might find they become the best memorabilia your road trip brings to you. Happy travels to you!