There is nothing quite like the freedom of seeing the country by car. This summer, you can have the road trip of a lifetime. But before you can experience that freedom, you will need to check a few boxes. If you aren’t sure where to begin planning your road trip, here are a few things to get you ready.
Make a Budget
Probably the most important part of any vacation is making sure you can afford it. Doing this in advance will give you ample time to save up. If you’re planning to get away in the summer, a good time to begin preparation of funds is in winter. One way to set aside some extra cash is to automate your savings. You can do this through your employer. An at-home version of this is by putting a little extra cash into an envelope every week and pretending like it doesn’t exist until vacation day. To know how much you need to save, you will need to estimate the costs of gas, food, where you will stay, and any incidentals. Remember, this is your road trip! Make sure you account for souvenirs as well as potential car repairs.
Plan an Itinerary
To get a better idea of how much you will need to save, you can begin making a plan of your trip. What cities do you want to visit? Once you decide, check out that city’s tourism website. Plenty of cities have trip planners available online to help you figure out what you want to do there, like if you choose to visit Lansing, MI. If you’re more interested in the history of a location, you should explore Henry County, Georgia, whose website features a program called History Has a Name. This gives you the opportunity to learn about the locals who have changed the face of the town, so that when you visit you can meet them in person. The important thing is that you customize your road trip itinerary to what interests you. By planning, you can save enough to ensure that you are able to have all of the experiences you’re looking forward to. Don’t limit yourself by not planning ahead,
Check the Car
You can’t have a road trip without a car. And if you want to ensure your trip is safe, you will need a reliable vehicle. Something with good gas mileage will be cheaper for your budget and better for the environment. If you aren’t confident your car can make it through, consider checking out one of the new 2018 Ford vehicles. You can search for cars by their fuel capacity, or entertainment amenities for the kids in the back seat. Once you have your trusty steed, you will want to make sure it is up-to-date on maintenance. Yes, that means replacing the windshield wipers and filling the power-steering fluid. Studies done during National Car Care month show that eight out of ten vehicles lack proper regular maintenance. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of the highway because of a car malfunction. You can budget for all of the maintenance you think your car might need when you first start planning your road trip.
Find Where to Stay
Finally, you will want to make sure you know where you are going to stay on your trip. Sleeping in the car might sound appealing at first, but after a few nights, your back is likely to be aching for a mattress. Hotels are one of the most common ways to stay around the country. You can join an online rewards program and get points for each reservation you make if you book through a host company like Choice or La Quinta. If you’re interested in a nonconventional stay, you could look into Airbnb. This website allows you to create a profile and find a place to stay based on your preferences for guest number and amenities. Information about rooms and houses are posted by the owner with corresponding pictures, and reviews from previous guests. If you need an even more affordable option, you can look into camping. By keeping a tent in the trunk, you can reserve campsites along your path either online or via telephone.
With these tools in mind, your road trip will be set up for success. Cue loud music, rolled down windows, and good times!