Eight ways to prepare for the perfect road trip.

Eight ways to prepare for the perfect road trip.

A properly planned road trip can be an amazing experience, but when you wing it things can be less than ideal. Bickering car-mates, rigid timelines, and plentiful gas station snacks all lead to a miserable experience. Don’t fear, we can help you prepare for the open road with these eight road trip planning tips:

  1. Rent a campervan.
People near car with food and dog

No one wants to be crushed into the back of your hatchback with three duffle bags for hours on end. Do yourself and your friends a favor by renting a van to make the experience more enjoyable. You will save money on hotels as you go along and you can also sleep in some of the most beautiful places for free if you know the rules of proper dispersed camping.

Nature can be way more beautiful than any hotel so take advantage of it! Make sure to pack out what you pack in and abide by the principles of Leave No Trace.

  • Prep food ahead of time.
Instant Pot

If you let it, a road trip can turn into a lot of gas station food and take out. At first, it seems great, when was the last time you had Flaming Hot Cheetos after all?! But as the road trip progresses you start to feel sick and bloated, while your wallet feels light from all the food you are buying. Prep some healthy meals ahead of time and store them in the fridge of your van, or a quality cooler. UCO Ware mess kits are great food storage solution for a trip like this. They come with their own spork so you don’t need to use single serve plastic. They can also be used as dishes or a small cutting board. Perfect when you are sharing a small space like a van with friends! You can learn more about UCO Ware mess kits here.

  • Have a plan but leave room for spontaneity.
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People in a car eating

Having no plan or can completely ruin a road trip. You don’t want to wander around aimlessly struggling to decide where to go, especially if anyone in your group struggles to make decisions. Coordinate ahead of time and get a sense of what everyone wants to see. Then go into Google Maps and create an itinerary with all the locations you hope to see while you are on the road. Make sure you don’t get too rigid in your planning and  don’t leave room to stray from the plan! People get tired and change their minds, don’t force them to do a grueling hike if they aren’t feeling it. Scratch the hike and find another activity everyone is more pumped about. The goal is to have fun after all.

  • Bring multiple ways to charge phones and other electronics.

Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck on a week-long road trip sharing one phone charger amongst four people. That is some tension you don’t need in your life. Bring a dual USB car charger and multiple power banks if you can. Make sure everyone brings along their own cords for all of their electronics. Let’s be honest, whoever isn’t driving tends to spend a lot of time on their phone and will need all the charge they can get. UCO makes a ton of great lighting options that double as a power banks. Check out the Rhody+ lantern. It’s perfect for lighting up the night outside the van and charging your phone while you sleep.

  • Plan for time apart
People sitting in car and beer and food

You love each other but being stuck in cramped living quarters with the same people for days can make you question that love. When coming up with your itinerary make sure you sneak in some alone time, or at least break up the group a little bit. Whether some people chill in the van while others go on a hike, or you park in a central area and everyone goes off and does their own thing. Little plans like this keep everyone from ending the trip hating each other.

  • Don’t lose sight of the small things.
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When you have a big destination in mind, it’s easy to forget about all of those small moments that end up making th e trip for everyone. Don’t rush past that cute bakery or riverside park in your quest to get to your destination. You took time away from day-to-day life, try to slow down and enjoy it.

  • Consider going in the off season.

Many popular outdoor destinations are crowded in the winter and summer. When you go during these times a major portion of your time can be spent in traffic or trying to avoid hordes of people. Instead, go during a shoulder season. It’s a great way to see the same spots with less people around. If traveling during the spring or fall isn’t an option, you can also try to visit popular spots on weekdays or early in the morning to avoid traffic and crowds.

  • Split up the packing list.
Uco Ware and Meal and Camping

You will be spending a lot of time in cramped quarters so don’t let your friends throw whatever they want into their bags and call it good. Once you know your planned activities create a list of shared gear you will need. Chances are you probably don’t need three tents or four water filters. Condense and save some much-needed room. You can do a similar thing with food. Plan some meals you want to cook and create a grocery list so you can divide and conquer. Cooking some of your meals along with bringing along some prepped food will help ensure you are only stopping and paying for food when you want to, not because you are desperate.

Go ahead, grab some friends and hit the road. These tips are sure to help you enjoy the experience more!