Road trips are one of the most important rites of passage for any budding traveler. When you are planning your cross-country excursion, you need to think about so many different components. It’s not necessarily about where you want to go, but it’s about the mental components to ensure that you are ready for a smooth journey, especially in this precarious world. With this in mind, what are the things that you really need to consider?
Your Driving Skills
It’s not necessarily something that we think about. For many people, it’s a case of either being able to drive or not. But when we are going on a lengthy drive, the term “highway hypnosis” is something you might want to consider. It’s not just about being skilled in a mechanical sense, but it’s about the endurance associated with the long haul. Out of the 10 most common personal injury lawsuits, motor accidents are the most common type of personal injury claim in the United States. And it’s the furthest thing from our minds when we are preparing for a road trip. But we have to get ready, in case there are potential hazards that we haven’t mentally prepared for.
Your driving skills will serve you well when you are doing a long road trip or you are driving on roads that you have no idea how to navigate. Preparing your driving skills is about taking yourself out of your comfort zone. Ideally, you would take longer journeys in the buildup to setting off.
Getting the Vehicle Ready
There are two key components to getting the vehicle ready for a road trip. It’s not just about the mechanics of the vehicle (that you can easily fix by going to a mechanic), but it’s also about making sure that you have the relevant knowledge. Picture the scenario: you are in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a gas station for what seems like miles and miles. You may walk to the next one to get some fuel, but you return only to find that the fuel wasn’t the problem, it was something you have no idea how to fix.
Having a vehicle ready isn’t just about taking it to the mechanics, but it’s about making sure your knowledge is up to speed. In addition to this, you need to think about making the vehicle as clean as possible. You might not sweat the small stuff, but when old gum and fast-food wrappers start to overflow, it can add tiny bits of stress and frustration. This is the frustration you do not need when you are heading on the road.
Keeping Your Stress Levels in Check
Road trips are one part exploration and one part concentration. Spending so long on the road attempting to get to your next destination is one of the most exhausting things. When you start to build up a sleep deficit because you want to make extra time or you start to notice your fatigue on the highway, it’s important to recognize when you need a break. Keeping your stress levels in check is to do with getting plenty of sleep where you can, but it’s also about ensuring that you are able to keep focus, especially when you are getting bored. Driving is an arduous task even when it is in a comfortable vehicle.
Keeping your stress levels in check while also making sure your concentration levels are up will make the journey easier. It’s also important for you to incorporate aspects of downtime into your journey. This could mean going off the beaten track. You may find that the highway is the quickest route, but if you find yourself getting fatigued and everything starts to look the same, you have got to make it interesting. Go off the beaten track and find an alternative route. There are some fantastic country roads around the US that will expose you to some aspect of America that you have never seen. And this is far more interesting than I-95!
Plan Your Journey, but Don’t Plan Too Much
You know where to start and you know where to finish. Put a few checkpoints in between, and you’ve got a very loose road trip that can give you the opportunities to go off-piste if you want. When you have a plan in place, the best thing you can do is to tear up the rulebook. You’ve got to be careful. We are in unprecedented times. And if you are considering a long road trip, you’ve got to plan ahead and see if there are campsites or relevant accommodation open. The best way to get around this would be to purchase a campervan. And if you did this, at the very least, you know you have got secure accommodation.
It’s always a good idea to follow your nose. Think about places that you would like to see and put them down on your itinerary, but also think about general areas that aren’t too far away that you may like or you might not. There is nothing wrong with finding somewhere that broadens your horizons. The very idea of traveling for most people is about embracing the unknown, and this is a key part of learning about life on the road.
Have a Backup Plan
In fact, you may need to have a few. Emergencies are common, especially on the road, and it’s sensible to have a credit card in case of emergencies. And you might be on a strict budget. If you want to buy a souvenir of your trip, you need to make sure that there’s some extra cash just in case.
You should also think about securing your finances properly, something like a portable safe is a good idea, but also know where your wallet is at all times. If you’re taking a walk in a busy marketplace, ensure that your wallet is secure and have a small amount of cash in your breast pocket.
Be Kind to Everyone
It sounds obvious, but you might think that just because you are stopping in one location and then heading on your merry way gives you the right to be entitled or to carry an attitude. But you are outside of your comfort zone. You need to be friendly to everybody you meet, within reason, as you may need their help if something happens.
You may let your guard down when you are stopping off in a diner for a quick bite to eat but, if you’ve got opinions that go against the grain of the local mindset, you may very well offend people. Keep your opinions to yourself and stay as polite as you can. Simply observe how the locals are and follow their lead.
Have Some Exercises in Mind
Sitting in a car for hours on end can be difficult on the mind and the body. Take a leaf out of the book of many traveling business people and take some resistance bands with you. By taking the opportunities to stretch on occasion, you will bypass physical pains.
And as simple as it may seem, you need to give yourself a break. When we are putting ourselves through the wringer, in a physical sense as well as a mental one, we need to know when it’s all getting a bit too much. We can feel like we have to stick to an itinerary or the realization could dawn on us that we are away from home. When we have some physical and mental exercises to calm us down and bring us back to the moment this will help to renew our enthusiasm which will be invaluable when we hit those inevitable slumps.
This Will Be the Best Adventure of Your Life
You need to treat it accordingly. A road trip is fun, exciting, and daring, but it can also push you to your limits. It’s so important to get yourself prepared mentally for a journey where you are just going into uncharted territory as you will learn so much about yourself in the process. You’ve got to give it the respect it needs, which means you got to plan, but you’ve also got to think about what you really want to achieve from this road trip. By getting yourself mentally prepared and planning the practicalities, you will cover all bases.
There is no need to be obsessing about following a schedule. Part of the reason people go on road trips is to leave their old life behind. This is something that you have to think about because it will if that you’ve placed too much importance on. Before you set out, ask yourself what you want to achieve from this. Is it a case of experience in the open road? Are you being a tourist? Or are you using a road trip as an opportunity to get away from your mundane existence? Everybody should experience a road trip because it is the perfect opportunity to experience something different in their lives. It is going to be the best thing you’ll ever do in your life, but it will also be the most difficult unless you prepare yourself mentally.