The weather is finally warming up and now that we're officially a quarter way into the new year, work is beginning to prove especially mundane; do you need further justification to treat yourself a getaway? Luckily, an adventurous spring or summer escape doesn't require an extravagant budget nor a generous amount of days off. Skip the boat, plane and train route and load up your car for a memorable road trip instead! Tailor your trip to fit your vacation style with these practical tips from Andy Murdock, the US Digital Editor of the #1 travel guidebook publisher, Lonely Planet.
First and foremost, figure out where in the world you're going and how long you plan on being gone for. The classic Americana road trip often involves pit stops at our country's most beautiful national parks. Take, for example, the US 89. This route crosses whole United States north to south, starting in Montana and heading through Arizona. Along the way, road trippers can hit up the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Bryce and more, taking in nature and the serenity of the land. If it's a solo car trip you're after, you may want to consider heading to a city with a casual bar scene to break from your solitude and talk and mingle. Portland, San Francisco and Seattle are known for this type of atmosphere.
If you're keen on going with a group, whether it be friends or family, make sure your road trip partners are compatible with you. It helps to like the same genre of music or be able to agree on an audio book to kill the time with. That way, you won't have to talk the entire time! And have games ready! Whether you're alone or with others, fun ways to kill time include looking for out of state license plates or guessing the profession of other drivers.
Before you start your journey, it's key to take care of logisitics, from your driving schedule to car safety prep. Strike a balance between over and under planning. While spontaneity is fun, a successful road trip takes some prep work. It's tempting to bring everything but the kitchen sink, but overpacking, just as much as under-packing, is not the way to go. Sitting in an overstocked vehicle is far from comfortable, especially if you plan on car camping. Do remember to bring plenty of water, a car phone charger and roadside assistance numbers, though. It's key to have 800 numbers at the ready as not every place is going to have 3G.
Long or short, urban or rural, there's a road trip for every summer vacationer. For more safety tips, route suggestions and car games, check out Lonely Planet's newly launched guide to road trips here.