Road trips seem to be ingrained in our DNA, a mythical journey on the open road, where time stands still. There is no worrying about being at work, and the stresses of our everyday life are left in the past, where they belong. Instead you feel freedom and unbridled happiness, as you escape the big city of London. Sheer elation courses through your veins, releasing the shackles of your everyday routine. You feel lighter, unburdened and ready to take on a new adventure far from home. Planning a successful road trip would be so much fun, could you pull it off?
As the minutes stretched on by, and the hours turned into days, you drafted up the ultimate road trip checklist. You wanted to be as prepared as possible, to create a seamless travel experience where no tears were spoilt. There would be no anxiety here, or nervous nail biting. Instead there would be organisation, and a stress free trip, where nothing else mattered but an adventure without direction or cause. You would craft the ultimate road trip playlist to keep you and your passengers entertained, belting out The Weeknd without a care in the world.
Munching down on a vegetarian picnic, mini vegan sausage rolls would be popped into your mouths, flaky pastry leaving trails of crumbs. Homemade tiger bread cut into rustic slices were filled with cheese and vegetarian ham, lettuce, tomato and mayo for a ham take on a BLT. You licked your lips happily. Washed down with a glass of apple juice, your belly gurgled contently, satisfied at last. You had stuck to your road trip budget, not a penny more, and was proud at your self-restraint. The same couldn’t be said about your packing skills, but at least you had tried.
One question bubbled on your lips, gnawing away. Where would you go? Would it be a spontaneous road trip where the road would guide you, or would it be planned, a staycation away in a magical land. You looked over the names on your list, romantic date ideas in Jersey a gorgeous reminder, sun soaked shores that could have been taken in the Carribean. You remembered how you laughed and loved, exploring natural wonders at Plemont Bay, where rugged caves were begging to be explored. Before COVID, everything was different, travel was different.
Oh how times had changed, June 21st our gateway out of lockdown, delayed for another four weeks. But that wouldn’t stop you from planning a successful road trip, not this time. Done safely and smoothly, you would consider all the road trip essentials, ranging from the practical to the fun. You would look after your car tyres in the summer to keep them in ship shape, and avoid accidents on the road.
You realized that it was so important to get your car serviced before you even embarked on the road trip, as it was better being safe than sorry. You knew that now. You were older, wiser, or so you thought. Instead of rushing into things and being spontaneous, you liked to plan ahead. It helped you with your anxiety, you liked to be in control. Knowing that your car was super safe and secure would ease your mind, and help you have the best road trip that you could have ever dreamed of. It was time, the big day was here. Bags packed, off she went.
Get Your Car Serviced Before Your Roadtrip
A knew that having a car breakdown on a road trip would be one of the worst things that could happen. It was a chance that she wasn’t going to take, not on her watch. After all, to have a car fail in the middle of the ultimate vacation would undeniably trigger stress and take a toll on her mood. She wanted the trip to radiate joy, driving through forests, farmland, and coastal retreats, a plethora of terrains. She knew what to do, she would get car servicing from Dat Tyres, who had been in the business for over 50 years. They would sort her out.
A would take her car in three weeks before her trip so she could be prepared for any outcome. After all, she was determined to make this a holiday of a lifetime. From tyres, to MOT’s to full service car checks, they had it all, she could rest easy knowing that her car was in safe hands. They realized that her car tyres were worn, the tyre tread wearing down over time, which would explain why the car was so hard to stop. Knowing how temperamental the weather could be in the UK, she knew that the tyres needed to be replaced, and re-fitted.
Luckily the rest of her car was in working order, but she felt relieved that she had checked. After all from corrosive car batteries, to worn brake pads and malfunctioning wipers, cars often had their issues, and expensive ones at that. The car service showed her that the car, apart from the tyres was otherwise healthy, and was ready for the road trip of a lifetime. She let out a sigh, thank goodness that she had got her car serviced. Although her issues were minimal, nevertheless her tyres needed fixing, which would have been a pain to sort out on the open road.
They left her with some useful parting advice, that she jotted down in a jiffy.Remember, remember, they said, always make sure you have a spare tyre and an emergency kit with food, medical supplies and a blanket. Oh,and don’t forget to check your tyre pressure and fluid levels before you go. She made a mental note, she would get that sorted. Thanking them profusely she went out on her merry way, smiling at last.
Create A Road Trip Budget (And Stick To It!)
It would be all too easy to overspend on a road trip, stopping at gas stations to pile up on snacks, little costs adding up. Which is why planning a successful road trip rested heavily on creating a road trip budget that A could stick to. She wanted to ensure that she wouldn’t overspend and create a road trip budget that she could use time, and time again. But what would be the first step?
It would be deciding what the non-negotiable costs would be, to work out what budget was left over for food, activities and anything else. A knew that priortization was key in budgeting and planning a successful road trip was no exception. From car maintence, to gas, to accomodation, having a working car that had enough gas, and a lovely inn, hotel or airbnb to stay in would be neccessary to get this road trip off to a good start. Because she was travelling locally, she didn’t need to budget for plane, train or taxi costs.
Instead, she was able to have money left over to budget on food, drink, and activities along the way. She worked out that she would be able to go on a 3 week road trip, pay out for gas, accomodation and car servicing, and have enough to warrant a ‘treat day’ each week. On those treat days she would budget for restaurants, fun activities such as swimming, going out to bars and local attractions. However, A was very careful and made sure to have an emphasis on cheap eats, budget friendly activities, and in some case free things to do in the area.
Travelling to Margate in Kent was one of the pit stops on her journey, a jovial seaside town bursting with fun. Known for Dreamland, the arcades and infamous caves, A went in a different direction, and focused on free things to do in Margate. There would be sunset picnics on Margate Main Sands, a sandy golden beach that was the original seaside destination. As for Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve? What a treat, a complex mosaic of habitats like ancient dune pastures, where birds thrived. Tudor House was another highlight, a 16th century house open for self-guided tours, with period costumes on display. Boy, oh boy was A in historical rapture.
Get On The Road Early And Stick To Daylight Hours
Getting on the road nice and early came highly reccomended by A, who believed we should make the most of our days. She hated being stuck in traffic, and the last thing she wanted was to be stuck for hours on the M25. Even if it meant starting her day at 6AM, she would enjoy watching the sun rise as she drove on by, immersed in breathtaking views. When it came to planning a successful road trip, driving in the early morning definitely helped. After all, she wanted to avoid the commuters who were trying to get to work.
The journey would be safer, more tranquil and calm, cruising through quiet roads contemplatively. Night times were a no-go for her, given how sick she could get in the evenings, and she would want to avoid the beautiful wildlife that often wandered along the roads. There were no animals being harmed, not on her watch. As for the drivers? There were often drunk and drowsy drivers on the road which she wanted to avoid.
This way, she would beat the traffic, and have time out, where she could have a quiet space to think, and plan. After all commiting to a road trip was often the hardest part of the planning process, so she knew she had to be prepared. She had taken time out from work, and was ready and waiting for the road trip of a lifetime, where she could detox from technology, home and her everyday routine.
Make Sure That You Pack Food And Drink
Being the hangry person that she always was, A knew that having snacks could make or break a road trip. That was one thing that she wanted to avoid. While she knew that reaching for the junk food was the easy, failsafe way out, she knew that her body would thank her more if she packed healthy lunches and snacks instead. She would drink plenty of water, snack on fruit, vegetable sticks and protein bars, and prepare more filling meals for stopover breaks at emergency pit stops. Instead of spending a fortune at restaurants, she would prepare her own food.
Apple slices, grapes, and pears too, would combine in a colourful fruit salad, washed down with mineral water. Carrot crudites dipped into fresh hummous, mixed nuts for an added protein boost. And who could forget the tomato and mozarella salad, drizzled in heart-healthy olive oil, pepper, and a smidge of sea salt. As the hours drew on, A’s eyes grew heavy. She knew that lunch time was near, and it was time to take a break from driving. But what would she have for lunch? A vegan pasta salad eyed her up, fully loaded.
Fusilli pasta intertwined with thinly sliced carrots, cucumbers, radishes and chopped bell pepper was a delight. Tossed in a creamy mayo dressing, it went well with a side dish of kale and broccoli flavoured in garlic, soy and chilli. A wanted to prove that you didn’t need to throw your healthy eating habits out of the window, and still feel like you are eating something delicious. Had she uncracked the code? With more bottles of water than she could count, and chiller bags filled with delicious snacks, lunches and dinners, A was highly satisfied.
Don’t Overpack, Less Is More!
Being the self-confessed hoarder that she was, A knew that packing would be something she would struggle with. Known to fill a large suitcase with a huge amount of clothes, shoes, accessories and goodies for a weekend only, light packing was the hardest thing about planning a successful road trip. But she knew that the less she would start with, the better. After all, the extra space would come in handy when she needed to catch some sleep, relax, or simply take a break from driving while someone else took over.
Noone wanted to be surrounded by rubbish and dirty clothes, and A was no exception. She loved hoarding true, but not in a small space like a car, where the cramped space would make her feel claustrophobic. So how did she nail the art of packing light? She would roll, not fold her clothes to create extra space, and avoid wrinkles. That way her clothes would be neatly packed, without the hassle of shoving every Dick and Harry into her suitcase! She would also make a checklist, what did she REALLY need for this UK road trip?
She would pack for the amount of days that she was there, instead of double the amount, as she normally would do. She knew that being an overpacker, she had to cut down her suitcase in half, while still retaining her style and favourite pieces. She knew that some outfits she could wear a few times, to save space, as they could be worn in interchangeable ways, especially when it came to her coords. A also thought practically. Instead of chucking 500 pairs of shoes in and hoping for the best, she would create a colour theme like red, and wear the same shoes, coats, and accessories several times. She knew it would save her a lot of time and energy when planning a successful road trip.
What Are Your Tips For Planning A Successful Road Trip?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all my thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation.