Ahhh…the open road. There is nothing quite like jumping in the car with your best buds—and spring break 2013 might be the perfect time to do it. However, before you take off, there are a few road trip tips to consider. First, keep in mind that you are all traveling together…for a number of days…in the same vehicle…with no way to leave. Second, be sure that you have everything (and everyone) you need for the trip before you depart. And third, avoid the following road trip mistakes at all cost. Trust me! Drum roll, please! Here are the ten ways to guarantee that your cross-country road trip will be an utter disaster:
- Uninvited guest(s) — If you and your friends have already laid the ground rules for traveling together, don’t accept any last minute additions. This is a recipe for disaster.
- Gridlock — Setting out on the road only to be stopped within the first two miles is a total bummer and may ruin the mood of the trip. Avoid this by leaving at odd times (3am, 10:30am, 2:30pm, 8pm).
- Car issues — From flat tires to overheating, try to avoid any major issues with the car you take on the trip. Get it in for service before you leave, pack extra coolant and make sure there is a jack and spare in the trunk. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
- Running out of gas — Speaking of getting stuck, pay close attention to the gas gauge. Yes, driver, I’m talking to you, as this is your sole responsibility. Don’t pull a Kramer and see how far you can go past the E!
- Getting lost — Few things are worse than realizing you are lost, except when you are lost without a cell phone or GPS signal. That being said, the National Motorists Association‘s “Avoid Vacation Disasters: 6 Tips For A Great Road Trip” posted on August 29, 2008, suggests you “buy and carry a good road map.”
- Speeding tickets — Not only are these time consuming, they are costly. Plus, you don’t want to have that embarrassing discussion of who is going to pay for the ticket. (Ahem, driver, I’m looking at you again!)
- Getting locked out of the car — Avoid this situation by appointing someone to keep a spare key in his or her pocket. This will prevent broken windows, high locksmith fees, and general annoyance should you lock your keys in the car…or the trunk.
- Running out of money — ATMs are on every corner in the city, but you will be hard pressed to find one on a country road. Write down a list of expected expenses and make sure you have enough cash to cover the entire trip—or at least enough to get you to the next big town.
- Different ideas — Sally thinks you are getting a hotel room. John brought his camping gear. Steve just plans on sleeping in the car. Now, everyone is fighting about what to do after the sun goes down. Make these decisions before you leave so you don’t have five people arguing while you are trying to avoid the deer on the road.
- Different personalities — Take some advice from Planning-Fun-Road-Trips.com: “The #1 Thing: Who You Bring on Your Road Trip Can Make or Break It!” Although you may get along great with your dorm mate, he might not be the best guy to travel long distance with. Instead, really take “personality and interests into account when planning your trip and destination. The destination and the people traveling together must be a good match if you want it to be a great time for everyone.”
For a few more ways to ruin your road trip, check out 11 Points’ “11 Things That Will Kill Your Road Trip” posted on October 05, 2009, by Sam Greenspan.
Although ten ways are listed, all ten don’t have to be present to totally wreck your good time. In fact, even one of the above items could be enough to make you run screaming from the car. So, feel free to copy this list, send it to all of your road trip buddies, post it on the windshield, tape it to the windows — whatever it takes to get everyone on the same page about what not to do. This way, your travels will go off without a hitch! Happy road tripping!