Perhaps its a girl’s right of passage or something equally as nerdy, but at a certain age, every girl has this urge to get a girlfriend, or two, get enough junk food to feed a small nation, get in a car, gas it up and burn rubber to nowhere in particular. Maybe you did plan this trip or maybe it was just a whim but either way you have your best girl power tunes (including Cyndi Lauper’s Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun – of course) blaring, sunglass blinging, windows down with the wind blowing through your hair.
But there are so many things to consider before you can speed off down the road, honking the horn while holding your hat out the window screaming, “Aribaaaaa!”
First, everything we do in this world cost money. It’s sad but it’s true. Everything we do, even when we think it’s free. So the first thing you need is a little money for the necessities–food, place to stay, gas, etc.
You have to figure out where you want to go. After all, just getting in your car and driving isn’t necessarily the right way to go especially if you just got your license and every time you take the keys your parents have a small stroke.
Think of where you will be staying once you get there. When my friend and I went on a lovely road trip to Southern Ontario (Port Rowan, Turkey Point, Port Dover etc) there was an outbreak of Tick – so camping was so out off the list. I guess what I’m trying to say is, do your research.
With the internet these days you can basically see what the city/town you’re going to look like with google earth. Plug in the address etc and see what’s around your accommodation. Don’t just take their word for it. Find out where you can eat, go dancing, go to a library, see a tourist attraction, walk along a beach, go to a festival…see how close or how far these things are from where you’re staying.
Oh and just because a website say there’s a Bed and Breakfast on Timbuktu Road in some random small town you’ve never heard of – doesn’t mean there’s a bed and breakfast on Timbuktu road in the middle of the random town you’ve never heard of. Look it up. Call them. Make sure it is what it is.
Consider where you wish to go, I repeat, and how long it will take to get there. So get a piece of paper and begin writing. You’ve decided you want to go to X place and it will take Y time to get there. Now, which of your friends can you spend time with in your car for Y amount of time without wanting to strangle them?
Might I suggest taking someone who like the same music you do. Why do I say that? Think about it. If you like listening to Metallica and the person you chose loves listening to Enya? Or if you like South Korean Pop and they like English Rap? You’re in for a world of drama.
Why music? Because there is only so much talking a few people can do before they want to head a desk in bored frustration.
What vehicle are you taking? If you’re leasing your car you don’t want to drag it on the highway on a road trip. So maybe you have to rent one. Do you have at least a G2 (in Ontario) with a clean driving record and a credit card? There are many things you have to consider. Perhaps one of your friends have a diesel car and is willing to drive providing you chip in for gas (my friend has a diesel car. Didn’t know what that meant until she told me lol–very VERY good on gas). Which ever you chose, chose wisely my friend, because the vehicle could make or break the trip.
Make sure you have a map or a reliable GPS (a recently updated GPS). Again, example from my road trip, our GPS was pretty good except when it took us through some backwoods, dirt road, in the middle of a forest. I am not exaggerating here. We turned off onto this road and it was dirt. We looked at each other just before I freaked and pulled out my camcorder just in case the trip turned into the horridly made Blair Witch Project. I was not impressed.
But we slowly made it through the path and ended up on an actual road that had an amazing view of Lake Eerie. Looking behind us we realized the GPS gave us a horrible short cut because if we’d continued along the road we were on, we could have cut out the heart-attack and just gone the long way around. But I digress.
Even if you don’t know how to read a map, you should be able to caliberate a GPS to take you where you want to go.
So now you have your destination, a little money, a car, music and a readily available GPS all you need now is the right junk food. Make sure you pack water –not only juice. I mean juice is yummy but an overload on sugar can put you to sleep. You want to be awake and alert for the ride. Toss in some grapes, strawberries, trail mix – things you can just dip your hand in and shove into your mouth. You don’t want complicated food to distract you.
There are so many more pointers I could give you–like make frequent stops. Because you’re driving doesn’t mean you’re superman(woman) so you need breaks.
Take a shower before you get in the car. You’re going to be in a confined space with other people, B.O is not a good thing.
Leave early enough to avoid mad traffic. Have you ever been stuck on the 401 at 8 in the morning? Not pretty.
Don’t break the speed limit. Take your time, adhere to all laws. We don’t want you and your friends to wind up in the same scenario as the cast of Sienfeld in the final episode. And you don’t want to end your trip with any added expense of tickets or fines.
Be calm along the ride. Rock out to your amazing beats – because chances are the long ride and people cutting you off are going to drive you batty.
Mastering the art of the Road Trip is not something you can do over night. No no, it takes lots and lots of practise. But have fun doing it.