It doesn’t take a lot for a road trip to go sour, especially one that involves driving in a sedan for 3000 miles. There are a few things that you need to be mindful of when going on road trip like that in order for it to be executed properly. I’ve done this trip twice in my life so far. Thus, taking my personal experience into account I’ve gathered a list of things that you might find helpful if you’re feeling like going on a journey.
- The art of Packing.
If you have a ton of stuff, chances are you’re gonna need the help of a giant truck to move most of it. So what you have to do is temporarily say goodbye to most of your beloved things by shoving them into boxes and giving them up to a company like Hercules or any other big moving company. Fact of the matter is no matter how much research you do, you always run into the possibility of never seeing your belongings again, as unfortunate and frustrating as that may be. Once you’ve filtered the most important things out of that pile, you can start packing your own car. Everything that you have no use for during the trip whatsoever can be shoved in the trunk and forgotten about. Portable electronics such as a laptop or a camera can be put on top of all that so it’s accessible if needed but not in plain view giving people incentive to break into your vehicle. Keep a duffel bag with a few sets of fresh, clean clothes you can change into. Also keep a bag somewhere in the back seat which you can use for accumulating dirty laundry.
- What to do if you’re traveling with a lot of cash.
So I did a little experiment. I put it all in a box and shoved it into a pink tote bag, placing it in the front passenger seat. The plan was to take it with me to the hotel every night. How do you make the pink bag even less appealing for potential thieves during the day though? Well, one way is to shove a giant box of tampons right on top of the bag and make sure they’re in plain view. In the case that some asshole decides to steal your belongings while inside a gas station or whatever, before they even attempt to break into the car they’ll get hit with a lovely visual: Tampons – Supersized. The predator will forget all about the initial plan of attack and retreat immediately, because you know: tampons are gross. As they’re running far far away, various thoughts will probably be going through their head… Who needs that many tampons? In the front seat no less… Is she changing them out as she’s driving? Oh the horror; they’re the heavy flow type too… Gotcha! I win.
- Breaking the trip up into sections is important.
Tackle a section per day. Coming from New Jersey, I broke the road up into 4 sections. First stop was Indianapolis, the Oklahoma City, followed by Gallup in New Mexico and finally my destination: Los Angeles. Each portion was approximately an 11 hour drive with all the gas and coffee stops in between. It helps to have a sub destination instead of just driving aimlessly towards one big goal that’s very far away. Get a good a good night sleep in a hotel instead of risking falling asleep at the wheel, which is very difficult not to do on a never-changing empty black road no matter how much coffee you’ve had.
- Booking hotels ahead of time also helps.
Your trip is going to be challenging as it is; avoid having to stress about finding a hotel in the middle of the night, god knows where by booking it ahead of time. Enjoy the luxury of reading reviews and comparing prices; especially because it goes hand in hand with breaking the trip up into sections. If you’re not driving towards a specific marking point, that which you know you’re going to reach in approximately so and so hours, you can’t anticipate getting tired ahead of time. You’re just going to get too tired at some point, and then what? Looking for a hotel when you’re already tired is awful. What if there isn’t a hotel for another 30 miles? What if it derails you too far out from the main road? What if you’re in a bad neighborhood? You can avoid all of those scenarios by simply planning ahead.
- The Buddy System.
Having done the road trip alone, I feel like I can say that it’s almost better than having someone with you. Sure there are perks in driving with a friend… they can be in charge of documenting funny road signs and beautiful scenery as you focus on the getting-there-safe part for example. As one role or the other is bound to get boring at some point whether it’s the Driver or the Camera Man, the solution is simple – switch places. Naturally there’s the conversation factor as well. You have someone to talk to. Let’s look at the other side of things however. The fewer amount of people traveling, the fewer opinions and needs to tend to and accommodate. For example, I had this awesome soundtrack. It’s called “I listen to whatever the fuck I want”. On the same token, I stopped when I and only I needed to. Food and bathroom breaks were neither frequent nor inconvenient. There were a couple of seemingly fun and interesting places along the way that I kind of wanted to stop at, but decided not to. Had I been with a friend, we would have almost definitely detoured to either an inside water park or the beer factory, or both, inevitably prolonging our trip. This brings me another element of road tripping: The Experience Factor. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, did it really happen? What if you were the only on there to see it; will others be able to relate to your experience just from you telling them about it? Eh, maybe; maybe not. Although I hear pictures are worth a thousand words and I for one got plenty. Thanks to the shutter speed function and the overall progression of the cell phone technology today, I was able to obtain plenty of pictures and videos on my phone reflecting road signs, selfies and beautiful scenery, without it having compromised the safety of my driving. All you do is point your phone in a general direction of that which you’re taking a picture of, and hold the capture button, creating about a 100 sequenced shots. One or 30 is bound to come out crisp and centered. The rest can either be trashed or conveniently put towards GIF images.
That just about covers it. Happy traveling and feel free to share your experiences and funnies!