Taking a Road Trip: An Outline of Steps

By Brook Wadle
SC Staff Writer

Wadle provides 10 steps for road trips.

“Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway, lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes our way!” I don’t know about you, but whenever I heard that song growing up, I always wanted to make it a reality. If you have any sense of adventure in your bones, you know you were always “born to be wild.” But planning a road trip on a minimum wage budget can be a bit of a buzz kill. College students want adventure but can’t afford the big expense that comes with it. Following these tips can ensure you a fun and memorable adventure. A good trip is more about how you get there and who you’re with. Remember, the journey is the reward, not the destination.

What’s the Destination?
It’s important to know where you’re going. Try to pick somewhere that’s close enough to home that you can drive to it, but far enough away for adventure. Knowing your destination allows for you to plan stops along the way, sight-see, and help you know roughly how much money you will need. Don’t be surprised if things don’t go as planned. It only makes for all the more adventure and memories.

Best Friends Forever
Friends make everything better. Who wants to go on a road trip alone anyways? Bringing friends can cut down on fuel costs. Whenever the gas tank needs to be filled up, alternate which person pays. By bringing friends, you won’t have to pay for everything by yourself. Remember to bring friends that you can tolerate for hours on end because you will be trapped in the car with them, and you can’t just throw them out on the side of the road.

Share the Wheel
Another benefit of inviting your friends is that it allows you to take turns driving. Driving long distances can be tiring, so it’s nice to get a break. Maybe you can even take a little snooze in the back seat. It’s also nice to get a break from being on edge watching the other driver get awfully close to the car in front of you or almost drive off the road. Stop being the backseat driver and take the wheel!

I’m Hungry
Food can be one of the biggest expenses, and being a kid in college, we all know we don’t have stacks, on stacks, on stacks (of money, that is). Having a few extra drinks or snacks on hand can save you a few bucks. Buying food from a grocery store is much cheaper than eating out. Pack a cooler with your favorite drinks and snacks, such as sandwiches, fruits, and crackers. You can even pack Ramen noodles, a college student’s best friend.

You Brought a Tent?
No one said this road trip would be easy, but it will be fun. If you are planning on being gone for multiple days, sleeping is a necessity, unless you are a zombie. Bringing a tent is quite possibly the cheapest way to get some sleep. Be sure you map out where the campsite is before you leave for your road trip, or you might end up sleeping in your car.

Rough It Up
“Roughing it” would probably be best if your road trip was in the summer or spring. You won’t have to pack lots of heavy clothing. Packing lightly will help save on gas and leave more space in the car. Leave your hair dryer and wardrobe at home. This is an adventure, not a fashion show. But for the sake of your friends, don’t forget your deodorant.

Don’t Forget Your iPod
I don’t know about you, but listening to your friend’s music for hours upon hours while trapped in a car might drive you a little insane. I like to be in control of the music. Having your own iPod is great if you get sick of what your friend is blasting through the speakers. It gives you a chance to get in your zone and escape your friends for a little while.

Pictures or It Didn’t Happen
Bringing a camera along is a great way to document your trip and capture those “once in a lifetime” moments. You never know what will happen during your trip, so make sure you have a camera at hand. How is anyone going to believe you if you happen to see Big Foot? “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

It’s the Little Things
With all the excitement of planning your road trip, it’s easy to forget the simplest of things. If you have a AAA card, bring it. You never know if you could have unexpected car trouble when you’re driving in the middle of nowhere. You don’t want to be the star of Jeepers Creepers 4. Don’t forget your cell phone car charger either. You never know if you will encounter a flesh-eating creature and need to call for help. I mean, you might need to call your grandma to say hello.

Have Fun
Don’t just focus on getting there, enjoy the ride. Like I said before, the journey is the reward, not the destination.