Jack Kerouac was famously On the Road in 1950s America in a haze of drink, drugs, anti-war politics, and desire for meaning and personal belonging. These days, road trips are less intense undertakings, with cheap last minute car rentals and GPS technology making an epic experience accessible to just about everyone.
Route 66 is the most well-known of all road trips, and it’s tempting to follow in the footsteps of road trippers who have gone before you. But it’s a good idea to forget about the tried and tested routes. Think about what part of the country you would like to see – do you want to cover a lot of ground, or would you be happy to drive across one state? A large scale map and an internet connection will make your planning sessions fruitful and fun.
Don’t overplan, though. Leave a little bit of your journey to fate, allowing for all the things you might see along the way. America is the land of the roadside attraction, the family-run ghost tour, and out-of-the-way oddity, so be prepared to stop and enjoy some of the strange and fascinating roadside culture.
Be your own mechanic
You’ll want to have a good idea of how your car works. Basic car mechanics is a must for any significant road trip – the last thing you want is to be stuck in the desert with a blown out engine and no sign of a garage for miles in either direction. Take care of your car, invest in a decent set of tools, and make sure that your oil, petrol and water never run low.
Get some shuteye
Think about where you want to stay. Hotels may be cheaper to book in advance, but do you always want to be speeding to your next destination? On the other hand, it could be a long drive to the next motel, and sleeping in your car might not be your idea of a good night’s sleep.
The great advantage of travelling by car is being able to carry a lot of stuff with you. Having your own blanket, pillow, comfort foods, games and books will save you money and make your trip more enjoyable.
Sort your soundtrack
Finally, you’ll want to plan the most essential element of any road trip – the music. If you don’t want hours of aural torture spoiling the scenery, agree on a playlist in advance!
So, what are you waiting for? Channel your inner Jack Kerouac and get on the road for an epic road trip today.