Now that the snow finally appears to be melting, it's time to refresh your senses and take to the road for a quick road trip. The classic road trip is a great way to let go and get lost within the beauty and wonder of your surrounding and neighboring environments.
If you're inspired like I am to get out and explore and take to the road, here are some helpful tips for planning your next road trip:
1) Plan enough time to make regular stops Whether it's Wild Rick's Snake World, the birth place of Abraham Lincoln, or the Grand Canyon, something will catch your attention as you drive so make sure you've allocated enough time in your plans for impromptu stops and mini-explorations.
When I got out in Savannah, Georgia during my last road trip to taste some world famous Pralines, I found myself distracted by the gorgeous cobblestone waterfront. Before I new it, several hours and a hearty meal had passed. This is what road tripping is all about?
2) Plan your overnight stops in advance
Although it may not seem like a big deal, there's nothing worse than pulling up to a hotel just to be told that there are no vacancies. When it comes to accommodations, it's best to plan in advance.
I try to plan my overnight stays in cities or areas I want to spend time exploring. Overnights can be as fancy as staying at a nice hotel (this is the perfect time to pull out rewards points) or as simple as crashing on someone's couch. I'm a Starwood member and I love using my free hotel points during road trips. It's nice to unwind in a nice hotel after a long day on the road.
There are of course a plethora of lodging options. When I was driving the length of California's coast with a friend in my early twenties, after spending one very dodgy night sleeping in our car at a truck stop (I don't recommend this), we booked two bunks at the Venice beach hostel the second night and spent a good chunk of the day, exploring the beach area. Hostels are a great budget option if you don't mind unwinding with a group of strangers and sharing facilities.
An even more budget friendly accommodation option is Couch Surfing. If you're adventurous, Couch Surfing is free and safe, providing an excellent environment to meet new people, and if you're lucky snag a hot meal or private tour guide.
3) Rent a car
For longer trips, it's usually a good idea to rent a car so you don't run yours into the ground. All of those accumulated miles will damage a car quickly. Besides, it's fun to try out new car varieties as a renter. Always wanted to test drive a Range Rover? Rent one for the weekend. Do you drive a small sedan but want more room for your road trip? Rent a van or SUV (just beware of the increased gas costs) and travel in comfortable style. If you're traveling with a group, you may even want to rent an RV.
For rentals, I like to use Hertz. They've got locations all over the country and their rates are really reasonable.
So there you have it, whether to a big city destination, the secluded mountains or the calming ocean, there's no time like the present to take to the open road!