How to Plan a Road Trip

Everyone has their own idea of what a road trip should be like, how to make the experience enjoyable and what advice they would give. This is because road trips have become a quintessential way to spend a vacation and even a romanticized way to live a life, as seen in Jack Kerouac's On the Road or Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild.

Everybody does things differently, whether it's driving or flying, using a tent or a hotel, eating at restaurants or packing food. But however you choose to travel, here are a few useful tips to help optimize any journey.

Be Flexible

It's always important to know where you're going and how long it will take to get there. With this basic information you can approximate the cost of gas, know how much daylight you have to utilize, and roughly where you'll be for the night—so you can plan for lodging.

But it's also important to use this information as an adjustable guide. Being strict about adhering to a schedule often leads to added stress, especially when traveling in large groups, and can quickly deflate the enchantment of a journey. Because of this, plan to be flexible. Add time into the schedule for food stops and bathroom breaks; anticipate the unknown and don't forgo a unique scenic overlook simply because you're racing the clock.

Stop at the places that have intriguing road signs—the world's largest rocking chair. Make silly goals—jump in at least one body of water. Take goofy pictures—one by every state sign. Be spontaneous.

This is all to say: don't forget that the road trip is the adventure; the destination is just another stop along the way.

More: 10 of America's Best Road Trips

Research Your Route

Any driving route, no matter how bleak it may seem, has unique features worthy of time and attention. This is the same for any town as well. It is remarkable how much cultural disparity there is throughout this country, from one city to the next, and how much geographical splendor fills the space in between.

This is why it's important to research your route before traveling. Look up state parks, national parks, recreation sites and historical landmarks. Research strange places to eat—independent restaurants only found in a specific location, know the local delicacies of an area, and learn the bizarre wildlife to be on the lookout for.

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About the Author

Tyler Dunning

Born and raised in Montana, Tyler developed a reverence for adventure at a young age which he continues to refine. This sentiment has led him all over the United States and around the world; his current goal is to visit all of the U.S. national parks. Though he has dabbled in professional wrestling, archaeology, social-justice advocacy and academia, at his core he is a writer. Find more of his work at www.tylerdunning.com.

Born and raised in Montana, Tyler developed a reverence for adventure at a young age which he continues to refine. This sentiment has led him all over the United States and around the world; his current goal is to visit all of the U.S. national parks. Though he has dabbled in professional wrestling, archaeology, social-justice advocacy and academia, at his core he is a writer. Find more of his work at www.tylerdunning.com.

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