Thursday, July 4, 2013

Planning a roadtrip - The Basics

So you're planning a road trip. Well, here are a few things to keep in mind to get you started:

What is the purpose of the road trip? Weekend getaway? Moving cross country? Knowing this will help determine the time frame, how long to drive each day, how often to stop, and so on. In addition to the purpose of the road trip, decide on an object of comradery. Spending every moment of every day together, it can be easy to get on each others nerves but with something to unite all members of the trip, it can ease some of that tension. For my family, we considered shirts (but it would only be able to be worn one day and then be gross, plus it's a little too matchy-matchy) and bandanas (the boys weren't really down with that), but then my mom had the fantastic of idea of Buffs!

Bubble Buff
They're great because they are versatile, whisk away sweat, gender neutral, and made of strong material (no seam). The ways we wore them were as head bands, arm bands, face mask for sleeping (in the car and on the plane), neckerchiefs, and wrist bands (like a bracelet). Whenever we saw that someone wasn't wearing theirs, even after some tension, it boosted our spirits a bit to remind the person to put theirs back on.

How long do you have for the road trip? If you have a specific destination and time frame, it's especially important to keep this in mind when deciding on attractions to check out, fast food or sit down restaurants, and hours to drive in a day. For my family, we had 7-8 days (depending on when the movers would be at the new house) to drive cross country. The fastest route from Oregon to Arkansas only took 3 days but it also missed all the fun stuff that we wanted to see (Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, etc). Instead, I planned for us to take probably the most indirect route possible :)

Our indirect route from Albany, OR to Fort Smith, AR

How many miles/ hours a day are you willing to drive? Remember that the longer you drive, the less time you may have in various road side attractions or other activities. Also to keep in mind is the number of drivers. If you're renting a car, keep in mind the regulations that are on the car (no one under 23/ 24 years old can drive). Are you willing to drive in the dark in order to get to a hotel closer to the next days activities? Or, are you willing to drive all the way through the night to save money on hotels and get to the next destination faster? Just a tip, we found driving through unfamiliar places at night is one of the most terrifying things ever and after the first few hours of doing so, we opted to cut some attraction short in order to not drive in the dark as long.

How much money are you willing to spend? At this point it may be a good idea to set a budget. Categorize it by day to get a better idea of how many days you can be on the road trip. Key areas to budget for are gas, hotels, food (restaurants and/ or packed), and attractions. Obviously some days you'll spend more or less than others but this is just a place to get started. For our road trip, some of these areas were pre-decided by my father's company who was paying to relocate my family (ex. food = $35/adult/day and $16/child/day = $137/day).

Those are my tips to get your road trip planning started. Tune in tomorrow for more on planning a road trip. Until then, dear readers, live long and prosper!

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