The idea of a road trip is one that can be exciting and exhilarating. It’s common for young people who might be celebrating something big in their life to take a road trip, such as graduating college, or maybe you want to do a long road trip when you’re going through a transition in life, such as making a career change.
People who have done road trips and especially cross-country trips often say that it feels freeing to do it on their own, and clear their head along the way.
However, there are some things to know before you embark on a solo road trip. The following are some things to prepare for and keep in mind.
Learn the Rules of the Road
You may have been driving where you live for many years, but if you haven’t driven other places, you might want to brush up on your driving skills. You’ll need to not only think about general driving skills but also what the rules of the road are in the places where you’ll be traveling. Every state has different driving rules, signs, and things that you have to keep in mind. For example, some states don’t allow using a cell phone at all while you’re driving.
If you’re going to be driving where the terrain is difficult or mountainous, it can be a good idea to take the time to learn how to navigate these difficult driving conditions and make sure you’re prepared at a technical level.
You can do some research on laws and road conditions as you’re mapping out your trip.
Have the Right Insurance Coverage
When you’re traveling, there are some different types of insurance coverage you need to make sure you have, and this is especially true if you’re going to be road tripping alone.
First, travel insurance is important. You’ll also need some sort of roadside assistance, and if you’re renting a car, you’ll need rental car insurance. Many credit card companies offer this for cardholders at no additional charge so before buying it, check with your card companies.
Don’t Rely on One Navigation Tool
When you’re taking a road trip, the navigation tools you use are important. You can’t rely on just one form of navigation. When you’re at home and driving around normally, you may use the standard option which is Google Maps. However, on a road trip, there are quite a few reasons this might not be the best option, at least not always.
First, if you’re roaming, you might end up with huge data charges if you’re constantly using Google Maps. You might not even be able to get signals for your digital navigation systems either, depending on where you are.
It’s a good idea to have an old-fashioned map as well as a compass if you’re traveling solo, or even if you’re taking a road trip with someone else.
Be Practical With Your Packing
You aren’t going to have help when it comes to carrying your things or a lot of the logistics if you’re traveling alone, so keep this in mind as you’re packing.
When you’re traveling alone, whether it’s a road trip or otherwise, safety is something you always have to think about.
If you’re driving, you need to know your limits as far as how long you’re able to drive before you start to get drowsy. Don’t drive so far or plan your trip so that you’re going for too long. You’re putting yourself at serious risk.
Make sure when you’re traveling alone,and you’re dining out or going out that you don’t drink too much—you won’t have the advantage of people with you to help you if you’re in this situation.
Also, come up with a plan for how you’ll check in with at least one person back home. Set up a schedule—for example, once every evening at the same time. That way, they will know when to expect to hear from you.
Find Ways to Be with Other People
Finally, just because you’re traveling alone, it doesn’t mean you always have to be alone. Find ways along your road trip to be with other people.
For example, think about spending the night in hostels along the way, which have a community atmosphere and often offer things like shared meals. You could also take day tours, or you could try group activities in some of your destinations, like cooking classes or wine tastings. You may find that if you do group activities, there are people to share meals with later on.