So you've decided to hit the open road on your first four-wheeled adventure. While road tripping an hour may seem simple, road tripping for hours or even across the country needs a bit more preparing.
Luckily, Katin and our Explorers are experienced in this road trip field of exploration. One Explorer James Barkman actually lives in his RAD van, traveling wherever the wind blows him. The Katin team has also just returned from a four-day road trip and camping adventure from Big Sur, and we along with Mr. Barkman are flushed with new tips and road trip hacks.
Check out our top 5 road trip tips for your first big road trip.
Also, feel free to submit your own #ExplorerTips by posting with the hashtag and see your tip featured for our next post!
Tip #1 Do not leave with a AAA card
Before you even leave for your road trip make sure at least one person traveling in the vehicle has AAA. I repeat, MAKE SURE SOMEONE HAS ACTIVE AAA.
No matter the excellent shape of your vehicle, something can happen while on the road. Take it from Katin who blew a gage and remained stranded on the side of the freeway, AAA saves lives.
Tip #2 Bring an actual map.. and CDs
We understand this sounds ridiculous now that we live in a seemingly paperless, digital world. However, as many experienced road warriors will tell you, there will be patches where you have NO service. We know this sounds detrimental to those of you who plan to Snapchat your entire drive and Instagram every stop you make. However, what will actually be somewhat detrimental or at least inhibiting on your plans is if you lose service and are unable to locate your next destination.
Carrying an actual map of the areas you plan to travel will save you a lot of time.
We also suggest bringing food old CDs for the drive, in case the lack of service takes away your Pandora and Spotify music. Trust us on this.
Tip #3 Make a "loose" Plan
Road trips are full of the unexpected. From flat tires to some of the best hole-in-the-wall places to eat, road trips will make memories, good and bad. While it's good to make a plan on where you want to go and what you want to see, it's best to make what we call a "loose" plan that can be changed adjusted or re-routed at anytime. The best adventures happen without a plan so our advice is to go with the flow and have a few key destinations picked out.
Tip #4 Be Prepared to Sleep, Anywhere
Ok maybe not on the side of the road, but packing a few essentials to keep you warm while you sleep will help tremendously. Unless you have a pre-planned place to lodge you may want to prepare a bit more. Whether you find an actual campsite to take refuge, or if you shack up in your vehicle, we want you to be the comfiest as possible. Here are a few items to help you sleep tight.
- a small tent, which takes up hardly any space
- sleeping bag
- pillow or something to rest your head on
- towels and/or tarp. If you have to sleep outside a tarp will help keep out damp air or rain water.
Tip# 5 Bring a Disposable Camera
The reason most folks go on road trips is to make memories. While iPhone camera's provide stellar quality, you are going to want capture some of these moments, scenes and sites on film to keep for ever.
Now that you have our top 5 tips for road tripping you are all set to hit the road! For more tips and tricks follow Katin on social media @KatinUSA as well as experienced road warrior James Barkman (@jamesbarkman).
Good luck and safe travels!
All van photos courtesy of Katin Explorer James Barkman (@jamesbarkman)