In the past, a summer job and intermittent plans with friends might have helped pass some of the time, but things have changed drastically this year and you may find yourself with more alone time on your hands than you can bear some days. If you’re feeling bored and claustrophobic at home, there is a way you can get out, be safe, spend some quality time with a trusted friend or sibling (or solo!) and have the summer vacation you need, even if funds are low. And that way is the way of the road – a good old fashioned road trip. But before you burn rubber for one last hoorah before school starts, there are a few things to consider.
Have a plan.
Driving aimlessly can be fun for a night, but if you don’t have a general plan of where you’re going and a pre-determined budget, it’s a recipe for disaster. Regardless of whether you’re driving for two weeks or two days, target a final destination and then scout the route along the way to divide up the mileage and stops, and calculate estimated costs. While pulling off when you see something interesting is definitely encouraged – and part of the point – you also need to have daily targets to ensure you don’t end up stuck in the middle of a dessert with no place to crash for the night. Especially in today’s world, where a lot of hotels or cool places you researched might not even be up and running, even if Google said they were. It’s highly encouraged that you make some calls beforehand.
Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape.
If your car has been sitting in the drive-way because it’s had no place to go since March, make sure it’s still running. Check the oil, check that the tires still have air. Low? Head to the gas station and put air in them. Maybe schedule a quick tune-up if you feel safe doing so. The last thing you want to deal with is a broken down car when the next gas station is 50 miles away and most strangers are too cautious to share the air around you to stop and help.
Have Personal Protective Supplies.
The virus is most definitely not your friend. Have masks, sanitary wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer readily available for any quick breaks for food and other relief at public rest stops or hotel stays.
Be prepared for emergencies.
While you might have rolled your eyes when your dad preached the importance of having jumper cables in your car at all times, he wasn’t wrong. Make sure to pack flashlights, bottles of water, toilet paper, a first-aid kit, chargers for your cell phone and the tools to change a flat tire.
Create the perfect playlist.
If you’re driving for a significant amount of time, your enthusiasm for the trip will ebb and flow – and if you don’t have music to get you through these stretches, periods of boredom can be brutal. If you’ll be traveling through rural areas, good radio stations might be hard to come by, so be prepared with music mixes or audiobooks.
Pack easy-to-eat foods.
Fast food is easy and cheap, but it isn’t for everyone. However, you’re not going to want to slice up cheese and stack them on top of crackers while you’re driving. Pack foods that are easily accessible and easy to eat, like premade sandwiches, granola bars, beef jerky and pretzels to get you through the periods when you can’t stop to eat.