Thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong — whether in a tiny way or a horrible way — while planning your vacation is nobody’s idea of a good time. Well, it might be fun if you’re a huge Debbie Downer. The rest of us hate it, though.
Unfortunately, an unwillingness to plan for less-than-ideal scenarios is practically an engraved invitation for something bad to happen. You won’t be able to control everything that happens on your road trip, but a little planning and preparation will help you avoid (or make it through) these six road trip nightmares…
1. Being Lost (Really Lost)
With so many apps, gadgets and devices, it seems ridiculous that people can still get lost. Of course, when you think about it, it’s often that same over-reliance on technology that’s at least partially to blame.
A good navigational app or gadget may be all you need to make it through your trip with no problems. However, even the best apps can fall behind. To avoid getting turned around or tangled up in unexpected construction, take a quick look at the Department of Transportation’s website for each state you’re visiting. Make a note of any construction or storm damage to avoid.
Battery die? Lose your charger? Can’t get service? Bad luck happens to the best of us. Keep physical maps handy — that way your bad luck remains merely a bump on the road and doesn’t transform into a travel nightmare.
2. No Gas
You may feel like a doomsday prepper, but you must do your research and be prepared for your fuel needs.
How much fuel does your tank hold? What’s the average estimate of the miles to a gallon? Do you have room for an emergency kit? Will your route take you through any long, gas station-less stretches? Do you know what to do if you run out of gas?
Take advantage of technology to research and search for gas stations and don’t be afraid to refuel often. It’s better to refuel around the quarter tank mark than to find yourself running on fumes.
3. No Lodging
Road trips are about spontaneity and freedom, so you may be tempted to leave your exact itinerary up to the whims and chance of each day.
That’s fine until you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no place to sleep. Perhaps you’ll wind up in a bustling metropolis with nowhere to stay because you didn’t know about the big event that saw all the available rooms snatched up a year in advance.
You can still play the free spirit — just be smart about it. Have a rough idea of how far you’ll travel in a day and research hotels in the local area. The last thing you want to do is end the day exhausted with over one hundred miles to go before the next hotel, motel or camp-site.
4. Tickets and Near Misses
Save yourself the embarrassment, time and money by doing all you can to avoid a ticket.
Obviously a good way to avoid a ticket is to drive safely and carefully whenever you’re in unfamiliar terrain, paying special attention to traffic signs. However, did you know that the colour or model of your car can affect your chances of getting a ticket? If you’re planning to rent a car, it wouldn’t hurt to research what models to choose and which to avoid. If you are driving in another country to your native one, check that you have the correct documentation to rent a car and whether you need an International Driving Permit.
5. Accidents and Collisions
You can’t control other drivers (or deer or squirrels or rabbits). The only thing you can control is yourself. That’s why it’s critical that you remain calm and focused when driving in unfamiliar areas.
It’s easy to panic when you realize you’re about to miss a turn or aren’t sure where you’re going. Don’t be afraid to pull over to double-check directions and don’t view a missed exit as the end of the world. What’s more important: Your safety and the safety of other travellers, or blindly cutting across several lanes of traffic to avoid having to reroute or turn around?
Of course, it never hurts to double-check your insurance coverage before travelling and brush up on what to do in the case of an accident.
Trying too hard to look like a local will sap all your energy and attention, leaving you little time to enjoy yourself. Still, tourists often stand out as easy targets for thieves.
You don’t have to go overboard to protect your belongings. Stick to a few simple common-sense precautions:
- Keep luggage out of sight (in the trunk or under a blanket) as much as possible.
- Tuck maps and travel paraphernalia in the glove compartment when not in use.
- Avoid broadcasting your travel plans and keep your map-checking on the down low.
- Lock your car.
By taking the time to plan, research and prep for a few precautions, you can get your worrying out of the way up front, leaving you free to enjoy the road trip of your dreams!
About the author:
This guest post was written by Kacey Mya Bradley, a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective“. She’s a Communications graduate and uses her knowledge to write inspiring posts about her love for the world and all the locations, cultures and styles she has explored.