With college right around the corner, many students are preparing for their big move. If you’re planning on attending school in a different town or city, a road trip is perfect for getting acquainted with your new surroundings. Not to mention, it’s an excellent opportunity to bond with your friends and family before college starts.
Like all seniors, Jackson Bonnen is gearing up for college in the fall to continue his education. Before starting his next great adventure, he shares his top four tips for ensuring your pre-college road trip is a success.
The first step in planning your road trip is to decide who you want to come with. Are you hitting the road with your best friends since elementary? Making one more memory with mom and dad before unpacking your dorm? Or is it time to clear your head and take the journey yourself?
Before starting college, it can be a lot of fun to go on a road trip with your friends. You’ll make memories to last a lifetime and see some amazing sights. Be prepared for friction between friends, though- road trips can bring out the worst in people. To avoid any arguments, make sure you plan ahead and pack your patience.
Some friends are worth the headache, though, and if you can stand being in close quarters with them for long periods, go for it! You’ll be glad you did when you reflect on the trip years later.
If you’re planning on taking a road trip with your family, be prepared for quality bonding time. This is a great opportunity to get to know your parents or siblings better and learn more about each other’s interests. It can also help decompress from the stress of college applications and planning for your future.
If you’re spending a lot of time in the car, choose a destination everyone will enjoy. Nobody wants to be stuck on a long road trip with nothing to do but argue, so try to find some common ground before finalizing your plans. It can also be helpful to set some ground rules, like no arguing in the car. That way, everyone can relax and enjoy the ride.
Sometimes, the best way to prepare for college is to take a road trip alone. It’s an excellent opportunity to clear your head and think about what you want from your college experience. It’s also a chance to meet new people and see new things.
If you’re planning on going solo, use this road trip as an opportunity to get to know yourself a little better – you might be surprised at what you discover. Traveling alone has risks, but as long as you’re prepared, it can be a gratifying experience.
Space is limited when packing up for a road trip, so it’s essential to plan ahead to ensure you have the right gear. Your car should be filled with everything you need to keep the trip fun and safe.
Road trips can be expensive, so one way to save money is to bring snacks and drinks. You’ll avoid stops at greasy fast food places. If you’re traveling with others, make sure everyone contributes, so you’re not stuck carrying all the weight – literally and figuratively.
Also, be aware of any dietary restrictions or allergies your travel companions may have. Nobody wants to be stuck in a small town hospital because someone accidentally ate peanuts.
Figure out how to bring your money with you safely. One option is using a travel debit card that can be easily replaced if lost or stolen to help you avoid any costly fees associated with foreign transactions. You can also bring cash, but make sure it’s well hidden. According to Forbes, the best place to keep your money safe while traveling is to carry it in a money belt that goes around your waist and under your clothes.
A silent road trip is a boring road trip. Make sure you have a great playlist to keep you entertained while you’re on the road. If you’re traveling with others, take turns picking songs, so everyone gets a chance to hear their favorite tunes. Consider making a playlist that everyone can contribute to before the trip – that way you’ll have a little something for everyone.
And don’t forget about audiobooks! They are a great way to pass the time if you’re not in the mood for music. Audiobooks can also help make the time fly by on long stretches of highway, advises Jackson Bonnen.
The snacks are loaded. The tank is full. All that’s left is figuring out what to pack. To start, list all the basics you’ll need for the trip. Include clothes, toiletries, and any medications you take regularly. Once you have the essentials covered, you can start thinking about what else you might want to bring.
If traveling with others, divvy up the packing, so everyone has a few items to bring. This lightens the load for everyone – and it might even lead to some friendly competition to see who can pack the most efficiently.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in the car, which means you’ll be exposed to the sun for long periods. Be sure to pack sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. And if you’re planning on doing any hiking or outdoor activities, don’t forget to pack insect repellent as well.
Even if you’re road tripping during the summer, it’s always a good idea to pack a jacket and some extra clothes. Certain attractions along the way may have the air conditioning cranked up to the max, so it’s always good to have a sweater or light jacket on hand. And if you’re traveling through mountains or other areas with changing weather patterns, you’ll want to be prepared for anything. A rain poncho can be a lifesaver if caught in a downpour, and an extra pair of sandals is always a good idea.
You should also bring an emergency kit with you, just in case. A first-aid kit, a flashlight, water, and a map of the area (just in case you get lost or lose the signal on your phone), an extra blanket, over-the-counter meds, and a charger cord are also good to keep on hand. If you’re traveling with others, make sure everyone knows where the emergency kit is so they can access it if needed.
You’d take a plane if the goal were to get to your destination as quickly as possible. But part of the beauty of road tripping is that it allows you to take your time and enjoy the journey. So don’t forget to do just that! Take some time to explore the areas you’re driving through and make some spontaneous pit stops along the way. Stopping at a roadside attraction or local landmark can make for some great memories – and it’s a great way to break up the monotony of a long car ride.
If you’re feeling lost or need some ideas for things to do, Jackson Bonnen recommends stopping by a welcome center. These are usually located near state borders, and they’re packed with information on local attractions, dining options, and activities. The welcome center staff can also give tips on the best ways to enjoy your time in the area. And if you’re really stuck, they might even have some suggestions for places to stay for the night.
Don’t forget all the great roadside attractions you’ll see along the way. From quirky museums to giant sculptures, there’s no shortage of strange and exciting things to see in America. So keep your eyes peeled for signs advertising these local attractions – you never know what you might find.
A road trip before college is a great way to get to know the area and bond with your friends and family. Just be sure to follow these tips to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!