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Travel Tips for Your First Road Trip

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

Photo Credit: Pexels

There’s nothing like going on your first trip as an adult. Family vacations are wonderful and all, but there’s a unique freedom in hitting the open road with your own plans, goals, and destinations in mind. However, your first trip out can be a little intimidating. There are plenty of things to consider that will make your trip safe, cost-effective, and of course, fun. Thankfully, a first-time traveler can be sure to enjoy an incredible journey with some precautions and planning.

Safety First...

First and foremost, nothing can spoil your adventures like a mishap, so here are a few quick tips for staying safe on the road:

  • Give a trusted friend or family member your itinerary, and check in with them along the way. This way you’ve got someone looking out for you who knows where you’re supposed to be.

  • Make sure you have a reliable phone so you can get directions or call for help if needed. A trip is a great opportunity to upgrade if you’re in the market for a new phone. However, you shouldn’t plan to use the phone for calls or texts while you’re actually driving. The new iPhone 11 is a good travel pick thanks to its default “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting, ample battery and memory, and it also offers an amazing two-camera system for awesome pics during your trip. Alternatively, Jetsetter notes the One Plus has enough memory to run multiple apps simultaneously, and there is a headphone jack that can be handy in public places. Topping it all off, the Android Auto app provides a “car mode” for while you’re driving.

  • If you’re traveling with your roommates, don’t tell the whole world you’re out of town. Travel Insured explains posting on social media is a great way to get robbed while you’re gone; save the scenic pics for once you’re back. For traveling light, consider adding a travel wallet to your gear, since it can help you stow your ID, funds and cards safely.

Solidify Plans

Before getting deep into your itinerary, you should establish a travel budget. Start by getting a sense of your per-day spending limit. Divide your overall trip funds among how many days you plan to travel, and try to stay below that daily limit. This doesn’t have to be set in stone – some days will naturally be more expensive than others. If you’re consistently reaching your limit in the first few days, however, slow your spending so you can continue to enjoy yourself.

Once you have your budget set, figure out your specific itinerary and add some travel apps to your tools for the trip. Apps can help you make economical accommodations, watch spending, and keep your eye out for unique stops like small museums, roadside attractions, and locally-owned shops.

Pack Light

There are several reasons to try and pack as lightly as possible on a road trip. If your bag is full when you head out, it’s much harder to bring back souvenirs. Moreover, the actual physical lightness of your bag is worth considering, too. You’ll thank yourself if your bag is easy to maneuver.

As the Globetrotting Teacher recommends, it’s best to focus on bringing travel essentials. If you can manage to pick a hotel or vacation rental along the way that has a washer and dryer, you can pack even lighter – bring along clothes for half of the trip, and wash them once you hit your destination.

As long as you make plans to stay safe, grab cool apps, and keep your spending in check, you’re sure to have an excellent road trip. Enjoy your first trip on your own, and embrace the freedom of the open road!