Road Trips and Summer Fun: Planning for Success

By Amanda Cohen on June 3, 2018

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for summer fun! Over the summer, no one wants to deal with traveling by plane and dealing with airport securities, but nothing truly screams summer more than a road trip with your friends. Ah, yes, a good old-fashion road trip where you and your friends are singing to the oldies at the top of your lungs. One of you is on GPS duty, one of you is on snack duty, one of you is on driving duty (be safe), and another one of you is on DJ duty.

However, even though road trips are all fun and games, you have to be prepared. Preparation involves safety and summertime fun, so listen to what I have to say and read about everything you need on your road trip.

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When going on a road trip, people take one of two routes: (1) the scenic route or (2) the direct route. Regardless of what you decide to do, you need to have a plan and an amazing itinerary. If you are planning to take the scenic route, make sure you plan on how long you will stay at each stop and what you will see while you’re there. Even though road trips are shown as something spontaneous on TV, you need to have more of a plan if you want to be safe and make the most out of your road trip.

Not having a plan means that you won’t see everything that you want to see or eat at all of the restaurants that you want to eat at. Having a plan means knowing where all of the rest stops are and making sure that you have enough gas for the entirety of your journey. Having a plan means not receiving a text from your parents every hour on the hour (aka more time to enjoy the trip and less screen time on your phone).

If you are planning to take a more direct route, you want to know when and where you will stop for gas (if you need to), restaurants on the way to your location (if you get hungry), as well as GPS apps that predict the flow of traffic and tell you where all the cops are so that you don’t ever get pulled over for speeding (but don’t speed). Make sure you have the check-in time correct for your hotel or your Air B&B, and make sure you have all of your reservations planned and your activities planned so (like I said above) you don’t miss anything while you’re on your vacation.

If your friends think you are going overboard with the itinerary, you aren’t. Having a plan in place means that you don’t miss anything and that you are as safe as possible. Having a plan means you and your friends won’t waste the day sleeping in until 4 pm while you could be out site-seeing. Bottom line, it’s always better to have a plan.

If you and your friends are trying to decide who’s going to drive, or rather who the main driver is and who’s car will be used, you should choose the person whose car is the most reliable and who has the biggest car. There is nothing wrong with a smaller, older car, but smaller and older cars tend to get into accidents much quicker than other cars. Plus, the bigger the car the more room you have for luggage and people (more clothes to share, more friends to be with, what more can you ask for). In addition, if you are planning to road trip through rougher terrains, bigger cars are more equipped to handle it.

Now, when it comes to picking the main driver, choose someone who has no problem staying awake for lengthy periods of time and someone who is the “mom” of the group. If you are the “mom” of the group, that isn’t a bad thing… trust me, I’m the mom of my friend group and I love it.

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Finally, be stocked up on supplies. Whether that means snacks, drinks, first aid kits, or anything else, just be prepared. Even though disaster never usually strikes, it can, and the more prepared you are for it the better. I know snacks and water may not seem like a disaster plan, dehydration and hunger are no joke. Let’s all be real, no one is fun to be around when they are “hangry.”

Summer road trips are fun and exciting, but they are more fun when you have amazing people around you and plans set in place. Yeah, you may not think you want to wake up early for the museum tour, but you want to let yourself take it all in and that means waking up for tours that you may not think are important, but they are. Have fun, be safe, and happy summer!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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