8 Things To Consider Before Taking Your Next Road Trip
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8 Things To Consider Before Taking Your Next Road Trip

Some of the best things in life are unplanned.

8 Things To Consider Before Taking Your Next Road Trip
Alexandra Meyers

For college students, spring break is the most anticipated week of the spring semester. For some, it means staying home and binge-watching "Grey's Anatomy" on Netflix, and for others it means going on vacation. While the beach trip might be the most popular way to spend spring break, a lesser-known way to spend your spring break on a road trip.

When I came home for spring break this past week, I was anticipating a quiet and relaxing week of nothing. Maybe, since the weather was supposed to be nice, I would go on a few hikes or drive down to Washington, D.C., to catch up with friends. This ended up not being the case. I wasn't even through the door 15 minutes when my dad asked me if I was interested in flying to Texas to pick up a truck and drive the truck back to Pennsylvania. As a person who is up for any and all adventures, I said yes. We bought my plane ticket that night, and at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, I was on my way to the airport to meet a friend who agreed to make the drive with me. I was excited because this was my first long-distance road trip that didn't include my entire family driving down to Florida.

This being my first time road-tripping without an older adult to make decisions, I had no idea what to expect. Based off of my experience, here are eight things to consider before taking a road trip:

1. The weather

You don't want to pack for warm weather only to arrive at your destination to find it's much colder than you anticipated, and vice versa.

2. Bringing an umbrella

Even if you look at the weather forecast and it states sunny and 75 the entirety of your trip, bring an umbrella. Unfortunately for me, it rained the entire day that we were driving from Memphis to Nashville, and I didn't get much sightseeing in because I didn't have an umbrella or poncho.

3. Staying hydrated

When on a road trip, especially when your goal is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, stopping for the restroom can get annoying. However, it is so important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness, nauseousness, headaches, and a whole slew of things that you don't want occurring on the road.

4. Not creating a schedule

For those who live by strict adherence to schedules, this is going to be difficult. It can be tempting to schedule out your days and meals down to the minute, but I can promise you that not having a set schedule on road trips is liberating and allows for spontaneity. I was glad that I didn't have a schedule because my flight ended up being delayed for almost three hours.

5. Researching your destinations

On my trip, I drove through Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. I kind of had an idea of what to do in Nashville, less of an idea of what to do in Memphis, and no clue what there was to do in Little Rock. Researching your destinations will help you figure out what you want to do when you arrive so you can maximize your time at each place.

6. Visiting the visitor center

I have gone into visitor centers several times over the years, but I had never actually spoken to those who work there. When we arrived in Little Rock, my friend (who was traveling with me) and I had no clue what there was to do there or why the city was important so we stopped at the visitor center. The kind old couple working there at the time informed us that there was actually much to do in Little Rock and they even recommended a quaint, local place to grab breakfast.

7. Attire

Dress for the activity that you'll be doing. If the main focus of the trip is on driving, you probably want to wear clothes that you are comfortable sitting in for several hours at the time. If you're planning on stopping for sightseeing, consider packing clothes other than sweatpants.

8. Food

When spending several hours at a time on the road, it's so easy to stop at a fast-food restaurant to grab a quick bite to eat. Obviously, this is not the healthiest option nor is it the best way to experience the local flavor. Unless you are pressed for time, it is always a good idea to find a local restaurant instead of eating at a national chain. Your body will also thank you for not eating grease-laden foods for all meals of the day.

If my friend and I had decided to drive straight through, only stopping for gas, food and the restroom, we could have made the trip in 21 hours. However, seeing that our route took us through some incredible cities, we ended up taking three days to get home (Thursday night around 10pm). If not for unexpected weather delays, it would have been much sooner. This trip was evidence that you can't and shouldn't plan for everything.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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