The road trip I took by myself, eight hours to Maine, was unforgettable. I wish more people took the trip alone more often.
While the trip might seem daunting, the experience of traveling so far by yourself and navigating the roads is worth it. Here's some tips for your first solo road trip:
1. Pack All Necessary Items
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You know what you're going to need for your ultimate destination, whether that be a hostel or a B&B, you know the essentials (clothes, toiletries, etc..), but don't forget to pack for your car as well. You'll need some snacks, a first aid kit, a blanket, pillow, and jumper cables.
2. Get Your Car Inspected
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No matter how far you're traveling, you're gonna want to get your car inspected in some shape or form. Your oil, the spare tire, and the transmission are some of the things to check up on. The last thing you want is an unreliable mode of transportation. The peace of mind you gain knowing your car will make it to your desired destination is essential.
3. Set Up A Schedule
You're going to want to have an idea of where you are going before hand. Plan out how long it will take you to get to your destination, and if you're going to have to stop to sleep somewhere, know that as well. The more you plan out, the smoother your trip will go.
4. Get Your GPS And Map Ready
If you're anything like me, you rely heavily on your phone to bring you to where you want to go. Of course on this road trip, I prepared myself with my phone, a GPS, and paper directions to my destination. Phones die and GPS systems can go haywire. I did get lost twice, but after going with my gut, I found my way again. You slowly learn to trust your instincts on the ride.
5. Don't Forget To Appreciate The Scenery
I made a point to give myself time to stop at almost every rest stop. One stop brought me to a unique forest area with huge tree trunks that it reminded me of the beginning of "Nightmare Before Christmas." My only regret was that I didn't take any pictures!
6. Snacks Are Only For You
You know when you're on a road trip with friends or family, you always have to share the food you brought for the trip. Not this one! Any food you buy is all for you. No need to worry about running out of food!
7. Risky Stops
There was one stop I made that was full of people and I knew it would be a little frightening. When you are approached with this type of situation where the danger risk is high, you want to get into the mindset that you are not alone. After locking my car, I ventured towards the building. I clutched my phone in my hand as I entered the rest stop and walked with confidence.
While most of the time you will not run into a murderer or a serial killer, you must be aware of your surroundings. At the end of the day, you're alone, so be careful.
Traveling during the day will diminish these risks, so be careful if you travel into the night.
8. Have Someone Waiting For You
Keep someone in the loop in terms of your travel plans. You never know what could happen, and having people aware of your trip will help in your safety. Pull over every once in a while and shoot a quick text to your mom or significant other that you're alive.
9. Bring The Jams!
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You're gonna be in the car for a while, so you're going to need music. I decided to make some CDs for my ride up so I wouldn't have to fumble with my phone. Another idea is to make a playlist dedicated to the trip. New songs and albums will be great to add as well.
10. Know The Rules Of The Road
If you're venturing out alone, you already know how to drive, but some driving laws vary by state. My GPS was actually prohibited in some states, so I made sure to take it down when I entered them. Some speed limits vary per state, some faster and some slower. So be aware of your surroundings.
I enjoyed my trip alone and I hope you enjoy yours. It was an experience of a lifetime.