Today is the day I leave for my road trip! I have put quite a bit of planning into this trip so I thought I would share the things I found helpful during my planning process pre-trip. Hopefully I'll learn a lot more that I can share post-trip!
There is a lot more that goes into planning a trip than you probably realize. Maybe it is my indecisive nature but picking destinations and timelines alone took awhile for me. Once that was set in place I had to check in with people I knew along the way and make arrangements for places to stay. I decided on doing this trip 2-3 months ahead of time and I think that helped me immensely. I was able to take my time planning without stress, do some research, and get advice from people on what to do and where to go.
Take care of your car
Obviously this is important for safety reasons. I got my engine inspected, breaks tuned up, oil changed, transmission fluid changed, and tires changed. (Thanks to my grandparents for pushing me to do it all and helping out with it!) There's always the possibility of car problems so taking as many precautions ahead of time is a necessity. This includes getting a car safety kit including things like jumper cables. Also, clean your car! It's where you'll be spending the majority of your time so you want to treat it well. If you start off your trip with a messy car chances are it will start to drive you crazy pretty early on. If you know me you probably know that my car is pretty consistently the messiest part of my life, so this one took quite a while for me.
Make lists and use them
For those of you that aren't very detail oriented this probably sounds like a tedious and painful task but trust me, it helps. I made lists for everything starting from the beginning. I listed out places I wanted to go, then crossed things off and added to it. I made a list of chores to do ahead of time, things to buy, and most importantly a packing list. It may seem like writing something like "tennis shoes" or "toothbrush" down on a packing list is a waste of time but when you're trying to organize and pack for a long trip things can get lost in the mix and you'll definitely regret it if you forget something basic.
Figure out what is going to work best for you in terms of organization. I absolutely cannot stand living out of a suitcase, it drives me crazy having to dig through a pile to find something so I decided to just knock that whole idea. I organized my clothes using bins that I laid out in my trunk. I have a bin for shoes, dresses, bottoms, tops, etc. This way I don't have to continuously dig through one big suitcase and refold everything in it.
Plan out your music and snacks
Using your phone and messing with the radio constantly is dangerous, especially since you'll probably be driving on roads you aren't familiar with, so plan it all out. I asked a handful of my friends to create playlists for me so I have some variety while driving. Also, snacks! You're going to get hungry, and honestly probably just bored. I went to the store and bought a bunch of snacks that are on the healthier side (trail mix, almonds, pop chips) and put them all in a box for easy access in my front seat.
Most importantly - Go with an open mind
I'm heading out my door in less than an hour and I'm nervous, excited, anxious, and all the other things you might imagine. But what I'm trying to focus on the most is just being excited and open to the experiences that are going to come my way. Can't wait to share them all!