Road trips are the best – not only do they give you a chance to travel to a new place, but they offer you a unique opportunity to bond with your travelling companions while you’re doing so. Still, road trips can be as stressful as they are fun, which is why you should do a bit of research first. Being prepared is always a good idea, and if you want to have a truly fun and memorable road trip with your friends and family, here’s what you should do.

Car maintenance

Before you pack your bags and hit the road, it’s of the utmost importance that you make sure your vehicle is in good condition. This means that a reliable mechanic should check your car’s fluid levels (gas, water, oil), your spare tire (just because you have one doesn’t mean it’s in good condition), wipers, brakes, and seatbelts. Extra wiper fluid is always good to have on hand, and jumper cables are a must – hopefully, you won’t need them, but having them close by will give you a piece of mind. Have your car checked at least a week before your trip because this will give you enough time to fix any problem.

Make (loose) plans

Most people who decide to go on a road trip usually have a time limit, so they try to make plans in order to make the most of their trip. Knowing which city you’ll sleep in every night is always good, but making more detailed plans will put unnecessary limitations on your adventure. Allow yourself to wander around and discover something nice every day instead of making a strict plan before you go.

Being occupied

Even though the driver should be focused on the road, other people in the car can easily get bored, especially if you’re travelling with children. If you happen to have a reliable Pioneer car radio, you can play soothing music if the children are sleeping, or fun songs and nursery rhymes for them to sing along to. On the other hand, if you’re not travelling with children, a nice music compilation will set the mood and lift everyone’s spirits. You can even make a ‘road trip CD’ which you’ll listen to every day, so that set of songs will forever stay ‘road trip songs’ for you and your travelling companions.

Follow your heart (and eye)

Road trips offer you a unique opportunity to take a break any time you feel like it. This means you’ll be able to stop at a gas station and stretch your legs and your back, but it also means you can take a detour if there’s anything that catches your eye. If you see an interesting park, café, village, or a monument in the distance, don’t hesitate to visit it. You have a chance to do so now, and who knows when you’ll be able to do it again. Listen to your heart and to your travelling companions – if they want you to stop so they can see or explore something, do it. You never know what wonders you could discover.

Know when to call it a day

Not everyone is a morning person, but when road trips are concerned, we should all strive to be. When you watch the world wake up, you feel in tune with nature, and when you do so while you’re on the road, it warms your heart. On the other hand, not only is this charming but practical too – getting on the road early will allow you to beat the traffic and get a good start. This also means that you’ll settle down earlier than you otherwise would, and while night rides may sound exciting, they’re far riskier than people realise. According to the National Safety Council, driving at night is more dangerous than any other time because of fatigue and compromised night vision, so try to avoid driving after sunset.

Pick a speed

Even though driving fast might get you to your destination sooner, it also robs you of other things, namely your money. When you’re driving at high speed, accelerate and de-accelerate often, your car spends more fuel. This means that you’ll have to pour gas more often and you’ll end up spending more money than you initially thought you would. What is more, if you run out of gas, you’ll probably have to walk for miles in order to refuel. Not to mention that driving fast means you’ll be more likely to miss a nice place you and your travelling companions would otherwise like to stop and explore.

Road trips offer a great opportunity to get to know your travelling companions a bit better and experience a real adventure. They are very convenient and cost far less than plane tickets to an exotic destination. Even though being adventurous sometimes means not having a plan and ‘going with the flow’, if you take time to prepare before your trip, you’ll be more likely to have a good time.