Five states, 10 national parks, tons of car singalongs, and a lot of takeaways from the experience that I’m ready to give out. I could probably write a list of tips longer than a CVS receipt, but for time’s sake, I’ll give you five.
1. If you’re going with a travel buddy, have “The Talk”
I’m not talking about the kind of awkward talk you might have had with your parents as a preteen. I mean the travel talk. Set aside some time to go over your preferred way of communication. Talk about what could potentially get you stressed while traveling, and the best way your travel buddy can respond. Express pet peeves, potential triggers, etc.
Not only is it helpful, but it keeps you mindful and makes for a better companion and experience. It may also make you understand why the week prior, you got a mildly furious death glare for eating a bag of peanut butter pretzels. Apparently hearing someone chew can be someone’s biggest pet peeve, and they won’t choose to let you know until you ask them.
2. Budget and round up
Between eating out, spontaneous detours or activities, or staying at nicer hotels than you planned, you can’t be 100% accurate on what you’ll be spending. Therefore, I suggest budgeting beforehand, and rounding up. You think you’ll spend $300 on food during your trip? Round that shit up to $450. That’s not to say you can now blindly buy a gourmet, gold encrusted, four course meal at a 5-star restaurant every other day. Intend to spend $300, but have that extra cushion to keep you at ease when changes come.
3. Get THE RIGHT gear, and no matter when or where you go, bring a bathing suit.
It’s not about getting the items you want. It’s about getting the appropriate gear. Unbeknownst to me, I brought a summer sleeping bag on a trip with temperatures that would drop lower than my self-esteem when trying to pitch a tent. It wasn’t until I complained I was cold, and my friend felt my tracing-paper-thin sleeping bag, that I realized how ignorant I was in regards to anything wilderness related. Just because you have what you want, doesn’t mean you’ve got what you need. Also, even if you can’t foresee a single reason you’d need a bathing suit, bring it anyway. Trust me.
4. Have backup food with you
Have some food in your bag just incase. Protein bars are your friends. You never know what will be around, or if you’ll stay somewhere longer than expected. The last thing any human wants to deal with is someone else’s hangry ass. Do yourself and your neighbors a favor. Whether its a bag of nuts, or a bar, so help me god, take it with you.
5. Be open to plans B through Z
Be open to spontaneity. I find that the less that is booked and set in stone during a trip, the more you are able to be open to all sorts of new ideas and opportunities. You meet strangers who rave about a place you haven’t heard of, and because you’re schedule is flexible, you can now experience a part of the world you never would have been able to otherwise. Avoid getting too set on plan A. Let life take you on the journey.
So, ta da! There you have it, five musts. Needless to say, these are only some tips that can help you down the road(trip). Tell me some of your musts in the comments below!