If you’ve always traveled as a part of a group, the thought of hitting the open road on your own may seem like a daunting prospect. Solo road trips offer a sense of freedom and adventure while giving you some peace and quiet, time for reflection, and even the possibility of self-discovery and personal growth.
If the experience of a solo road trip is to be restorative, you’ll need to do some careful planning and organization beforehand and decide not only where you want to go but what you want to get out of it too.
Read on for our top tips to help ensure your road trip is a restorative and stress-free ride.
Remember, you’re (literally) in the driving seat
Surely the biggest joy of any solo trip is that you get to be completely and utterly selfish! Plan your trip around the sorts of things you’d like to do or see. Maybe you’ve always wanted to hit the open roads and cruise through the islands of the Florida Keys, perhaps you want to take in the beauty of New England in the fall; or maybe you simply want to see that massive blue whale on Route 66- no judgment here!
With a solo road trip, there’s also the added joy of not having to adhere to a strict itinerary. You can arrive and leave on your own terms, as there are no flights to catch or timetables to adhere to. Do remember, however, that as exciting as hitting the road and seeing where the wind takes you sounds, you will need to do some planning. If you’re traveling during peak season, you’ll need to have an idea of where you want to stay and book some motels in advance.
Bag yourself a sweet ride
If you’re on a road trip, then you’ll probably be spending more time in your car than anywhere else, so it’s important to spend some time thinking about what you want to drive. You can, of course, choose to use your own car, but if you’re starting from your own front door and have to travel quite some distance before your road trip begins, the novelty of hitting the open road may wear off before you’ve even started!
A fly-and-drive is a great alternative. Simply hop on a plane and hire a car once you’re closer to the start point of your road trip. If you’re driving through any challenging terrain, you might want to change up your own car for some kind of crossover vehicle, such as an SUV.
Let’s face it, if the idea of your road trip is to get away from it all, leaving the car that gets you to your 9-5 every day on the drive is probably going to be a good idea. You might even want to treat yourself to something you’d never usually do. Music up and roof down in a sporty little soft top? Go on, then!
Obviously, the more impressive your wheels, the more you’ll pay, so make sure you look out for promo codes to get a sweet deal on your car rental! Whatever you do remember that a road trip is more about the journey than it is the destination so choose your mode of transport wisely.
So you’ve sourced the ultimate ride, now for the more boring (but highly essential) bit. Taking a road trip requires planning and preparation so if you’re going solo you need to get it right.
Maps: Most of us rely on a good GPS when we’re out and about. However, if you’re going somewhere a little more remote you run the risk of losing signal. Make sure you’ve downloaded any maps you’re likely to need or go old school and have paper copies of the areas you’re visiting.
Phone and charger: Always have an in-car or portable charger with you. Whilst a smartphone is a must for a solo trip, you might want to take an additional dumbphone with you too. Have all the necessary numbers programmed in and leave it in the car just in case there’s a problem with your cell.
Emergency stop-over kit: Be prepared for every eventuality such as breaking down in the middle of nowhere! Ensure you have blankets, a torch, plenty of water, and non-perishable snacks, but remember to bring a decent first-aid kit so you’re well-prepared in case of accidents.
Oh and don’t forget the sunglasses. Sunsets over the Keys are stunning but they’re not great for visibility when you’re driving!
Make your car your home
You’re going to be on the road for some time, so stay comfortable and pack those slacks! Stack up all those podcasts you’ve never gotten around to listening to, learn a language as you drive, or load up the audiobooks. A decent playlist is a must, which you could even curate to complement your journey. Is listening to the Eagles while driving through Arizona one massive cliché? Yes, it is. Will it make you feel great? Yes, it will!
Remember, this is all about you, there’s no one to tell you where to go, what to do, or even what to listen to on the radio. Enjoy every minute, and you might just drive back a whole new person!