After road tripping recently, I thought I might share what I learned, and help you with planning a 10-day road trip with 10 easy steps (with some suggestions in between):
1. Create a google document outlining your trip – places to see, eat and sleep; include budget.
2. Book hotels or camping spots depending on your budget and preference for the ground vs. hotel rooms:
a. Contact friends, if you know anyone in that area well enough to stay with.
b. Consider Airbnb as an alternative to hotels and hostels; book if you find what you need/want.
c. Require some kind of email confirmation, ensuring you and your hotel/campsite have the same information.
3. Pack essentials, less is more depending on your car size and the amount of people traveling with you:
a. Buy road snacks to avoid roadside fast food – I recommend dried mangoes from Trader Joes, fruit, hummus and veggies and something salty like pretzels. Think picnic foods, not too perishable and small bites.
b. Include sunscreen and hats if you are going to sunnier climates. As well as hand sanitizer, just in case you are without soap.
c. Bring enough underwear, socks and toiletries to avoid purchasing these things along the way.
d. Grab a book, comic book and/or a magazine for downtime.
4. Get on the road. Don’t follow your plan to a tee. Spontaneity encouraged.
5. Roll down the windows from time to time, airing out the car. It will get smelly and stuffy.
6. Get sleep! Start your days early and end them at a decent time as well. I cannot stress sleep enough. This will help you be less exhausted from your chosen daily activities and prevent sickness.
7. Explore viewpoints and hikes along the way. Exercise is key to keeping those bodily toxins from hanging out in your legs. Longterm discomfort doesn’t have to be associated with road trips. This reminds me. Take foods that encourage expelling waste matter (which is the nicest way of saying, to help you poop).
8. If you are going to a large city for a few days, find out if they have transportation passes that cover several days and types of transportation for one price. This may also be relevant to places with ferries and trains. This can save you money, time and energy if you plan on walking around and not exhausting yourself too much:
a. For example, in San Francisco, you can get a 3-day Muni Passport for $21, which allows you to ride their buses, trollies, and cable cars all day as many times as you see fit.
9. Everyplace is a destination, so have fun!
10. Upon returning home, spend some time reviewing (yelp, urbanspoon, etc.) the places you saw, ate at and stayed. Send thank you notes to those that hosted you.
Comment if you have additional suggestions for adventures on the road!