9 tips to master the art of road tripping

Road trips are a mythical thing. Some consider them a rite of passage on the journey of life, but though the adventure of travelling by car or motorcycle is extolled to no end, the less glamorous details are often left out. These big adventures can take wrong turns—both literally and figuratively—with alarming speed.

With a little experience, any road trip can be fantastic, but if you’re unsure of where to start we assembled these nine tips from last week’s Question of the Week on the Hagerty Forums.

  • Bring snacks. This is no time to start a new diet.
  • Bring a friend—or don’t. Make sure your road-tripping cohort matches your adventure style. Sometimes, a solo road trip is not a bad thing.
  • Have a camera for planned (and spur-of-the-moments) photos. If properly prepared, and accompanied by a co-driver, you may capture memories to laugh (or wince) over for many years to come. If you’re adventuring solo, pictures can preserve memories of beautiful routes or a trusty motoring steed for the future. 
  • Make it an event. Guarantee a good time by joining a car club tour or a Hagerty Touring Series event. It’ll take the stress out of planning, and you’ll likely make new friends.
  • Carry a paper map. We reflexively use our cell phone’s navigation app and can easily forget about the paper option. Even if you don’t want to go off the grid, a paper map is a nice backup for when you wander into spotty or non-existent cell signal coverage.
  • Pre-pack fuel additives or any other special fluids your car needs. Your adventure may take you to some out-of-the-way places with fewer options than your favorite parts store (or stores). If your machine requires special oil, fuel additives, or other items, be sure to have them stored in the trunk or under the seats.
  • Have a plan—or don’t. There seem to be two schools of thought regarding road trips: Have a plan, down to the exact mile; or have nothing more than a car and a preferred cardinal direction. Decide how daring you are, and tailor your trip accordingly.
  • Clean your car. Yes, we know it will get dirty immediately. However, starting off by cleaning the car both inside and out will help you find any flaws or potential snags prior to leaving and, in addition, make you more comfortable and organized on the road.
  • Start small. If you are unsure about all this, try a day trip just an hour or two away from your home base. It’s still a road trip—and an enjoyable one at that.

These tips will start you down the path of becoming a road trip master, but the details of your dream road trip are entirely up to you. From the route and the vehicle to the food stops and the seasonal timing, the journey depends on your goals and the challenges you set for yourself. In the end, it’s all about hopping in your car (or truck or bike) and getting out there.

…Which brings us to this week’s Question of the Week. We want to know what car you think is still a bargain. Log in and sound off, we will compile the top answers into next week’s Answer of the Week.

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