5 Tips to Prepare for a Solo Road Trip
22 Apr 2022
Image by Leah Kelley from Pexels
Heading out on the road is a great way to explore vast swathes of incredible geography. You get to take in beautiful landscapes and connect with different cultures. Most people will be familiar with the idea of getting a group together to share in the adventures. But you can also have an enriching experience by taking to the open road on your own.
There are certainly significant benefits to being a solo traveller. You get to be more flexible in your activities and make meaningful connections with locals. You can do deep dives into areas that fascinate you the most. Not to mention you get to blast your tunes the entire way and stock up on your favourite snacks. Nevertheless, solo road trips are challenging. It’s worth putting preparation in place so you can get the most out of your journey.
We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you should prepare for your solo road trip.
1. Identify Your Priorities
One of the main reasons to travel solo is the freedom it allows you. But improvising your itinerary can lead to chaos. This doesn’t mean you need to schedule your trip to death. However, it can be useful to establish a solid framework based on your priorities.
Before you take the trip, consider what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for local cultural enrichment? Do you want to make friends with people from different backgrounds? Is your trip solely about getting the most fun out of your time away?
Formalize your trip priorities in a list. This visual document is a good tool for you to build your trip around. It can help narrow your search for amazing activities to do while you’re alone. You can even use it to plan your route by prioritizing experiences you want to hit along the way.
2. Establish Safety Measures
Safety has to be your primary concern when travelling alone. During road trips, there are likely to be times you’re driving isolated routes between areas of civilization. As such, you need to prepare measures that mitigate disaster along the way.
This has to include giving your vehicle a full and thorough tune-up shortly before you leave. Make sure your oil is changed and your fluids are topped up. Inspect your tire tread for excessive wear. You can use a quarter to check whether the tread is still at a safe depth. Ensure your lights are fully functional. Make sure you have a full roadside emergency kit, too, including a spare tire, high-visibility vest, and battery quick-charger.
It’s also vital to take care of your well-being. Make sure you have plenty of food and warm clothing in case you get stuck in your car overnight. Establish emergency contacts. Share your itinerary with friends and family and arrange to check in with them at certain intervals. Identify clinics and hospitals in the areas you’re visiting that are in-network with your health insurance provider.
3. Optimize for Night Driving
A long-distance trip means you’re likely to spend long periods on the road. There may even be times that to meet your schedule you’ll have to drive during the nighttime. This can be daunting, but good night driving optimization can put you in a solid position.
If you’re not confident with night driving, take some time to practice before leaving for your trip. Part of your preparation should include identifying the best ways to improve your visibility in the dark. Night driving glasses designed to reduce glare and filter blue light may be an effective solution for you. However, you might find it more appropriate to use alternative methods like keeping your windshield clean and dimming your dashboard lights. Test out what works best for you.
4. Reduce Your Stress
If you’re not used to travelling on your own, the concept might seem overwhelming. While you’re likely to gain from the experience, it can be stressful. This not only puts a toll on your mental health, but it can also make for riskier driving.
As such, it’s important to plan methods of stress management. Practice breathing techniques to reduce panic and keep a clear head. Plot points along your journey you can stop to meditate for a while. Identifying opportunities for visiting destinations with areas of quiet natural beauty occasionally means you get to decompress in calm surroundings.
Research has also revealed how listening to music while driving can reduce the stress impact on the heart. Those involved with the study specified that low-arousal classical music was especially effective. So, prepare an appropriate playlist to better manage stressful periods of driving.
5. Consider the Environment
We are all responsible for keeping our planet clean and protected. A solo road trip can already be a more sustainable approach to travel. There aren’t several of you generating waste and using resources, after all. However, it’s still important you take mindful steps to reduce your environmental impact.
When you’re planning your trip, be sure to choose the most efficient route. This not only reduces your gas consumption but also minimizes the emissions you’re releasing into the atmosphere. If you’re hiring a vehicle for your trip, see if you can opt for an electric or hybrid car. Rather than driving around a city you’re visiting, see if there are park-and-ride programs with clean public transportation.
Similarly, plan your resource use with green methods in mind. Prepare as much food as possible at home so you’re not relying on fast food or restaurants all the time. Pack snacks with minimal and recyclable packaging. Keep bags in your car that you can fill with your recyclable and compostable waste. Dispose of these upon your return home or in appropriate facilities at your destinations.
Taking a road trip on your own is exciting, but you can benefit from preparation. Identify priorities that can direct your trip. Keeping safe is essential, so assess your vehicle and optimize your night driving methods. Adopt mechanisms to deal with stress and plan to make your trip sustainable. With a little extra preparation, your solo road trip can be a memorable adventure.
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