There’s a lot that you can learn from traveling. I’ve traveled with my best friend, strangers and even did solo travel. I wanted to share my experience driving cross country from Chicago to The Grand Canyon – except I can’t share that experience because we only made it half way – to Estes Park in Colorado. There were 4 of us and I knew half of us.
So are you ready for the winter road trip of your life? Here’s how to prepare (besides the obvious – bring sunscreen and lip balm and extra socks).
1. Bring Snacks
There’s a lot of variables on road trips. Being hangry shouldn’t be one of them. Pack some snacks on your winter road trip with friends. We got some donuts and some popcorn and chips as well as almonds and RX bars.
Sharing snacks on trips is basically bartering for playing your playlist. Don’t skimp on the snacks.
2. Be Flexible (on your destination)
I mean I told you. We planned to do a winter road trip from Chicago to the Grand Canyon and didn’t quite make it to Arizona. Our goal was so ambitious- The Grand Canyon and back in 5 days. We learned our limits driving through the night in Thanksgiving traffic. And our limits were watching the sunrise in the mountains at Estes Park and passing out.
3. You Need More Than One Driver
Being ambitious is great. Add it to your resume. But check yourself on road trips. Driving is not the same in every state. I’ll repeat – driving is not the same in every state. There is absolutely nothing in Nebraska which is probably why you’ll be pulled over. Colorado has a lot of poorly lit backroads where you’ll feel like going 10 mph for miles. Take turns driving. I’ve done it in the past where two people sleep and two people are on. Drivers usually need conversationalists especially when driving through the night. There’s only so much Thank U, Next you can play.
4. Bring a Pillow (or Two)
Road trips especially long ones should be comfortable. A pillow is your best friend. I was the only one who brought a pillow and we all rationed it out.
5. Car Chargers are Goals
Ever get in an airplane and there is no outlets to charge your phone? It’s the worst. The thing about winter road trips is that cold weather kills battery power. It’s 100 to 20 percent real quick. Keep the car chargers coming and the playlist strong.
6. Download Music
Reception is always questionable on the road and so are radio stations. Make sure to download your music on Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal before you hit the road.
7. Humor goes a long way
I don’t care how many snacks you bring, things will go wrong. People won’t bring the pillows or the playlist. You could hit traffic or even worse – a pothole.
Having a sense of humor while on the road with your friends is crucial.
8. At one point everyone is going to Google a flight home.
I wasn’t expecting this but it happens on long road trips with friends. You are all excited in the beginning and then it’s 10 hours later of open road and no civilization. Suddenly the thought of going back the same way you came sounds like a worst nightmare. Again, humor goes a long way. Keep the mood light and your seatbelt tight.
9. It’s a shared experience
We all have our reasons for going on road trips. The thing is some people want to stop and take pictures to up their Instagram game. Others simply want to get to the destination and other friends might want to take the scenic route. Going on a winter road trip is a shared experience – there’s a little give and a little take.
10. Enjoy the moment
Taking a road trip with friends is so amazing and doesn’t happen often. Make sure you take a moment to appreciate your friends and this experience.
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.