By Ashton Pike
The spirit of adventure is taking over millennials. It is triggering a desire to travel and soak up the beauty and culture that the world has to offer. With the arrival of this sensational trend, the meaning of the term “vacation” has extended to encompass not just a trip to the nearest beach, but also the endless opportunities that a car, a group of friends and the willingness to take a long road trip can offer you. If you’ve been looking for a reason to get out of Athens, out of the state or even out of the country, then your spirit of adventure is begging you to plan your next road trip. Here is the perfect to-do list to make your planning that much easier!
1) Choose Your Friends (Wisely)
The idea has been planted for a road trip like no other, so now it’s time to find the right friends who will soak up every minute just as much as you will. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to want to be in a car for hours on end with someone who gets car sick easily, a complainer, or, the worst, a music-hater. So choose friends that are adventure seekers like yourself and are ready for a long and exciting road trip! Another important factor in this part of the planning process is to choose an amount of people that is one less than the number of people the car can hold. For example, if the car holds 5, then 4 people would be just the right amount so that no one feels too cramped and there’s plenty of room for luggage.
2) NO CASH, NO GAS
The next step in the planning process is to come up with a budget that all members of the road trip are comfortable with and able to accommodate financially. Once you’ve all come to an agreeable amount, it’s time to start choosing the places you can go!
3) OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
Friends? (Check!) Car? (Check!) Budget? (Check!) Now it’s time to choose a destination that stays inside your budget, but outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s a certain place, state, or national park, do some research and find that one place that you and your friends have always wanted to see but have never gotten the chance. If you’re at a loss, no worries! Here are some great destinations: the Grand Canyon, Hollywood, the St. Louis Arch, Times Square, Seattle, Chicago, or Niagara Falls. The possibilities are endless!
4) MAP IT OUT
This is the lengthiest part of the process, but websites like roadtrippers.com can make it much faster and easier! Simply choose your starting location, the date you intend to leave, the final destination and the date you intend to arrive. The website then puts together a road trip with a variety of numerous stops along the way. “Mapping out the route was the most fun portion of the planning process," says Devin Gooden, a senior business management major from Atlanta. "We found new places that we wouldn’t have known about without doing some research. Now we have a whole list of awesome places to stop at along the way!”
5) MAKE A LIST
With the hardest part of the planning process complete, now all that’s left to do is create the important lists for your big adventure! You’ll want to make a separate list for each of the following key matters: packing, “just in case," emergency contacts and hotel information. The “Just in Case” list is highly important and should contain all of the items you might need just in case of an accident or emergency. Many auto shops offer car kits that include first aid and tools for the car like jumper cables. An emergency contact list should be kept inside your car where someone would be able to find it easily in case something happens to anyone on the trip. A list of information on the hotels or homes you’ll be staying at throughout the trip should be given to a parent of each person. “The most important part of the planning process is to think of every scenario, good or bad, that could happen, and to be prepared with a plan ready," says Taylor Stalling, a senior advertising major from Kennesaw. Remember that all of these are just precautionary measures in case of emergencies. It’s unlikely that anything will happen, but it is always better to be safe than sorry!
6) START THE COUNTDOWN
The planning is finally over after a lot of hard work and decision-making, and now you can start the countdown! Up until the day comes to leave, make a combined playlist for the car with your friends to keep everyone hyped and excited to venture out of the Classic City!
A lengthy road trip may be off-putting at first because there is a lot of planning, preparing and risk involved. Overall, there’s no better way to create invaluable memories and have new experiences with your friends than a grand adventure across the country. “I decided to do this grand road trip because traveling has always been a part of my life," says Mary McPartlan, a junior marketing major from Kennesaw. "I like exploring what the world has to offer instead of being restricted to what’s conveniently around me. I’ve always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, so I decided instead of flying straight there and back, why not drive there and see everything in between?” By thinking about all of the things that could go wrong and all the time it’s going to take, you’re preventing yourself from having one of the greatest experiences of your life. Take the risk! Buy a map, gather some friends and start planning for your next (and greatest) adventure.