July 12, 2021
Written by Adam Faber, Hydaway Outfitter Manager
As the school year comes to a close and the campus empties, many of you might be asking, what next? A year hindered by quarantines and hardships of COVID-19, maybe hitting the open road (in a safe way, of course) might be the highlight of your year. If you like exciting new experiences and traveling, then a road trip might be for you. The Hydaway Outdoor Center staff is always willing to lend a helping hand with your trip planning needs, whether it’s a short road trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway or cross country to the beaches of California.
One of the most important parts of planning a road trip is choosing your destination and the route you want to take. Think about your road-tripping style. Would you rather hop in a car and take the back roads with unplanned or planned pitstops, or do you prefer the detailed itinerary filled with guided tours and new people? Are you interested in hitting historical landmarks, touring California beaches, tasting popular bites in big cities, or are you looking to strap on your hiking shoes and walk through national parks? Everything is up to you, and that is the exciting part of road trips!
One of my favorite resources for planning road trips is the RoadTrippers app which allows you to set your endpoint and then provides points of interest along your route. It is full of great information to help you plan, regardless if it is your first time or fifth time!
Your vehicle is one of the most critical aspects of the road trip as you will be spending most of your time in it. Depending on how long your road trip will be, it is important to keep an eye on your car’s gas mileage. If you plan on sleeping and living out of your car for the trip duration, sacrificing gas mileage and taking an SUV, truck, or small crossover may be ideal. I know people who have done this and have found it a fun experience with a group of friends. If you prefer a queen-sized bed to yourself, picking hotels along your route and taking a smaller, more fuel-efficient car may be a better option. Before leaving on your adventure, be sure to bring your vehicle in for a tune-up to ensure you won’t run into any unwanted surprises down the road.
Having a budget in mind before you start planning out your road trip is essential to help keep you on track so you don’t break the bank. Road tripping gives you plenty of opportunities to customize details to cut costs. Are you looking to travel cheaply? Plan your route with shorter distances between stops, chose to dine at cheaper restaurants, and stay at local campgrounds instead of expensive hotels. Spending long hours on the open road can seem daunting, so bringing some snacks and drinks along can help lighten the mood and stay within budget. Suppose you plan to hit a couple of national parks with friends on your trip. In that case, I recommend looking into the America the Beautiful Pass that gives one vehicle admission into all National Parks in the country for a nominal cost compared to individual passes for each park.
When setting out on your road-tripping expedition, it is vital to have all the essentials to continue the fun and limit the stress. If you are traveling with a group of friends, it might be wiser to share a couple of larger suitcases than many smaller ones to save room for other supplies or exciting purchases along the way. At Hydaway Outdoor Center, we have a wide variety of outdoor equipment that students, faculty, and staff can rent for their trips. Feel free to check out one of our tents to stay in with friends along with some of our sleeping bags and pads. Our Outfitter also rents out cooking equipment such as Jetboils, camp stoves, and cooking pans if you are up for a culinary challenge of your own. Pre-packaged meals are a great option if you are looking to cook for yourself throughout your trip that taste and work great with our cooking gear. Check out Mountain House for some great meal options that we currently use on our Outdoor Adventure trips!
At the end of the day, going on a road trip is all about having fun and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Sometimes leaving some wiggle room in your itinerary for unexpected stops can lead to one of your most memorable experiences. It’s an exciting journey, so where do you want to go?