One of the most challenging and rewarding experiences you can have is taking a solo road trip. It’s a time for reflection and introspection. It’s a time with no distractions and only the road ahead of you. Just put on an epic playlist and watch the terrain change as you head on to your next destination.
This past spring I took my first solo road trip through the southwest — Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
I had reservations (figuratively, not literally) and I was incredibly excited to see all the beauty that the southwest has to offer. I planned to drive 4-6 hours a day and very loosely made a list of places I wanted to see. That was pretty much it. I didn’t book any hotels or reserve campsites. I figured I would see how things went and make plans on the fly.
As it turned out, it was one of the best decisions I could have made. There is so much freedom in waking up, setting a destination and finding a place to camp or stay along the way.
So here’s what I learned that might help make your own solo road trip a success.
Here are my six tips to make your first (or next) solo road trip a success:
1. Drive early in the morning and know your limits with driving.
Driving is safe when you’re more alert, and if you plan for around 4 hours of driving per day it still leaves plenty of daylight to go hiking and explore. Remember that a road trip is about the journey; not the destination. Enjoy it.
2. Find and set up your lodging before dark, if possible.
It’s just common sense. You sleep better and more securely.
3. Be mindful of your gas tank.
I never went below half a tank, there were many roads where the nearest gas station was hundreds of miles away and I didn’t want to be stuck on the side of the road with an empty tank.
4. Keep plenty of snacks and water on hand.
Granola bars, oranges and water were my jam while driving to my next destination.
5. Keep in touch and let others know where you are on a daily basis.
It’s not only good practice, but others love to share in your adventure! Stay in touch by phone, text, email, Facebook, Instagram or heck, even carrier pigeon. For me, my iPhone kept me connected, but use whatever works for you.
6. Take time to soak it all in and take lots of pictures or journal your experience.
Enjoy each moment, but capture your memories. Looking back at my photos and journal entries let me take a virtual road trip whenever I need it.
What are your favorite road trip tips?