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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.
My friends and I are planning a road trip this summer. We’re hoping to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and take in the coast for a while, then explore Washington State and move on into Canada after that. Cool, right? The thing is, it somehow fell to me to plan this whole trip. I’m really not not an organized guy, so I’m a little worried we’re going to run out of gas or show up at the border without valid passports or something. How should I go about planning out this trip?
Your trip sounds like a lot of fun! You’re wise, though, to begin planning it now. Studies show that travel makes us less stressed–but studies also show that travel itself can be stressful during the planning phase. So you can expect to take care of some stressful planning in the near-term, but you should look forward to your trip on the whole!
You’re smart to think of your passports early, too. You’ll need a passport to cross the Canadian border, a restriction that has been in place since the days following 9/11 (technically, you can use your birth certificate and other documentation–but a passport is easiest!). Thanks to new government websites and increased help online, renewing your passport has never been easier–but it still takes some time! And if any of your friends doesn’t yet have a passport at all, they’ll need to apply for one, and that process can take a couple of months.
Next, of course, you’ll need to chart out your trip. Since it’s a road trip, you’ll want to figure out where you’ll be staying based on how far you’ll be driving each day. You could start by determining how long you want to drive each day (don’t forget to take plenty of time out of the day for sightseeing, meals, and breaks from driving), or you could begin with the length of the trip (in days and miles) and work backwards from there.
While it’s sometimes possible to get last-minute lodging at motels and hotels along the road, it’s safer to make reservations based on your expected schedule. You can always cancel them later. Hotels and motels aren’t your only option, of course: as the experts at RV owners resource WheelArea point out, an RV is a great option for a road trip vacation. RV rentals are available. You would spend more in gas money, but you might be able to save on lodging by relying on RV parks instead of hotels. And these days, gas isn’t too pricey–which may be why RV sales are up 15% this year!
Finally, make sure that everyone has packed wisely. Your trip will take you way up the coast, and some of the areas you’re visiting can get cool at night–even during the summer! Pack extra clothes, and bring along some other essentials, too: a first aid kit and extra food are always a good idea, and a road trip is safer when you bring along road flares and other emergency equipment to use if your vehicle has trouble along the way.
Good luck, and have fun!
“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous, and absolutely liberating.” — Aaron Lauritsen