Windows down, music playing, your hand doing that flying thing into the breeze – road trips are an epic way to travel. By driving through a destination, rather than flying in and out, you get a better sense of what it’s all about. Road trips are also less restrictive, full of unplanned pit stops and fun side-adventures. What’s in this town, down this road, around this corner? By driving through, you can find out.
That said, the best road trips are those that are based on some sort of plan, no matter how light or flexible. And these days there are a wealth of tools that can help to ensure your road trip is exactly as epic as you hope it will be.
Here are 6 of the very best.
Where should you go on your road trip? Endless inspiration can be found on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, which highlight the most amazing destinations on the planet. Just search for the sort of trip you had in mind – desert, coast, mountains, rivers, forest, surf, snow – and scroll through the wonders on offer. If you’re a campervan owner, these sites can also serve up bucketloads of design inspiration for your vehicle.
2. Roadtrippers: Plan your route
Now that you’re swimming in inspiration, it’s time to plan your route, and the Roadtrippers app offers a super handy way to do it. Simply plug in your starting point and your destination, and this app will deliver a fully customizable map that allows you to create the ultimate road tripping route. Choose a selection of landmarks and attractions you want to check out, and let Roadtrippers spit out a fully formed itinerary, complete with how far you’ll travel, how long it’ll take, and how much gas you’ll use!
Sure, there’s something authentic about staying at a motel, but if we’re honest with ourselves we’ll admit that roadside accommodation isn’t known for its quality. Rather than rolling the dice, it might be wiser to shop on Airbnb for a cute, cozy and comfortable place to rest your weary head. Alternatively you could do a hotel search on Expedia, although you should note that these platforms may not have the best rate, even when they say they do. Call the accommodation direct to see if they offer a better deal.
4. The Dyrt: Get to know your destination
Would you prefer a night under the stars to one in a hotel room? Whether you’re a seasoned camper or van lifer, camping spots offer a natural and super cost-effective way to travel cross-country. The Dyrt is an app that offers all the information you could ever need on local campgrounds. It shows you where you can camp for free in the local area, offers a trip planner, delivers discounts on paid spots, and can even be used offline!
5. Recreation.gov: Get permits, explore activities
What you can’t find on The Dyrt – which isn’t much – you’ll find at Recreation.gov, the government’s guide to camping, cabins, RVs, permits, passes and more. Here you can make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to access the areas you want to, and can explore nature-based activities in the local area.
6. Travel blogs: Get first-hand advice
Your final job before you leave is to get the inside word from those who have done it before. Travel blogs are a rich resource that can offer amazing insight into the best things to pack, places to visit, shortcuts to take, restaurants to eat at, and activities to do. Browse a few blogs and find some hidden gems!
If you ask us, road trips are made even more epic when you’re rolling cross-country in your own camper van. If you’re ready to become a road trippin’ van lifer, our team at Drifter is ready to help!