Who doesn’t like going on a road trip, and with their favorite people nonetheless. Even though this sounds quite optimistic right off the bat, traveling with your friends is much more challenging than it seems, especially so in the pre-traveling process of planning the road trip itself. Planning for the perfect road trip with your friends requires a lot of communication, compromising, and delegating the tasks so everyone feels heard and included. Here are some key pointers on how to plan for a road trip with your friends.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget is the prerequisite for any kind of road trip planning and many will argue that it’s probably the most important part of the whole preparation process. Firstly, you should know how much everyone’s news contributes to the overall budget of the whole road trip. The budget will affect your trip in a few ways. It will determine the dining and accommodations, distance, the length of your trip, the vehicle you will use, etc. The list can go on to infinity. This is why it’s crucial to have a round table meeting with your friends to figure out the specifics.
Another big part of setting a budget is figuring out how to split the travel expenses with your friends. Firstly, you should come up with the maximum expenditure for each person, and only then work out the budget for the whole group. When any kind of a road trip is being planned, the bills could be split up with the help of mobile apps (think Splitwise). This app will help you both to split up the bills and to keep track of the expenses which you can then settle later on. Setting a budget will ultimately decide the rest of the planning so be sure it’s tight.
Figure out Transportation
Another very important thing you need to think about if you want to plan a perfect road trip with your friends is the transportation means. More specifically, think of the type of transportation that you will take. Will it be someone’s car, a bus, a camper or can you think of other means that you may wish to take. Another very important factor to think about is how much gas you will end up using, and how to split the cost. If you decide to take a car, you should ensure that you have enough space for luggage and everyone coming (obviously).
Also, make sure your vehicle has the right accessories for a comfortable ride. No matter how spacious the vehicle is, staying in a car for hours and hours can be uncomfortable. That’s why it’s best to equip your vehicle with as many items or gadgets for convenience and comfort as possible.
While you’re on the topic of that, it’s best to know at this step of planning how many people are coming. Taking a bus is another popular option, but it comes with other strangers attached. Some other transportation options like a pop-up camper are also popular for road tripping as they offer privacy, ample space, and even a small kitchen. Pop-up campers are quite convenient as you won’t have to worry much about available space, the food, and whether you’ll have someone interrupt your journey with your friends. However, you should be wary of all the aspects that go into proper pop-up camper selection, and reading thorough guides and reviews is best advised.
Figure out a Route
One of the surest ways to get frustrated during the planning process is to let many people be involved in the process. Once you have the slightest idea of where your trip will begin and where it will end, only one person from the group should be assigned to map out the rest of the big stops on your road trip. Of course, this still leaves room for suggestions from other parties involved in the road trip. Setting up the right person to take care of the map of the road trip is equally important as planning the route itself.
Once the expectations have been set, it should be relatively easy for the person in charge of planning the route, let’s call them the navigator, to figure out all the spots that hit everyone’s wish list. It’s best advised to have them map out a couple of different routes, including the number of nights in each, and then to have the rest vote. The route with the most votes wins the game. Planning a route was traditionally done by tracing a marker pen on a map (literally) and having the navigator guide the driver. Nowadays all of this can simply be done with Google Maps.
Remember to Compromise
Traveling with your friends is all about compromise, but for compromise to occur, basic communication needs to be present. Just because one person is a natural planner, doesn’t mean that they can or should make all the decisions for the entire group. These decisions on where to go, when to travel, and how long to be gone need to be a part of a larger discussion so all the parties involved can voice their limits. This takes open and honest communication which is why it might be a good idea to choose the right people beforehand.
Each person should come up with their preferences and listen to other points of view on the road trip. Even though some people might have great ideas like going to Hawaii, if everyone else has a few days free, this simply won’t happen. Pre-trip planning can be stressful but it’s always advised to have more stressful planning than to have a stressful road trip. This is why planning is so important, and it’s equally as important to find people with whom this can be a possibility. If someone can’t fit in in the larger picture of the road trip, they should be reconsidered.
Many aspects need to be considered if a road trip with friends is on the table. These include patience, communication, and compromise above all. In addition to this, a big part is figuring out the route and an even bigger one is figuring out the best vehicle. Most people opt for campers because they can fit all of their friends, luggage and because they have a small built-in kitchen. Be sure to consult all of your friends on the matter, but if you’re all after an authentic road trip, this might be the best option.