My Tips to Plan a Road Trip
Hello Folks. Say Hi to my today’s Guest Blogger Shalini Baisiwala from Shalzmojo.
I had the pleasure of meeting her some time back and she comes across as a warm, confident and intelligent woman with inner strength. An interior designer by profession and a blogger by passion. Shalini blogs about her experiences of travel, food, books, mindfulness and sustainable living. She is a serious tea & wine guzzler who loves to chase butterflies in her free time.
Please join me in welcoming Shalini to my space here and I hope you enjoy her informative and interesting post.
Over to you, Shalini…
I have hardly ever met a person who doesn’t enjoy traveling. Almost everyone I know has a travel bucket list with dedicated saving goals and time lines. I quite enjoy traveling and my favorite mode of traveling is a road trip. I seem to be unofficially the most likely to be asked to accompany peeps for a road trip in my inner circle. Everyone tells me they love my traveling style which they gauge from my pictures and posts. It seems I am able to have the most perfect trips with some awesome experiences; some of which they wouldn’t even dream of trying out.
I have been asked by several people as to what’s my secret to a perfectly planned road trip. How do I get those picture postcard perfect locations? What website do I use for research? Etc, etc.
Well I like to think that what makes my trips seem so perfect is the fact that I enjoy doing them. In fact I have some very simple mantras for my travels and am happy to share them with you.
1. Look forward to the journey and not reaching the destination
Most people I know get in the car and then are in a race to reach the end point of the journey. Their entire drive is concentrated on how many kilometers can they clock in how much time. I never undertake a road trip with this thought in mind. There have been several times when my married friend’s husband has insisted on sending the driver with us on our road trip to Amritsar from Jammu (Can you see me rolling my eyes?) I have always refused since One, I don’t want to whisper with my friends and Two, I don’t want to fly on the highway. The entire point of a road trip for me is that I can stop wherever the heart desires or the need to overtakes us. I have plenty of pictures of sarson ke khet and sunflower fields, etc precisely because I could stop as soon as I saw them.
2. Travel with peeps you wish to spend time with
A long road travel and you are stuck in the car with people whose wavelength does not match yours, can be very tricky. I mean here I am taking in the sights and stopping at every road side potter I see, while someone else is fuming at the delay this is causing us in reaching the destination. Ensure everyone is on the same page about why they are traveling together for this trip. Nothing makes a trip dull than someone wishing they were anywhere but in the car at that moment.
3. More than one able bodied driver in the party
Its always wiser and practical to make sure that there are other people in the car who can drive and are comfortable doing so on the highway. When I go on my road trips, the driving time is divided between all keen to drive and this ways one can truly enjoy the journey and the conversation. Its also safer as in case of an emergency or if the one driving is feeling unwell.
4. Food is an essential part of the journey
I am one of those who feels hungry the moment I get into a car, train or plane. For my travels I ensure there are plenty of snacks and food stops. One of my favorite food stops is a McDonalds and I always research is there is one of the way. Besides this, there is plenty of food packed in such a way that its convenient to eat it while driving.
5. Recharge all the important batteries
I make it a point to charge all the gadgets I plan to carry with me for the trip like phone, ipod, camera, etc. Plus there is a car multi charger which ensures nothing dies en route. Nothing dampens the spirit more than when you are frustrated trying to locate the way and the phone dies on you, leaving you sans the GPS.
6. Music, music and more music
When it comes to music and driving – need I say more! I carry a couple of pen drives full of music as well as playlists in my phone and i-pod. I have everything from classics, oldies, retro to pop, rock and fusion including multi lingual music with me when I travel. You never know which mood strikes you and its better to be prepared than sorry!
7. Car Safety
I ensure all tyres are freshly filled with air and the spare is well and functioning. Same with important stuff like battery water, wiper water, fuel, etc – everything is checked and topped up for the journey. Also include a first aid kit and all important car papers in a handy bag which is kept easily accessible. Plus I try to figure out the fuel stations on the route if I can as one never knows when a breakdown might occur.
8. For the directionally challenged
Besides the GPS on the phone, it’s a wise move to have a printed copy of the route map. I do plot and save the route on at least two people’s phones before the journey as a safe guard for any eventuality. I remember a trip to see a desert fair near Bikaner and as soon we got off the highway, the GPS signal disappeared. In fact the phones lost signal too and we drove blind till we saw someone who could point us in the right direction.
9. Flexible mindset
Keeping your options open is the best attitude to have on a road trip for the unexpected can and will always happen. It could be a traffic jam, a diversion due to road works, an accident or a breakdown of one’s car. I was on a trip to Leh and just two hours before, there was a traffic jam due to blasting work being done to clear a rock fall. The driver told us it could take at least a couple of hours before we will get moving. Undaunted, I just got off the car and walked down the river of blue flowing by the road and its one of the most peaceful walks I have had in a long time.
This post is linked with the #GPDec2020 hosted by Shalzmojo every December where a cross posting collaboration is worked out between several bloggers for the entire month. Check out my guest post 6 Changes in My Bookish Life on her blog here.