Being a traveler can sometimes feel like being a wanderer. You discover new places. You roam a country, a town or a road and wonder where you will end up. That is what a no-destination road trip is all about – feeling like a nomad!
Last summer, my family and I went on a no-destination road trip. We didn’t have a plan, except for a stop at my daughter’s home in Kansas, or an end point. It was an adventure that we would like to do again. I hope my story will entice you to give it a try.
It may sound counter-intuitive with the idea of spontaneity, but you do need some type of plan for your road trip:
Budgeting is important.
Decide how much money you want to spend, and keep track of it as you go. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but at least add up your big expenses such as hotels and meals so there are no surprises like going over your credit card balance or emptying your bank account.
Decide on the type of journey you want.
If you like nature, take a scenic route instead of highways. If you want to see the unusual, look out for strange attractions on the way. Or, just mix it up and take adventure to a new level.
Make the choice to go with the flow.
Since there are no definite plans, expect change at almost every turn. This is where the true escapade comes in.
On our no-destination road trip, I learned the best ways to enjoy this type of trip, including:
Bring along some type of map. If you like the old paper maps, go for it. Or use apps such as Google Maps or MapQuest. This will
guide you when you want to make a stop to see something special or eat a meal at a restaurant you read about. They are also a big help when you need a rest stop quickly.
Pack some snacks. This is a common tip for road trips, but when you are on the road for a long time this is imperative. Think apples, trail mix and water. To carry on with the adventure theme, buy some foods that are unique to an area you have visited. Surprise your fellow travelers with candy apples or shoo-fly pie.
Make some choices on your own. Throw away the travel books, and avoid reviews from travel sites and apps. See it for yourself and make up your own mind. You’ll really be a travel trend setter.
Don’t wait until you’re tired to find a hotel. This will help you avoid getting cranky, which can lead to arguments. Start thinking about a place to stay in advance.
Think about your travel bucket list. Look out for the types of places you’ve only dreamed of visiting. Then go for it when you see it or something similar.
Take something along to avoid boredom. Let’s be honest, some of the time on the road is nothing close to exciting. There are few road signs and just straight road ahead. Music to sing along to, video games to play with your travel buddies and good old travel games will create fun and laughter.
Take a lot of photos. Save those memories of where you’ve been. Include family/friends as well as the scenery and attractions. Take a lot of spontaneous photos to recreate your type of no destination road trip.
However you take your no-destination road trip, go with an open mind. Take in the scenery, every bit of it – the open country, the crowded cities, the feel good towns. Start conversations with strangers. Sit in the grass at a rest area. Laugh when you lose your way. Avoid chain restaurants and eat local. Drive a few hours and stop if something catches your eye. Stay awhile.