Ernest Hemingway once wrote: “Life is a highway; I wanna ride it all night long.” Or was that Rascal Flatts in Cars? Either way, I’m sure Hemingway would have also embraced that most American tradition of exploration and discovery: the road trip.
From the Oregon Trail to SpaceX, Americans have a storied history of packing their bags, loading their vehicles with snacks, grabbing a friend, and hitting the road. Why not join this tradition and embark on your own road trip this summer?
Ideas to Get You Started
- Re-create a road trip from your favorite book. Do you have a Harley and 17 days to spare? Why not do the Minnesota-to-California ride from Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Got a VW van and a friend who loves baseball? Why not drive from Iowa City to Boston to re-create W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe (later turned into the movie Field of Dreams)?
- Make a playlist. No road trip is complete without a soundtrack accompanying it. Look up artists from the towns you are driving through to add some local flavor to the drive. The best part is that you can download music for free with your library card on Freegal, which makes finding songs for your trip a cinch!
- Pack snacks. Your vehicle won’t be the only thing that needs fuel. Ideally, you want snacks that don’t need refrigeration (sorry, chocolate!), aren’t overly messy, and that you can eat while keeping at least one hand on the wheel. The best snacks are the ones you make at home and pack in a zip-close bag. Think “puppy chow” and homemade trail mix. For some ideas, check out some of our food magazines and download one now through Zinio.
- Bring a friend, visit a friend. Road tripping with a friend is a great chance to bond, and having somebody to talk to can power you through the longer legs of a trip. But you can also find driving motivation by planning stops along the way at friends’ homes. Not only do you get to catch up with old buddies, you usually get to sleep somewhere more comfortable than your car.
- Listen to an audiobook. Conversation with your travel buddy run dry? Did you have a fight at hour 34 of the trip and aren’t speaking to each other? Does your travel buddy have one of the same books on his or her reading list that you do? Are you traveling alone? All perfect reasons to fire up that 11-hour audiobook to help get you to that baseball field in a cornfield that’s four states away.