Road trip! An iconic metaphor for an extended bit of travel and fun with friends that involves wild adventures, lots of drinking and endless pursuit of the opposite sex.
Movies and folklore abound with the stories of the great road trip from Easy Rider to Thelma and Louise, Bonny and Clyde to Huckleberry Finn. We love the romance of the road and the self defining sense of adventure that takes us away from the normalcy of our daily lives.
Some like the comfort of a mobile house!
The first road trips ever could possibly be Marco Polo’s travels followed by numerous adventurers on the high seas. We tend to me more conservative nowadays, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman breaking that mould of course travelling the long way around the world on a motorcycle, with several days or a few weeks in a campervan or a converted ambulance.
So, for those of you with a yearning to pack a bag, grab some friends and hit the road here are a few essential ingredients to make the most of your road trip.
1 Partners in Crime
Choose your friends wisely, or not! That great pal you have been hanging out with every Saturday night may have been fine for a beer or two and some laughs. What about being cooped up 24/7 in a van for a month and a half with a semi psychotic pizza junkie with bad hygiene? You get the picture. Or the nice girl that you have been working with all winter that turns out to be a nymphomaniac vegan bookworm allergic to the sun and sand! Best proposition is to have a spare travel buddy ready to parachute in when you dump the body.
2 Your Ride
Transportation is important. A status road trip can be made more affordable by using a driveway company for example in which you deliver cars all over the USA, cruising the highways in a new BMW while using it as a bedroom and kitchen can be fun! Fans of the great summer road trip in Europe that extends from UK to Germany via Spain and Portugal favour converted panel vans, combies, or old ambulances – but be careful, many may need running repairs before they even leave England.
All combies are 4 wheel drives….aren’t they?
Drivers, you can never have enough of them or you can have too many of them. Backseat drivers should be gaffer taped (duck taped for you foreigners) where possible or given enough bad vodka the night before that they can take no further part in the proceedings. If you must drive at night make sure that the pilot isn’t some Tom Cruise wannabe who insists his tinted Oakley’s are “perfect for night vision….man”.
4 Keeping it Lite
Destinations are good; having one often helps with planning the trip but quite often turns into a negative as festival lovers fight with city slickers on the best places to go. My suggestion on this is to lie! Take over the control of all the maps and GPS devices and agree to every destination that crops up. Most, if not all, of your travel mates will be so inebriated that they couldn’t tell Krakow from a cracker or Pamplona from La Tomatina. Just show them photos from your, or a friends, previous trip and tell them what a great time you all had last night.
5 Tools of Destruction
Packing can be a nightmare, shorts for the beach, gloves for the mountains, tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, IPods, laptops, mobile phones, deodorant (scratch that), condoms, the list is endless. I have found that by the end of the trip most of the gear is either lost or ruined so my best tip here is to dump the lot in a cupboard before you leave and not bother with anything (except the deodorant). Pick up stuff along the way; I know most people must do this, otherwise how can I explain my towel and drying tee shirts always getting nicked.
What ever your choice, expect the unexpected!
6 The Nature of the Beast
Adventure is just bad planning according to Arctic explore Roald Amundsen, how true this is, but also how boring. Where is the fun in planning a trip properly? Arriving at an eastern European border and finding that one of your party (usually the South African – sorry mate) is one visa short of an adventure produces great hilarity as he is led away for a strip search at three in the morning. Running out of cash halfway through the trip produces “The Apprentice” type scenes where a van full of stoners attempt to “do crafts”; busk, juggle with fire – badly (why is it always fire, are they closet pyromaniacs?), hang out and beg with a dog or find other inventive ways to pay for food, petrol and repairs.
7 Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Don’t talk about it, do it! We go through life planning things we never intend to do, we sit and daydream about climbing Everest, trekking though a jungle or watching the sunset in Fiji. Those great experiences are out there just waiting for you to take them on, a little courage and a bit of cash and the dreams become reality. Take a sabbatical, quit your job, dump your loser boyfriend and do whatever it takes to become part of the Travel Generation!