How to Plan a Road Trip – Advice From the Roadtripping Experts at Thousand Hills
If you’re looking for how to plan a road trip, you’ve come to the right place. Branson, Missouri is one of the leading driving vacation destinations in the country and because of that we have a lot of experience helping Branson groups plan & execute their driving trips. Over the years we’ve gathered a lot of road trip planning helpful tips.
One of the most exciting things to do with a group of classmates, co-workers or just friends, is to go on a road trip. Now most people have been on a road trip but maybe they weren’t the ones planning it. But everyone should have an idea of how to plan a road trip.
Figure out where you are going is always the hardest thing to do. But if you know who might be going with you, have a group meeting and decide where you all might be interested in. Also how long will the trip be? Some destinations are better suited for a day trip, some a weekend, while others are far enough away that you’ll need to plan out a whole week’s worth of time.
Once you know where to go, how do you get there? To plan a road trip, decide how many vehicles and what kind of vehicles necessary. The best thing to do if at all possible is to keep it limited to one vehicle–this means less gas money and less hassle. Keep in mind though that you may have to rent a vehicle to get one large enough or reliable enough and this should be in the budget.
Accommodations and Food & Snacks. When you decide how to plan a road trip, this question will be a common one. Will you stay with friends, family, acquaintances, hotel, rent a condo, etc? Have options open because all this factors into the budget making process. While on your road trip you also have to ensure your travel mates have snacks. Will you be going out to eat or staying in and cooking? This depends on where you plan on staying so these two steps often go hand in hand.
Make a budget. You have to make several decisions which include the set cost for specific amounts of people. Be sure to factor in Transportation, accommodation, food, snacks and miscellaneous. Those are the only things to put on this budget. Everything else is for each traveler to figure out personally, or amongst themselves as a group. You’ve set the framework of their road trip planning and they can build on that. This covers the biggest costs in the road trip–but we’re not done yet. As they say, the devil’s in the details so we’ll have to stay on top of that.
Get a definite count on who is going. Make sure you have a definite amount of people and have them look over the budget to make sure they can afford everything. No need to figure how to plan a road trip if you don’t know how many people are going to be coming–it would be nearly impossible!
Build an itinerary with the people who are definitely going. You might want to get ideas from friends or acquaintances that are from the destination area, or maybe family and friends living there. Things to do, places to go and so forth should be brought up. Make the list of all events going on and let each choose which they would like to go to. Research on the internet for activities you might do but don’t be afraid to leave free time–flexibility is good!
Bus tolls, train tolls, highway tolls and parking costs. Get information on getting around the place you are going to. This will help you in getting the second and most important budget together. This is one step that is often overlooked and can quickly eat up any of the spare money that could be saved or spent on more enjoyable parts of the trip.
Make a second budget, outlining the cost for each person to pay up. This now should include Transportation, accommodation, food, snacks, miscellaneous and the cost of the events which each can go to. Be sure to have two separate columns for totals, the first should have total of what everything costs per person, if the person sticks to the itinerary and goes to every event in that. The second should have the total each has to pay up before the trip begins minus the money for going into events. Unless of course everyone goes to all the same event and a group rate could be given, so you would pay in bulk instead of individually.
Make sure to inform everyone that extra cash should be taken for personal purchases of items, gifts and souvenirs, etc. It seems like common sense but if you take the time to do this when you plan a road trip it will make for a smoother trip for all involved-sometimes the simplest things can be overlooked.
Print and leave. Figure out what time you are leaving and when you will be returning. Print out the budget and itinerary for each traveler and make sure they know when the ‘up-front’ money is due, what time is departure, what time is return and any other useful information. Print out maps for everyone, so you have more eyes looking where you are going, lessen chance of getting lost.
Enjoy the trip!
So that’s how you plan a road trip for maximum efficiency & minimum confusion. This way everyone is on the same page, everyone knows what to expect and most importantly everyone can focus on just having a great road trip! If you’re one of the many Branson groups road tripping to our area, look us up!
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