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Solo Road Trip Essentials

I love self-drive road trips. It's the ultimate in budget and casual travel and there's something about driving along roads I've never driven before and seeing new scenery that works for me. I like the greater spontaneity that allows many side trips and scenic routes. I discover intriguing places I had no idea existed and schedules are much more flexible. I have enjoyed many great road trips with family and friends but a solo road trip is a different experience. There's no need to discuss or compromise but there's also no one to navigate and watch for important road signs. You'll still be thrilled at the beautiful sights, but you will be thrilled alone. The radio plays your choice in music, books, or podcasts, but there's no conversations. You choose how long you want to drive, but there's no one to share the driving (or fuel costs). You choose when you need to eat, but alone, it's very tempting to use drive-throughs too often. It's a great time to reflect upon personal goals and plans in solitude but there's no one to distract you from your internal ponderings.

Along the way, I've picked up a few strategies that make a solo road trip easier and more enjoyable whether you choose to camp, use lodgings, or a combination. Prepare Your Vehicle

Before heading out, it's important to get your vehicle checked and serviced. Make sure your mechanic knows that you will be road-tripping. Prepare a repair and maintenance kit that includes extra belts and hoses. Into the same kit, place window washing fluid (interior and windshield), a can of motor oil, cleaning supplies, rags, and a tool kit. Make sure your insurance is adequate. Consider signing up for a roadside assistance/towing package. If your phone needs propping up for navigation, install a device. Is your driver's seat comfortable? You might want to add an additional cushion.

The Route

Part of the joy of a road trip is being able to respond spontaneously. Having everything planned prevents spontaneity. Road trips need a direction otherwise you'll be sitting at an intersection holding up traffic as you decide whether to turn left or right. You need to have a plan but it should allow for flexibility. For some, that may mean having a plan for the week. For others, a shorter timeline works. I usually know where I'm sleeping each night, but that decision isn't made very far in advance, often the same day or the day before. If I know I want to linger in a