Wherein Big D. shares 6 pieces of motivational advice to help you make memories truly worth tagging #winning.
If you’re looking for an article full of travel hacks or save-money tips, this isn’t the post for you. There are literally hundreds of those floating around the internet, and they all recycle basically the same 30 or so points. You can find those on your own.
What I’m here to tell you is how to road trip like a CHAMP. This is about a state of mind. It is about the triumph of the human spirit. I will teach you how to achieve the ultimate mind-body connection, channeling awesomeness through force of will to materialize summer memories of pure #winning.
Are you ready?
Then let’s get to it…
- Just do it already!
Hold on, don’t stop reading. I’m going to explain why this is seriously the best advice you could ever get, and I’m not even making you wait till the end of the post to read it.
Here’s the secret about road trips: They’re all about the friendships.
A great destination is nice, but what you’re going to remember most is the people you went with. What you plan to do doesn’t matter nearly as much as getting some friends together to do it in the first place. I’ll be honest, some of my best memories come from the simple fact of being in a new place with awesome people. That is the only formula you need. Random encounters and awesome stories will follow.
Now you could plan some cross-country Americana adventure, or take that trip to New York City or New Orleans, or wherever that you always wanted where you can do all the things. My favorite trips are smaller, cheaper, and easier to pull off.
What kinds of things am I talking about? If you didn’t already know, summer is the prime season for concerts, festivals, conventions, you name it. Find out what is going on within a 5-6 hour dive or less that sounds moderately relevant to your interests and gather up some like-minded friends to go check it out. Even if the event turns out to be lame, you’ll still have an awesome time.
- Use your network:
Whether you stay in town over the summer or go back home, your network of friends creates a great opportunity for road trips. Use it!
I always lived off campus, and so during the summers I stayed put. This led to some pretty sweet situations in itself from being able to serve as an anchor point to host people coming into town to visit friends and hang, but that’s the subject of another post.
When my friends went back home for the summer, I saw it as an opportunity because now I had a network that spread literally across the entire country. Multiple benefits ensue.
First, you have a free place to stay (sometimes).
Second, you’re building friendships and relationships. It communicates to someone that they are awesome when you come see them on a road trip (as long as you’re not an asshole when you get there – i.e., just treating them like a hotel!) and incorporate them in your plans. All of a sudden, you and your friends get a roadtrip and they get a bunch of friends coming into town to visit. It’s a win-win, again, provided you communicate ahead and everyone is respectful.
- Be part of a network:
I did this as an anchor near school. Anyone who was coming back through town over the summer, I made sure they knew they were welcome to crash at my place.
When an event was going on nearby that I knew one of my out-of-town friends would be into, I shot them a message and suggested they come on down. This way, I directed the roadtrip to come to me, and hopped on when they passed through.
You can see these strategies work both ways.
Are you the person who leaves each summer? Entice your friends to come pay you a visit, or initiate the road trip by visiting them and bringing them on to the final destination after a couple of fun stops along the way.
Okay, enough about the importance of getting started. What about making sure you have a successful trip and a great experience?
- Take responsibility.
Once you have a plan and people on board, this is probably the most important.
Nothing causes friction on a trip like bickering over little stuff, so if the trip is your idea just take charge so the little things aren’t even a thing. Depending on how far you’re going, you can offer to drive and no one will have to worry about who takes turns. Yes, it can suck to drive the whole way sometimes, but everyone will appreciate it. Figure out beforehand how much everyone is going to kick in for gas or other expenses. Lay out all the expenses so everyone knows what they’re getting into and whether or not the trip is practical.
They’ll thank you for it. No one likes to get knee-deep into something and then realize they need to turn around.
- It’s ok to discriminate, but even better to be charitable
What do I mean by “it’s ok to discriminate”?
If you know someone isn’t capable of paying their way into a trip, you have to tell them “no.” You’re not being an asshole. This goes along with taking responsibility. It creates so much negative energy on a trip when someone if either mooching off of everyone else or dragging down the group because they can’t do X, Y, or Z. So save yourself the headache.
Conversely, it can be really awesome for a group to come together and chip in for a friend who otherwise couldn’t swing it.
This is always something that should be decided on in advance, and you know who those people are that have legit reasons for not being able to afford a trip. This is another reason why I like smaller, shorter trips. They make this a lot easier, and nothing bonds a group of friends like coming together for someone and making an awesome experience.
- Don’t be afraid to go off-script.
Lastly, life is an adventure. You might as well live it like one. You’re going to see this advice a lot around here, so get used to reading it.
Every now and then you’ll hit a dud. The destination isn’t what you thought it would be, but that’s no reason for the trip to blow up. Change plans. Most circles have default activities they like to do together, so find out how to do your thing in the new setting.
You can also ask locals what else is going on, or what you should check out. Sometimes it even pays to throw out your plans to just explore. Clearly, your options depend on where you have chosen to go, but if you approach things with a sense of adventure you can never go too wrong.
There you have it. Big D’s 6 tips for how to get road tripping like a champ. I hope you are inspired to make something awesome happen for you and your friends this summer.
-Big D, out.