So, you and some friends are going to take a vacation together and, to make it the best trip ever, you’ve decided to make it a road trip. As fun as it sounds (and should be),  without good discussion and planning, your amazing vacation can turn into a nightmare.

Worse, you can lose some friends if things go south in a hurry (get it?) or you have too many arguments. How do you take a road trip with friends? You want to have a blast with your BFFs out there whether you’re going for a weekend or a week long cross-country  adventure, to create memories and talk about it for years to come.

Because of that, there are many things to think and talk about first so your trip goes as smoothly as possible, and with a minimum amount of conflict, too. Here’s some information for you to help ensure you have nothing but fun the whole time you’re out.

Coming up with a Plan! Yes, we said it. No one wants to be the group stickler for rules and details, but  while it’s great to be carefree and go with the flow, this can often lead to trouble, ruined expectations, and short tempers.

You need to be prepared for anything. After you all decide who’s going and when, you have some planning to do. We have put together a short list of questions to help you with the planning phase and aid you with the decision making process. Even a brief thought regarding any or all of these questions, can avoid feelings getting hurt, group fighting, or not making it to your end destination. After all, its about the lifelong memories and experiences, and hopefully just the good ones!! Once you have your destination in mind, ask yourself the below questions.

– Why do you want to travel?
– Whose vehicle(s) are you taking?
– What is your individual or group budget?
– What do you want to see and do while you’re gone?
– How long do you plan to travel each day?
– Where are you staying each night?
– Your food stops, and how often?
– Your gas and or rest stops, and how often?
– Who’s driving, who isn’t, and how long driving shifts will be?

You should also determine how much space your vehicle(s) has for luggage. Chances are you’ll have to be careful about how much you pack, as will everyone else. You’ll need to carry gear for bad weather, and you need room for anything else you want to bring, like sporting equipment, or beach chairs and a cooler.

Here’s the thing: The more prepared you are, the smoother things will likely go. Being prepared doesn’t have to mean a strict minute by minute plan. You should have some flexibility to make unexpected stops at cool places you didn’t know existed, and you also want the ability to handle any mishaps along the way.

 We have put together a short list of tips and tricks for road-tripping to help you get on your way.

Planning Apps

We no longer live in the Stone Age, so we don’t plan our travel with paper maps and atlases anymore. We generally use mapping or travel apps these days. Nevertheless, you should bring a current atlas with you anyway, just in case your phone or GPS device goes sideways.

If you have someone in your crew who loves mapping, you can pretty much leave things like route planning to them. Just make sure you all communicate about what you want.

However, there are apps you can use like Roadtrippers that might make things much easier and give you ideas for what to see and do. You just enter your start and endpoints, and it will tell you all the cool things to see along the way.

From there, you can determine your route and build some flexibility into it.

How to Split Costs and Budget

Deciding how to budget and split costs for the trip is one of the harder things you’ll have to do. To complicate things, chances are each of you will have drastically different amounts available for a trip that will make splitting everything evenly both challenging and impossible.

Get a ballpark figure for how much the entire trip will cost. Then, decide where you’re spending each night and find ways to cut those costs down if necessary, like camping or staying in budget motels.

Then you can work out how to budget and split costs for gas, food, and incidentals.

What You Should Bring

You’ll all most likely need the following things with you in the car:

Chargers and USB hubs
Portable charging batteries
Snacks and Drinks
Garbage bags
Pillows and blankets
Lots of playlists on everyone’s mobile devices

Also, make sure you have a properly inflated spare tire, a small pump, and your roadside assistance number with you. Should you wind up stuck on the side of I-70 because you’re boiling transmission fluid out your overflow valve 50 miles after you changed a flat tire, you’ll be able to get yourself out of that mess and to safety.

What about a pre-trip safety and mechanical inspection, along with necessary fluid and filter changes? That’s essential to a good road trip, but keep in mind sometimes things still go wrong even after your car gets the all-clear from a mechanic.

Finally, as we mentioned above, everyone ought to have some cash on hand for tolls. If you’re the one who’s driving and everyone’s asleep, you don’t want to have to wake someone up for cash to pay for a toll.

How to Pack Light

Except for underwear, you should pack as little as possible. A few ways to do that include:

Plan on using hotel toiletries instead of carrying your own.
Know where you can wash your clothes if necessary, and go small wherever you can. This might mean taking a small pillow, instead of that large King Size one your used to, or packing a reusable water bottle for filling up at rest stops, rather then taking a case of water.

Besides saving space in the car, you also want space for souvenirs and gifts for friends and family.

Fun Things to Do in the Car

Surfing your phone gets old after a while, and you’ll be in and out of cell service anyway. You need fun things to do with each other while you’re in the car.

Here are some fun things you can do in the car:

Play the license plate game, among others, using books like, Ultimate Sticker Puzzles
Play improv games:
“Would You Rather”
“Never Have I Ever” with snacks
Badly explain a film plot, or badly describe your job.

For more ideas, consider buying The Best Ever Backseat Games: Fun games to play while you are traveling. You can also play Cards Against Humanity, although this game might be better left for after you’ve stopped for the night.

Things like this help ensure you’ll have fun even when you’re driving down the straightest, most boring stretch of road on the entire planet.

Time to Hit the Road
Going on a road trip with friends can be one of the best experiences of your life, or it can be an absolute nightmare. If you put together a solid but flexible plan, a fair way to divvy up various costs, and think of things to do in the car before you leave, you could very well come back closer to your friends than ever before.

**(First time users can save $5 subscribing to RoadTrippers + here, use code BTR5QTP)**

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