12 Things to Avoid on Your Next Road Trip

September 24, 2014

Things to avoid on a road trip.

  1. Bean burritos. If you can’t subsist without this staple food, just know that your vehicle is about to get vividly scented and you will likely curse the first cultivators of beans who grew them at the Himalayan foothills in 7000 BCE. But these inventive agriculturists do not deserve your scorn! Just say no.

  2. Car stench. Avoid this by purchasing Febreeze and applying it generously. Eventually you’re going to cave and eat the bean burrito we warned you about in number 1. You should at least be prepared to deal with the consequences.

  3. Ending up in a dirty gas station bathroom, only to look over and see a sad little cardboard tube with a tiny half-square of toilet paper left. We admit that this is a prime opportunity to plead to the person in the next stall and practice the whole “talking to new people in random places” thing we here at Roadtrip Nation champion so much. But we’d rather you do this with your pants up and dignity intact.

  4. Weird uneven tan lines from sitting next to a half-open car window. Sun screen is your friend. Your annoying, greasy friend that requires constant attention, yes. But it’s better than looking like you’re wearing a flesh-colored T-shirt when you’re naked.

  5. Static on the radio. Or even worse, flipping the stations to find that Phil Collins is the only thing that’s coming in. Prepare for your trip by making an awesome mix of your favorite tunes.

  6. Expensive gas stations. Gas in small towns tends to be super expensive. A little forward thinking and plotting can save you a ton of $$$$–and keep you well-supplied with ghastly processed snacks that are totally acceptable/necessary on the road.

  7. Tourist traps. The World’s Second Biggest Ball of Twine is only a 40-mile dirt road away in the middle of an abandoned field? Skip it and get recommendations from locals wherever possible- you’ll find hidden gems that the guidebooks (and freeway signs) may miss.

  8. Falling behind the hunger curve! Don’t be that hangry person that nobody wants to be around. Say sorry when you inevitably say something mean because your stomach was trying to survive off a Clif bar eaten 6 hours ago.

  9. Having navigation tools that require batteries. Buy a real, physical map (and learn how to navigate with said map). Prepare yourself for dead batteries because they are unavoidable! Plus, it’s fun to pretend like you are a 16th century explorer and prove to yourself that you can, indeed, survive without checking Facebook every 5 minutes.

  10. Eating at chains. There are sooo many awesomely weird diners in the middle of nowhere that’ll make you feel like you’re in a Tarantino movie. Avoid all places you’ve seen at your local mall and try the hole-in-the-wall joint that appears to breed Tetanus. We promise it’s (usually) good!

  11. Dehydration. Drink water, even if it means visiting those dodgy gas station bathrooms mentioned above.

  12. A packed itinerary. Leave time for the surprises that will inevitably happen. Don’t be so focused on your “plan” that you forget to live in the moment. You never know when you’ll stumble on a glistening river that’s beckoning for you to jump in or an empty parking lot that demands you dance to Beyonce (hey, there’s no one around for 30 miles–you know you want to.)

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