Sometimes a quick low cost weekend getaway is as close as the car in the driveway.
Figure Out How Far To Go
Fill up the gas tank to full and note the mileage on the car’s odometer. Drive until the fuel gauge reads at the halfway point and note the odometer reading again. This is how far a half-tank of gas will take the car, so multiply times two for a full tank mileage reading.
Next, grab a map (or go online to a mapping website) and take a look if there’s any place that looks interesting to explore within that many miles of home.
Also, at this point, decide if this is a destination road trip or an exploration road trip.
What’s the Difference Between a Destination Trip and an Exploration Trip?
For a destination trip, it’s all about exploring another city, so one will probably want to choose the fastest way to get there, via the interstates.
For an exploration trip, it’s all about the journey, so most of the driving will be on non-interstate highways, traveling through many small towns along the way.
Decide on an Itinerary for the Road Trip
For a destination trip, do a web search with the name of the city and the words “visitor’s bureau” and that should bring up the website for that city’s tourist information. This provides a wealth of information from things to do to places to stay.
For an exploration trip, use that half-tank mileage reading and go that far out from the home town starting point. Now do a circle of that distance around the home town. Is there anything on the map that looks interesting? A state park? Some small towns? Plot an itinerary of smaller highways that will pass by these points of interest, but stay within the total mileage of one tank of gas.
The whole idea of a trip like this is to explore new places, so one can even combine the two types of road trips and take the back roads to a destination city. There is no right or wrong way to do a trip like this – only that one stays within the confines of how far a tank full of gas will take the car.
The Final Decision
At this point the only major decision to make is how much time to allot to the trip. A one-tank trip can be as short as a full day if started early enough in the morning, or as long as several days if one finds a lot worth seeing.
If taking longer than one day, make sure to book accommodations somewhere since that last thing one needs after a long day of exploration is to find no room at the inn.
Check the Car
The final step is to give the car a once over before getting on the road. Make sure the fluid levels are topped and the tires look good. Get an oil change if it’s getting close to that time. Have a spare tire and a jack in the trunk, and a flashlight in the glove box. Signing up for a motorist service like AAA is also a good idea, just in case one needs emergency towing.
Enjoy the Getaway
That’s really all there is to it, except for packing. For more savings, fill a cooler with some ice and a variety of beverages and snacks for the road. For more fun and even more savings, grab some friends to come along.
Now, get to planning!