1. Pick a destination
– Think BIG. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. In just a few years (2 months for some), you will have graduated and have a real job without the flexibility of doing something like this. Fall Break 2012, I took a road trip with friends to Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Virginia Beach in a week. Go all out and find somewhere to make all your friends jealous.
– They make or break your trip. Go with friends you get along with. They have to be flexible and able to be endured for long periods of time in a car with ZERO sleep. Preferably people you trust to drive your car in the middle of the night…
– It’s all about efficiency. Driving is always the cheapest way to go especially when you’re splitting gas four ways. Don’t be afraid to drive through the night. Have the back seat sleep while the front seat stays awake. Then switch. Plus, there’s nothing a case of Red Bull can’t solve. Most importantly, don’t make any pit stops at all, except when the gas light comes on.
4. Bring a cooler
– Mr. Igloo. That’s the name I have for my cooler. He comes on all my trips. Sandwiches are hands down the cheapest method of eating. They’re easy because you only need meat, cheese, and bread, or maybe just PB&J. This eliminates the need to stop for food and alleviates the financial burden of eating fast food everywhere.
– Nothing brings friends together like singing “Life is a Highway” to start off a road trip. Make a playlist with a wide variety and find some music on your iPod that you didn’t realize was there. Whether it’s a Taylor Swift break-up song or the ever classy Justin Timberlake, make sure you have a trip DJ. The DJ is solely in charge of making sure the music is seemless, including smooth transitions from George Straight to T-Pain in only three songs.
– What? Never heard of it! In the event that you do choose to sleep eventually, find a free place to stay. Whether it’s a friend’s apartment at an all women’s school in Boston or an old boss that now lives in Philadelphia’s Chinatown (yes, both have happened), you can always find somewhere to stay for a night. If not, then just stay up all night in NYC (yes, this also happened). At the very least, use Hotwire to find a really cheap hotel. A Labor Day trip, with friends to Brewers, Cubs and Royals games was a great experience with $50 hotels.
7. Do free things
– No such thing as a free lunch. So lunch will cost you about $1 for the PB&J you packed, but there are 147 free things to do in any city. Go sightseeing, visit museums and walk. Walk everywhere. It saves so much money and it even helps you earn aerobic points.
8. Plan one big day
– Splurge. Have one day where you go all out. Go skiing, to a professional sports game, a Broadway show or find your favorite band on tour. Do something that is really memorable and cool enough to make up for a week in a car eating turkey sandwiches with no mayonnaise because it spoils. Don’t forget to eat the local food favorites.
9. Do something EPIC
-#MySpringBreakIsBetterThanYours. I don’t know if this is going to be a hash tag or not, but whatever you do, find a trip that is so cool, even the Manifesto can’t help but mention you in their next issue. There is nothing as satisfying as having your picture or quote over a urinal in EMR because of how awesome your break was.
– Pics or it didn’t happen. Whether it’s Facebook or Snapchat use social media to inform all of your friends and followers of how much fun you’re having. The more jealous they are, the more it confirms how great a trip you planned.
– Traffic cones and Cracker Barrel. Make a tradition. No matter how silly or crazy, find something fun to do every time you road trip. When I roll into Tulsa from roughing it in the mountains of Colorado with my roommate this spring break, I’ll be at Cracker Barrel with the “lost” traffic cone in my trunk per my traditions – see you there!