Read some tips for making your college road trips a success.
The college grind has gotten to be too much, and you need to get away. The problem is most vacation spots are expensive, and you don’t have the money for an expensive plane ticket.
So what’s the solution?
Hit the road!
Road trips are a fun way to get some time away from campus, explore a new location, and share some quality time with your friends. Here are some ideas for where to go and what to do.
The Upside of Road Trips
Gas is expensive nowadays, but driving is still much more economical than flying. Assuming someone has a car, with a few people chipping in the cost of gas isn’t overwhelming.
Road trips are also a great way to spend some time with your friends. Sometimes the best part of a vacation is the journey, and if you’re traveling with people you like, you can make the drive just as fun as the destination. Some of the best bonding among college friends takes place on road trips.
Let’s face it: Road trips are awesome because you can leave for your destination any time – day or night. No schedules. No airports.
Downsides of Road Trips
Driving does limit your potential destinations. If you go to school at NYU, a road trip to the Grand Canyon during spring break isn’t particularly likely.
Also, sitting in the car for long periods of time can be a drag. You’ll get to know each other pretty well.
Popular College Road Trip Destinations
Now that you’ve decided to go, check out some popular road trip destinations:
- Las Vegas
Vegas isn’t exactly news for students who attend UNLV. But if you go to Arizona State, UCLA, or any other school in the Southwest, Sin City is close enough to drive to, but far enough to feel that you’re taking a trip somewhere. Gambling is obviously a major attraction, but there’s plenty of other stuff going on in Las Vegas. Between club, bar, hotel lounges and sports bars, there are plenty of places to hang out.
For Southwestern students looking for a winter destination, Colorado’s a great option. Colorado offers some of the best ski resorts in the country, with instruction available for beginners and killer double-black diamonds for pros. And if you attend the University of Colorado, hey, you’re pretty close.
When it comes time for vacations, going to school in the Midwest can be kind of a bummer. Luckily, Chicago is there for students at Western Michigan University, the University of Wisconsin, or any other school in the region. Chicago is known for its world-class theaters, galleries and concert venues (particularly when it comes to jazz and the blues).
- California coast
The beautiful coastline is a perfect destination for the warmer months. (Oh, wait, every month is a warm month in California.) Studying at Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, or even further up north at University of Washington? Head to California on your spring or summer break to catch some rays and hit the waves.
- New York
You’d have a hard time not finding lots to do in New York City. Take some time off from classes at Tufts, Williams, or any New England school to plan a college road trip to the Big Apple. One of the best things about New York City is that it’s a great trip location year-round. In the colder months, snag some student rush tickets to a Broadway show or catch a concert. In the summer, if you can stand the heat, check out some of the outdoor festivals.
- New Orleans
New Orleans is one of the most beautiful and often-visited cities in the US, and it’s easy to see why. With a vibrant and diverse culture, New Orleans is worth exploring for its unique history. If music is your scene, make sure you catch a concert or go to a music bar at the birthplace of jazz; if you’re into architecture, visit some of the gorgeous buildings in the French Quarter. Of course, if you just want to party, there are plenty of opportunities. (Need we mention Mardi Gras?)
Tips on Surviving a Road Trip With Your Friends
- Make sure your car is ready. You don’t want your road trip to end early because your car breaks down halfway there. Give your vehicle a checkup before you leave, and make sure it’s up for the journey.
- Bring distractions, especially on longer trips. Around the fourth or fifth hour on the road, even the most social people will run out of things to talk about.
- Take stops along the way. Cars can get cramped and stuffy, and it’s nice to stop and stretch every once in a while.
- Get a motel if you need to. You probably want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, but if it’s 4 am and everyone is falling asleep, it’s better to stop for the night than risk an accident. You can find some pretty cheap motels along the highway, especially if everyone pitches in for the cost.
- Always be safe, both on the road and at your vacation spot.