How to Let A Vehicle Be Your Road Trip Planner
Andrew Maness July 28, 2015

low view of a road in northern california

A lot of people don’t take road trips because they say they don’t have the right car to do it with. I’ve been told that by a number of my friends over the years and I always make sure to respond with the most exaggerated eye roll possible. Any car can be the right car for a road trip, you just have to be willing let the car dictate the nature of the journey. Of course, the car has to be properly sorted mechanically in the first place. I’m not advocating for people to take ratty rides out on the open road, but with a bit of careful preparation, even vehicles in rough condition can do the job.

Though it may seem obvious, I think people forget that vehicles are meant to be driven and take you on a journey. The degree of comfort will vary, but in the end all vehicles are capable of a road trip, even a Smart Car. The next time you want to get away, whether it’s for just the night or for a month, think about what your vehicle is built for. Is it a stout German sedan built for eating up miles on the Autobahn? A wagon that can comfortably sleep two? Maybe it’s an SUV that has for some reason never seen dirt. These vehicles all have qualities that make them uniquely capable of dictating where you might go. Instead of wondering if you have the right vehicle for your next getaway, question if your getaway is right for your vehicle. You’ve gone out and selected this mode of transportation for a reason, right? Well, I think the best way to get the most out of it is to consider what the car wants to do, not necessarily what you want to do with the car.

The key to making this work is to know your vehicle as well as you can. What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? How was the vehicle advertised? If you can answer all these questions and answer them honestly, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes your ride tick. You can easily apply that knowledge to the trip planning process by looking for routes that align with these qualities. If you don’t have a particular destination, or even a region in mind, that’s when I think this works the best. Think about why you chose this vehicle in the first place. Other than the fact that you needed a way to impress your friends and haul loads of crap back from Costco, what was it about your vehicle that made you choose it? Answer that question truthfully and you might surprise yourself. You might even realize that you’re driving the wrong vehicle. It sucks, but that happens and trust me: if you’re in a vehicle that’s a bad fit for you, it will impact other areas of your life. You should be in sync with your wheels. You should be able to to trust them. You should let your vehicle plan your next road trip.

A trail road in Vermont

Andrew Maness Head Writer

Native New Englander currently residing in Los Angeles. I like to go fast and tell stories, sometimes from behind a camera, sometimes in front of one.