With the summer months finally here, the itch to travel is starting to set in for many. Whether you head for the West Coast, take a trip down South or simply travel to a different part of the state, there are some important things you should keep in mind to make your journey go off without a hitch.

First, resist the temptation to over pack. While you may think you are preparing for any situation you may encounter while on the road, you could just be making the trek more uncomfortable for you and your passengers. For shorter trips, having a crammed vehicle may not be that big of a deal, but for the longer journeys, comfort is key. Now, if you insist on bringing everything and anything you may need with you, there is another solution that could help you out. A few years ago, I took a trip with some of my friends from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania. Since we had access to a minivan, we decided to create more space we would remove the middle seats. There were still enough seats for everyone and we were able to pack more coolers, luggage and souvenirs we picked up along the way. I know, I know, not everyone has easy access to a minivan or something similar. But renting a vehicle could be beneficial if you are willing to trade a little bit of extra money for some extra space.

Second, make a plan and stick to it. In my opinion, the biggest mistake you can Road trip mapmake when taking a trip is to just “wing it”. While making things up as you go works for some people, not having a plan can create more stress and lead to overspending. Sure, there can be stops along the way that you didn’t originally plan, but having the framework pre-planned will cut down on extra expenditures that will drain you bank account. Also, having your journey carefully planned out will allow you to adequately save money leading up to your departure. Setting aside money from each paycheck, no matter the amount, will only help in easing your tension during what should be a memorable experience. This ideology can also help in your day-to-day life, whether it be saving up for a house, car or even college.

The next piece of advice ties together with making a plan; find the deals. Especially when talking about a long road trip, you will need to find places to stay, excursions to take, and places to eat. In terms of finding places to stay, use all of the resources you have at your disposal. This means taking advantage of family and friends who have houses or apartments in the vicinity of the cities you will be traveling through. Along with providing you cost savings by not having to pay for hotels, staying with friends and family will (for the most part) add to excitement and experience of your trip. We all lead busy lives, so any chance we can get to spend extra time with the people we care about should be taken advantage of at every opportunity. In the event you don’t have the luxury of knowing anybody in the area you are traveling, there are many tools you can use to cut down on costs. We live in an amazing technological age where with the click on a button, we can see hundreds of hotel prices compared on one page so that you can find the best deal for the for exactly what kind of accommodations suit your needs. The same can be said for day trips you may want to take while on the road. Sites or apps like groupon.com can help find package deals that allow you to find memorable experiences that will not break the bank.

In my personal experience, I cannot overstate how important my last tip is. Road trip passengersYou need to put together an awesome playlist. I know this may sound silly, but there is nothing better than having a car full of your best friends or family and jamming to your favorite genre of music on full blast with the windows down. Along with having many embarrassing Snapchats of our average-at-best singing skills to look back on, music, in most cases, is soothing. While driving for some is also soothing, in my particular case, driving can lead to a lot of stress and yes, sometimes some choice words for the out-of-state driver who just cut me off in traffic. Music is always a great escape from the headaches that come with travel, so having your favorite country, rock n’ roll, hip-hop, reggae or any genre in between blaring through the AUX cord will only help the journey run as stress-free as possible.

Drive safe out there this summer and enjoy all of the wonders that this great country has to offer!