The ongoing pandemic has changed the way we vacation. But rather than trying to ignore your travel itch, why not set your sights on the open road?

According to Destination Analysts, 61.3 percent of U.S. travelers surveyed say they’re planning on taking a road trip in 2022. Driving tends to be more cost-effective than flying, and you have greater mobility. You can stop off anywhere along the way and enrich your travel experience.

Here are a few things you should consider when starting to plan a road trip in 2022

This is a collaborative post.

Create a basic itinerary

While many fancy the freedom of a Jack Kerouac, it’s best to create an itinerary before hitting the road. Map out the places you really want to visit, taking into account distance, roads required, and any local restrictions in effect during COVID. Download your maps in case you hit an area without cell service.

Leave room for flexibility and improvisation in your itinerary. Travel will always throw curveballs your way. Just remember it’s all part of the journey.

And if you’re experiencing anxiety over traveling right now, consider picking low-key, quiet destinations—somewhere off the beaten path where you can enjoy the outdoors and relax.

Book your stay ahead of time

You’re not the only one getting ready to hit the road, which means accommodations fill up fast. Use an app like Launchtrip to easily find and book hotels ahead of time, and avoid the stress of scrambling for last-minute options.

Plus, hotel and motel rules and availability may differ during COVID. The last thing you want is to show up at a hotel late at night that requires 24-hour notice of booking. We also suggest booking accommodation that provides contactless check-in and checkout to minimize face-to-face interactions.

If you’re planning to camp, look into campsites in advance. Some may have COVID restrictions. And make sure to book popular destinations, such as major National Parks, well in advance.

Pack thoughtfully

Three pairs of sandals may seem important at the time, but if you get stranded, they’re not going to be much help. Leave room for essentials, such as non-perishable food, a water container, and a portable power station.

It’s also never a bad idea to have a tent and camping chairs in case you’re forced to improvise an overnight stay.

Finally, make sure you have your COVID kit, including masks, lots of hand sanitizer, and a few rapid tests.

ALSO READ: Why you should visit Japan

Review your budget

When you are all done with the planning and booking, it is best to review your budget to know if you can stretch it.

Calculate the big expenses first such as car, accommodation, and food. Always leave some extra budget for your daily basis activity on the road because you don`t want to be stressing about your budget while traveling.

Always be flexible with the budget. I like to write down all the things I need in a planner. Get the total amount and add some extra to the grand total. It`s always a good thing to be prepared and review your budget.

Don’t forget

Before heading out on an extended trip, check that your car’s up to it. You don’t want to get an hour from home only to have your engine light blinking. Not only is that an expensive hassle, but it would require coming into contact with service personnel.

Just in case you do end up plagued by car trouble, invest in a AAA membership so you aren’t gouged by towing fees.

Finally, always make sure you’re covered by travel insurance! A lot of people travel without it and this is not recommended. Safety first when it comes to planning your ultimate road trip.

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