Preparing For A Long Distance Road Trip

India is a treasure trove of roads and destinations, and the best way to explore this reservoir is to take a road trip. Road trips, while a little expensive, give you the comfort of your own vehicle with the added bonus of arriving or leaving any place at any time you like. Now, depending on what sort of vehicle you choose to travel with, your process of preparing and packing will be a little different. But first, here’s a general list of things you need to follow to prepare for a road trip in India.

1. Make A Plan

Make a tentative plan. Check out all the things to do, see and eat between your house and your destination, and decide which ones you want to stop for. Remember the ‘tentative’ part because on a road trip, there are a million things that will change your plans. Road trips in India are full of surprises. You might hit beautiful sights, bad roads, and everything in between. So, keep an hour of buffer time between two stops, and don’t be afraid to switch stuff up if you find something interesting.

2. Start Prepping A Couple Of Days In Advance

You’re going to be gone for quite some time and you’re going to be with your vehicle the whole time. So, start preparing at least a week before the trip. Figure out all the stops and routes, make your bookings and double-check them, and get your vehicle serviced and deep cleaned.

Make sure they take care of all the fluids, cables, belts, and other consumables that your vehicle requires. Also, change the fluids out entirely, instead of just topping them off. And fill the gas tank the night before because nobody likes starting their road trip with a fuel stop.

Also Read: Best Long Distance Road Trip Routes In India

long distance road trip

3. Get Enough Sleep!

If you start a road trip while you’re sleepy, you’re going to be a risk to yourself and everyone around you. Chances are you might chug a few energy drinks to stay up. But that will just turn you into a zombie with a caffeine high.

Jokes apart, being sleepy behind the wheel is not just about the chances of falling asleep and crashing. Being sleepy translates to being frustrated, clumsy, and unable to focus. Also, highway hypnosis kicks hard when you’re sleepy. So, please don’t risk it. Get enough sleep before you start your journey.

Well, since we’re speaking of sleeping early, starting early in the morning is a great follow-up. Doing so will let you drive without rushing through the trip and escape peak-hour traffic before it ever gathers. A good idea is to make sure your luggage and vehicle are all locked and loaded on the night before. That way you can hit the road without a lot of delays in the morning.

4. Take Some Grub For The Road

Pack some food to carry with you. Something like a sandwich, a bottle of water, some juice, and a couple of chocolate bars work like magic when you’re driving for a long time. If you want to feel healthier, pack a few fruits too! This will help you when you’re bored out of your mind and just want something to munch on. Also, driving with a hand out of the window while biting into an apple will make you feel like Chuck Norris!

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5. Pre-Hydrate

This is more of a hack than anything else. Pre-hydrating means drinking about a liter of water more than usual throughout the day, on the day prior to leaving. That way, you won’t have an insatiable thirst and cottonmouth like people generally do in the mornings. Of course, you’re going to require water sooner or later. But, pre-hydrating will help you avoid feeling parched in the first few hours of the trip itself.

6. Go Old-School With Maps And Music

When we say old-school, we aren’t telling you to listen to the music from the early 2000s exclusively (early 2000s was fifteen years ago and that is old school). Rather, just store it the old-school way. Download a few playlists that you can fall back to in case you lose cell signal. If you can and want to, download an entire library of songs so that you have more options. As per personal experience, Amazon Music is the best music downloader out there.

Even if you pit Amazon Music versus Spotify, Gaana, or any other app, you will find that Amazon provides several benefits for an attractive price. You get ad-free music, a gigantic music and podcast catalog, and more. Want to use the Amazon Music app? Just buy an Amazon Prime subscription. It’ll also give you access to Prime Video’s collection of movies and TV shows, and shopping benefits from Amazon.

We recommend having a different device for maps and navigation and downloading all the maps that you might need. This way, you won’t have to worry about having only one device for everything and that device running out of juice.

Also Read: Must Visit Villages In India For That Rural Feel

long distance road trips

7. Make A Situation Report On-The-Go

When you’re on the road, it’s a good habit to just go through things around you and make a list. Every now and then, check the console for your vehicle’s vitals. Check your surroundings to see where you are, look in the mirror to see what’s behind you, and lastly, take a look at yourself. Take note of whether you look fresh, sleepy, tired, excited, whatever.

After all of these checks, if everything is in order, take one last look in the mirror and smile. You’re on a road trip, after all!

Road-Tripping In A Car: Tips And Tricks

1. Clean The Car

Before you start traveling, even before you start packing; clean your car. Take it to a detailer and get it cleaned from the inside out. If that is not possible, give it a bucket wash and go through the insides with anti-bacterial napkins. A car is a relatively big space with a lot of corners. So, make sure to cover those as well.

If you do get it to a car cleaning shop, ask them to clean the underbody and the engine bay as well. Once cleaned, take a look at your engine bay and tires. Look for cracks, bends, and leaks. If you find any, make the necessary repairs ASAP!

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2. Load-Up

Even the smallest car has enough space if you fill it up properly. Make sure you pack a maximum of four bags and fill them up according to priority. One bag lives in the seats, where it is always accessible and the other three live in the trunk.

In the trunk, make sure that the bag you need the least goes in first and store the others in that order. Lastly, take a look right before getting into the car to see if everything is in order.

long distance road trips

3. Pre-Flight Checklist

After you get in the car, organize the things around the seat that you would want placed at an arm’s reach. Sunglasses, hand sanitizer, water, and navigation top the list. Other than that, a packet of wet wipes is something we would suggest you keep in the glove box.

Pro Tip: Wear comfortable clothes. Not being cramped, chaffed, or congested is far better than not looking gorgeous in every photo at every stop. We also suggest carrying a pair of slippers in the car. That way, you won’t have to go through the hassle of laces every time you get down, but you would have your shoes handy when you want to show off.

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4. Go! Go! Go!

Now you’re in the driver’s seat. Everything is packed and loaded. You did turn the gas stove off and checked it thrice. You also checked your phone, wallet, and earphones and you went to the loo, too. Now, as you start driving, you’ll get to pretty much the last step in the process of starting.

As you start your car, give it five minutes to heat itself up. Once done, listen for any odd sounds as you start driving. Cars, and vehicles in general, are very responsive. If you see, hear, or feel something that might be wrong, take a look. Also, make sure your petrol tank is full and that you fill it up every time it gets to 50%.

Road-Tripping On A Bike: Tips And Tricks

1. Prepping The Bike

When prepping a motorcycle, you can tweak as many aspects of the vehicle as you like. You can switch, or at least adjust, the seats, handlebars, lights, suspension height, and pretty much everything else, with the exception of the engine and the frame. Use that to your advantage and make the motorcycle best suited to you. After taking care of the adjustments, take it to a garage for a service. Change the fluids and the consumables, and make sure that the bike is in optimal condition.

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long distance road trips

2. Packing On A Motorcycle

Packing your stuff on a bike is a little more challenging than it is in a car. You not only have a huge constraint over the space available, but you also need specific luggage to use all that space. Saddlebags are your best bet when it comes to luggage solutions for a motorcycle. If that is not enough, you can always tie a duffel bag to the rear seat. This will give you more storage and a backrest too!

So invest in a good pair of saddlebags, a decent duffel bag, top-of-the-line bungee cords, and waterproof covers for all your luggage. Lastly, make sure you distribute the load evenly in your saddlebags, as lopsided loads will make riding a lot harder.

3. Dress For The Slide, Not The Ride

A road trip on a motorcycle is always one tiny error away from the tasty, black asphalt.This is why protection is always high priority. Invest in a good riding jacket, a full-face helmet, and riding gloves with protective padding. Other than that, you can replace riding shoes with good quality trekking boots, and riding pants with knee guards. However, this is the minimum gear we recommend on a biking trip.

You might think you want to be comfortable while covering long distances on a bike. But, we think compromising a little bit of comfort for safety is a fair trade.

Also Read: 10 Travel Tips For Backpackers On A Budget

4. Look Out For The Weather

Since you’re on a motorcycle, you’re in direct contact with the elements and everything the road will throw at you. While you cannot avoid the bugs going kamikaze on your face, you can avoid bad weather by simply keeping a look at the forecast.

If you are dressed properly and your stuff is packed properly, riding through bad weather is not such a big deal. However, we do suggest avoiding any conditions that affect your riding, with heavy winds and wet roads topping that list.

long distance road trips

5. Have A Backup Plan

Every time you start riding for the day, make sure you take a look at the maps and the weather forecast. Even if everything seems alright, figure out a secondary route and destination in case you cannot make it to the primary spot.

The idea behind this is for you to have at least one way of making the day easier if the situation demands so. The point of a road trip is to enjoy the roads anyway. Why not make it easy?

Summing Up

Road trips are just as much a learning curve as they are an exciting experience. Of course, the idea is to have fun, travel, explore, and experience the world in a new light, but we also hope you do it responsibly. After all, with this much preparation for your long distance road trip, you have to be able to enjoy your trip to its fullest. Happy journey, traveler!

FAQs

How Do You Physically Prepare For A Long Motorcycle Ride?

The quickest way to prepare for a road trip is proper stretching. Practice a simple stretching routine for your neck, back, butt, and legs, and make sure you start and end each riding day with a full stretch. Stopping for a stretch during fuel or meal breaks is highly recommended too.

What Do I Need To Check On My Motorcycle Before A Long Ride?

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) suggests checking six areas before each ride. It uses the acronym T-CLOCS to help riders remember to take a look at the tires and wheels (T), controls (C), lights and electrics (L), oil and other fluids (O), chassis (C), and stands (S).

What Are The Risks Of Riding A Motorcycle?

Riding motorcycles is dangerous. Motorcyclists account for 14% of all crash-related fatalities, even though they are only 3% of the vehicles on the road. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger-vehicle occupants to die in a car crash. More than 80% of these types of crashes result in an injury or death.

Which Is The Best Place For A Road Trip In India?

There are many beautiful places in India that you can visit. Some of the best ones include Goa, Leh, Araku Valley, and Manali.

What Is The Best Food To Eat During A Road Trip?

Some of the best things to eat on a road trip are unprocessed and light foods like nuts, bananas, oranges, peanut butter sandwiches, and energy bars. Water, fruit juices, and an occasional coffee are great drinks for a drive.

What Are The Easiest Foods To Eat In A Car?

Any sort of dry foods and sandwiches are great companions on a drive as it’s easy to not spill them, and even if they do get spilt, they are easy to clean up.

How Long Is Too Long On A Motorcycle Ride?

If you’re riding long distances, it’s a good idea to take a break every 150-200 km, and about 600 km would be the total coverage per day.

What Is The Best Motorcycle For A Road Trip In India?

Given the many different terrains that the Indian roads have to offer, the ideal motorcycle for a long ride would be something with long-travel suspension and a comfortable, upright riding position. A motorcycle like the Royal Enfield Himalayan, the Hero Xpulse, or the Suzuki V-Strom would cover a majority of places in the country.