Get A Gas Card
Nearly every credit card company offers cards that will get you rewards when you buy gas, which is the perfect option for road trips. Since you'll be buying a lot of fuel, you'll be racking up some great rewards while you're at it, including discounted hotel rooms and groceries!
Go Old School With An Actual Map
Using a physical map seems unthinkable in this day and age of GPSs and iPhones and Google Maps, but it has its advantages. You can see a bigger picture of the area you're driving in and make spur-of-the-moment decisions to leave your route and check out an interesting looking town or attraction. Bring along a big Sharpie and track your path as you go for an awesome keepsake at the end of the trip!
Get Chatty With Everyone
You may be shy at home, but on the road, you should try your best to get to know anyone you may encounter, from the waitress at a roadside diner to locals at a park. These people know the area you are in better than any app or brochure, and they can also provide memorable stories.
Make A CD
No, don't just plug in your iPhone — make an actual CD of songs that you and your friends love and won't mind hearing over and over. It might not seem like a big deal your first time through, but you'll soon develop jokes or even dances to the songs. After the trip is over, you'll always think back to the fun times you had with your friends on the trip whenever you hear those songs.
Plan, But Don't Overplan
Your road trip is probably on a time limit, but that doesn't mean that every minute of the day should be scheduled. Plan out where you are going to sleep each night and a general direction, but let the rest of the trip be up to you and your friends to decide. Some of the best memories will come from the spontaneous adventures you decide on the moment you see an interesting road sign or get tourism advice from a local.
Bring A Little, Bring Back A Lot
A big mistake that a lot of people make when going on a road trip is overpacking. Remember that you are going to be spending a lot of time in the car with everything that you and all your friends bring, and you don't want to be crowded and uncomfortable. Pack light for comfort, but also so that you'll have room to buy souvenirs from the places you stop at, which will help you remember your trip for years to come.
Have Toll Cash Ready
Most of us rely on our credit or debit cards to pay for almost everything nowadays, but when it comes to toll roads, cash is still king. You'll get through the lines much faster with cash on hand, and some tolls don't even accept card payments. Be sure to keep any change you collect somewhere in your car, as having exact change is another great help.
Find All The "World's Largests" You Can
Getting a picture with the a "World's Largest" something is a road trip classic, and the reason for it is because so many "World's Largests" are on the side of major interstates. Keep your eye out for advertisements and pull over when you find one!
Make Up Road Games
Road games are a tried-and-true way to pass the time on road trips, but if you get tired of old favorites like the license plate game, 20 questions, or I Spy, then create your own! Cast who would play all your friends in your life movie, or get creative with a game of Would You Rather.
Try To Put The Cell Phone Away
We are all so attached to our phones, and they can definitely be helpful on a road trip, but they can also get in the way of some major bonding opportunities! If you notice everyone is just staring at their phones and not talking to each other, suggest that you put them away and start a sing-along or pull over and find some adventure!
Get Your Apps Ready
While you shouldn't use your cell phone constantly on your trip, there are some times when it can be very helpful. Apps like Gas Buddy will help you find the cheapest gas stations around, and a money exchange app like Venmo makes it easy for your friends to split the costs of whatever comes up.
Put A Beer Cooler In The Trunk
Not for while you are driving of course, but if you are driving by the beach and the sun is starting to set, you might want to pull over to take in the view with your buds and some brews.
Weird Billboards = Best Stories
Don't be weirded out by those crazy billboards that you see on the side of the interstate. Instead, embrace them! They will take you to some interesting places that you are sure to remember for yours to come.
Consider An Audiobook
You and your friends will probably want a break from music at some point, so you might want to all pick out an audiobook that interests everyone together. It can become like your own little book club, except you'll know that everyone has actually read the book.
Have A Car Trash Can
Of course you and your friends are going to have some trash while you are driving across the country. Instead of letting it collect on the floor until the next time you pull over, bring along a cereal container lined with a plastic bag for an easy no-spill trash container.
You might assume that you can just pull over to grab some food at a gas station or a fast food restaurant whenever you get hungry, but the fact is that people get hungry at different times. If you don't want to pull over every single time someone in your car starts getting hungry, come prepared with some trail mix or other snacks to tide people over until dinner.
Hang A Shoe Organizer
Hang a shoe organizer on the back of the driver or passenger seat to easily increase your organization. Fill the various slots with books, phones, video games, and whatever else you might use to pass the time in the car.
Bring An Address Book And Stamps
Texting and emails are nice, but there's something special about receiving a letter or postcard from someone. Be sure to bring a list of addresses of the people you care about, a page of stamps, and a pen so that you can surprise your friends and family with some postcards from whatever city or town you're in or passing through.
New Car Smell
Let's face it — your car is going to start getting pretty smelly after several hours in it each day. If you want to keep it smelling good, open a pack of dryer sheets and leave them in the car. Sticking one in your air conditioning vent if the smell gets really bad.
Super Cup Holder
If you have a particularly large party of road trippers, then you most likely won't have enough cup holders for everyone. Try putting a muffin tin in a laundry basket to make a massive cup-holding device.
Define A Division Of Labor
There are a lot of roles to fill on any road trip, and chances are that you and your friends have different specialties. Choose the best driver and have them drive most often, the best navigator should be in charge of the map, and the best planner should be planning out meals and hotels.