While it's always wise to choose your travel companions carefully, this is even more pertinent when it comes to a road trip. You'll be in close quarters with this person for the majority of the day, so normal personality quirks can turn into nails on a blackboard after a few days. Who makes an ideal road trip companion? Think more along the lines of your college roommate or BFF rather than your slightly odd co-worker or that girl you've only taken on three dates.
Driving the Wrong Car
Provided that it's comfortable and provides a reasonable level of fuel economy, there's a time and a place for most cars on road trips. You'll want to match your destination with a car that will be best suited to the landscape, however. Are you tackling the Australian Outback? Choose a Land Rover or something similar with 4WD or you won't get too far. Do you plan to simply take a day trip in and around Melbourne, on the other hand? A hybrid like the Holden Volt could save you big bucks on fuel. In any case, be sure that your car is roomy enough to handle you, your companions, and your gear.
Underestimating Time and Distance
It's all well and good to try and estimate the time it will take to get from point A to point B, but road trips never go according to plan. That is part of their beauty. You want to leave plenty of leeway for unexpected detours, lengthy rest stop conversations, or sudden bathroom breaks. And if you're travelling to cities, don't forget about rush hour! Give yourself plenty of time and don't stress if you take the long route.
Not Researching Foreign Destinations
If you're planning on following the Pan American Highway down through South America or driving through the Indian countryside, be aware that each country may have different driving styles and rules of the road. Be sure to look up driving regulations and permit requirements in advance, so that you don't have any trouble when you arrive at the car rental office.
Aiming Too Low when Budgeting
You've planned ahead to cover the cost of fuel, basic hotels, snacks, and car rental. However, have you thought about entrance fees to national parks, tips, or car rental surcharges? The little things can add up quickly when you're on the road, so don't forget to include as large of an emergency cushion as you can afford.
A little bit of advance planning can make a world of difference when you're out there on the open highway. Finally, don't forget to create some memorable playlists to keep your spirits high and sense of adventure on overdrive.