Road tripping through Florida is an epic experience. Blue skies and palm trees, beachy vistas, and some of the world’s best amusement parks—there is no shortage of stellar sites to visit. Of course, road trips function much like anything else: if you have a little experience and preparation, things tend to go a bit smoother. The following will look at some of the things you might want to keep in mind when planning a road trip in Florida.
Don’t Skip The Cities
While road tripping tends to be the preferred method of travel for nature lovers who are looking to get in a much time with the great outdoors as possible and who are expecting to wander way off the beaten paths to the more isolated parts of the world when it comes to traveling in Florida, you don’t want to miss out on the cities. Orlando might already be on your list given that the ever-magical Disney World is located there, but Saint Augustine is one of the oldest cities in the country and so chocked full of stunning history and therefore also an epic stop. Destin and Sarasota are excellent beach cities to check out, and Miami has an art-deco vibe that is entirely unique. Even if you’re not a big fan of city life, you’re not going to want to miss out on a few of the extra unique ones.
If you are planning on hitting up a few of the cities and are driving a bigger vehicle specifically for the road trip, it’s a good idea to practice parking and moving with city traffic before you set out. Renting an RV in Florida is one of the best ways to see all the sights, and being comfortable with parking can help ensure you don’t miss a single moment. If there are going to be multiple people driving the vehicle, have them take it out for a practice drive or two before you set off.
Plan To Take Longer Than You Expect
When planning a road trip, it’s easy to underestimate the time you’re going to want to spend at various locations. In the sunshine state, this is even more of a challenge as nothing soothes the soul quite like breezy beaches under bright blue skies. You might be surprised by how much the weather and the scenery have you wanting to lay still and do absolutely nothing but soak up the sun for hours. Give yourself the time to laze by the beach and listen to the waves lull you into a sleepy relaxed state. You will want to use it.
Prepare For The Sunshine
Florida isn’t called the sunshine state for nothing! Be prepared for the sun. Yes, you might not wear sunscreen and a hat every day back home, but Florida is mighty close to the equator meaning the sun behaves differently there than it does elsewhere. Don’t ruin your trip with excruciating burns that turn into endless days of itching and flaky skin. Make sure you have light, breezy clothing that can cover your skin, that you bring way more water than you’re used to drinking everywhere you go, and that you have a hat and pair of sunglasses.
When it comes to selecting a sunscreen, there are a few things you need to keep in mind besides the SPF. Recent studies have discovered that many forms of sunscreen are absolutely destroying marine ecosystems as so many people coat themselves with the chemicals and then go swimming. This is such a big problem that some beaches and territories, like in Hawaii, for example, have begun banning certain sunscreens. Do your research and purchase only sunscreens that are safe for oceans. And no, it’s not enough to purchase one labeled “reef safe” as there’s no regulation for that as of yet, so the words mean nothing. Look up the lists of ingredients that are safe and the ones that are unsafe. Almost certainly, you’re going to be looking for a zinc-based mineral sunscreen.
Expect Solo Days Every So Often
No matter how much you love the people you’re going to be traveling with, if the trip is more than a few days long, you’re going to need to account for a few hours alone every so often. Try to plan activities that only individual travelers like at the same time. This means that while your one friend is hitting up all the Instagram photo sites, another friend is checking out a nautical museum, and you’re reading on the beach. Living in close quarters with people when you’re not used to it, which is pretty common on road trips, can take a toll on your energy levels and your fondness for your friends. Planning a little alone time for everyone can really help reduce that tension.
It Is Going To Take You Longer To Get To Places
Yes, GPS systems are fantastic. They’ll tell you how long it’s going to take to drive somewhere, and they’re pretty darn accurate if you’re driving straight without stopping. This almost certainly isn’t going to happen. A good rule of thumb is to add fifteen or twenty minutes to every hour of driving to cover waiting in line for coffee, stopping for the bathroom, pulling over because you’re not sure if you’re lost or not, etc. Yes, you probably won’t be stopping every hour, but occasionally stops are going to take a lot longer than fifteen minutes.
When you’re planning a long road trip, you’ve got to make sure that your vehicle is up to par. Whether you’re renting or driving your own car or borrowing a trusty one from a sibling, ensure that you check everything over and keep an eye on things like tire pressure as you travel. If there is any outstanding maintenance required on a vehicle, you absolutely must get it sorted before you take off. You might also want to give the car a good clean if everyone is going to be spending so much time in it.
The above list should get you ready for your road trip. Of course, if you or any of your traveling companions have specific or additional needs like wifi for the occasional work meeting held over zoom or allergies or medications that need taking, you’ll have to include these needs in your planning. It’s a good idea to talk with everyone about their needs and expectations before the plans are set in stone. This will allow you to make space for everyone’s personal requirements.