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Planning a road trip with friends

Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

July 9, 2018

Young driver stories 5 min read

Who doesn’t love a good road trip: driving for endless hours, possibly unsure of your next destination, singing karaoke with your friends to ‘The Greatest Showman’ whilst the smell of McDonald’s drive-through and takeaway Starbucks envelopes the innards of your car. If you’re already a fully-fledged driver, then you’re probably aware that post passing your test, suddenly everybody wants to be your best mate. The reason behind this phenomenon is something that I like to call ‘Taxi Service Sickness’, with symptoms including people who you weren’t even sure knew your name, begging you to ferry them about, especially on these sought-after road trips. Despite this condition arising as an epidemic around new teenager drivers, road trips with your close friends are one of the most memorable and exciting experiences you can find, and I for one aim to take full advantage of the approaching summer months to go road tripping with my best pals.

I’m Lovin’ It

As much as I would love to gloat about all the amazing trips my friends and I have been on, admittedly, we haven’t yet had a chance to venture very far. Having just survived exam season and everyone coming to that age of joining the weekend work hunt, my friends and I have been lacking a little in our social lives. Most road trips (if they even count as road trips) end up being majestic adventures to a range of drive-throughs, or wild safaris into the centre of town- which genuinely is like fighting your way through the jungle. Most of the problems we have encountered on these thrilling escapades is trying to scrape together enough change to pay for car parking or forcing people to decide whether they want a strawberry milkshake or an M&M McFlurry.

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Hitting the Open Road

Despite my current repertoire of road trips falling short of expectations, my friends and I are discussing some seriously exciting summer travelling plans. From hopes of driving down to the coast for a day of sun cream and fish and chips to travelling to the city of Oxford to attend a J.R Tolkien exhibition (yes, I am a big nerd- haven’t you read the ‘About the author’ section?) Alongside this, I hope to take days out with my family, possibly visiting my brother’s university city of Lincoln or taking my mum out for the day in Cambridge.

Before long journeys, it is essential to carry out certain checks on your car, as you don’t want to be stuck on the hard-shoulder of a motorway, getting whipped about by passing cars if any problems did arise. Typical precautions such as checking your tyre pressure and filling up with fuel are all essential to the makings of a stress-free journey. Oh, and don’t forget the most important precaution of all: using the loo before you go. Trust me, desperately searching for the next service station whilst driving up the A1 is not want you want to be doing on your next road trip.

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Driving Forward

With the anticipated freedom from school posing the promise of time for trips, there’s nothing standing in the way of a good time with your mates – right? Well, there are a few bumps in the road (no pun intended) to overcome before moving forward with your road trip plans. Being a teenager, the cost of fuel burns a consistent hole in my already very shallow pocket, and the added cost of long journeys makes that minimum wage paycheck stretch far less than it usually does. However, if you’re playing taxi driver for a bunch of mates, you might as well adopt the role entirely and make them pay you back for all the trips you take. Whether it’s charging them a little bit of cash to add to your petrol allowance or getting them to buy you lunch at your destination of choice, every little helps when you’re running a car from the scrapings of your pocket.

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Despite the challenges you may face, the memorable experiences of a road trip are well worth the effort. The freedom a driving license awards you are too amazing not to take advantage of, with the prospects of going anywhere or doing anything leading you to the possibility of some fantastic adventures. I am extremely excited for what the next few months hold, with some of my road trip goals hopefully becoming a reality.

Kimberley Dodge profile

By Kimberley Dodge

'For me, driving means freedom. I passed my test a year ago and so I’ve been enjoying getting where I want, when I want. I’m now 18, so having my own car has given me a lot more independence: I no longer have to rely on the taxi of mum and dad!'  See more posts by Kimberley

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