End of summer road trip ideas for college students

Well, the start of a new school year will be here before you know it and with that, college courses will be underway. Why not use the time you have left for an end of summer DIY road trip with your buds?

Plan out your road trip route on a map. (Credit: Marvin Hlavac)

Plan out your road trip route on a map. (Credit: Marvin Hlavac)

Here are some road trip ideas that all college students can appreciate!

Short on time?

Just because it’s a road trip doesn’t mean you have to drive for hours and hours to get where you’re going. You can plan a quick get-away that won’t have you stuck in the car, wasting travel days. So, where to begin? Start by looking within an hour (about 45-60 miles) radius of home, or school if you’ve already moved back. We rarely tend to visit places that are an hour away, even though we always say we’re going to. Here are some travel ideas that are sure to fit any location:

Museums: How many local museums/art galleries in your area have you actually visited? Take a gander at your state’s website to find some that you’ve been wanting to visit. Michigan’s Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park are about two-and-a-half hours west of Detroit and boast some beautiful sculptures and garden areas.

World’s Largest________: Ever wonder where the world’s largest thermometer is? Baker, California to be exact. The world’s largest ball of twine? That’s in Cawker City, Kansas. But, don’t go planning your trip around seeing just one attraction. You may want to include these weird roadside attractions as part of a road trip, says Lyndsey Matthews, Adam McCulloch and Joshua Pramis, authors of the August 2010, “America’s Strangest Roadside Attractions,” post for Travel and Leisure. “While not many people would be tempted to drive four hours to visit the second largest ball of twine—as Clark Griswold (a.k.a. Chevy Chase) did in the film National Lampoon’s Vacation—any long-distance driver can attest that after hours at the wheel, twine of any size becomes a strangely appealing diversion,” the authors add. Authors include these other roadside attractions to pursue:

  • Lucy the Elephant, Margate, NJ.
  • Wee’l Turtle, Dunseith, ND.
  • Freemont Troll, Seattle, WA. 

What to bring on the road trip?

Whether you’re planning a long weekend or a day-trip, you’ll want to bring enough snacks and activities to keep even the busiest traveler happy. This is where Pinterest can come in handy! Simply search “DIY road trip ideas” in the search field and you’ll come across these and other fun ideas:

  • Car kits: sanitizer, aspirin, protein bars, tissues, and a garbage bag will help make the trek smoother.
  • Map and compass: We know that our Smartphones can do just about anything, but what happens if you lose your signal? Having that map and compass on hand will save a lot of headaches.
  • Snacks to go: Using sectioned-off plastic containers will help keep snacks neatly in one place, eliminating the need to stop at fast food restaurants. If you have a small cooler, bring that, too!
  • Reading materials and games: You’ll get bored of the “I Spy” games after a while and will want to resort to something else. Bringing magazines and short quiz books can entertain even the grumpiest travelers! Don’t forget the music, too! If you’re making a longer road trip you’ll want to be sure to have CDs or your MP3 players on hand as you’ll likely lose the radio signal to your fav stations.

Save money

If you’ve always wanted to visit Chicago but haven’t ever had the extra cash, here are some tips from Choose Chicago for traveling on the cheap!

  • Check out the Chicago events calendar. There are hundreds of events (some free) going on that will make your trip worthwhile!
  • Hotel: Of course staying inside the city is a great experience but if you want to save money, book a hotel in a nearby city like Evanston and take public transportation in.
  • Restaurants: It is tempting to want to eat at all of the great local restaurants when traveling, even if only for one day, but you can choose one that you don’t want to miss and then hit hot dog stands and farmers’ markets for the other meals. In NYC, it’s basically a sin if you don’t do this anyways! (At least to me, stopping at the food trucks and stands for meals on the go were my favorite part about NYC!)

Wherever it is you choose to go, enjoy the last of your summer! Post your favorite road trip ideas in the comments below.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *