By: Kayla Paschall
Summer is approaching as the semester is ending. For some, the end of the semester means summer internships, and for others it means starting a career after graduation. Before the real world comes into play, maybe you could use some of those PR skills to take a spontaneous road trip. Remember the days of mapping out destination spots with your friends? Well now is the time to dive head first into the idea with this road trip guide.
- Money does not grow on trees
This was always the issue with my friends and I, because it can be difficult to gather enough money, especially within two months. The secret is “the more the merrier.” In other words – more people means less money each person needs to bring. The advice I can give you is to lay out a savings plan. For example, set up some babysitting gigs or take those offers on campus to participate in a survey for cash. Or possibly sell some old stuff you do not use anymore on Craigslist. I would not be concerned with making more than $300, but it would not hurt to try and save more. A good strategy could be along the lines of saving $50 a week for 6 weeks. It may also be a good idea to use a money pool with a certain amount of cash thrown in by each person to use on the trip so no one pays more than the other.
- Wait, where are we going to stay?
Become used to the concept of camping and sleeping in a car. This is where your sense of adventure is supposed to come in (cue spirit fingers). Hitching a tent at a campground can cost around $10 to $20. However, a cheap hotel can be found for around $40 a night. Before you leave, I propose labeling some camping spots or hotels on the route. It is likely you are not going to arrive when you expect to, so other options need to be available. Imagine finding an awesome campground with an ocean view and bonfires at night. Was your expectation for sleeping arrangements fine with being lowered after that perception?
- So many destinations with so little time
Let each person pick a town or attraction they want to visit. This will eliminate any arguments over where to go. Just make sure to map out the route before driving off so you do not blindly try to find the exit or next turn. It is important everyone is on the same page about the destination spots and all the costs that come along with it. The exciting part about the voyage is having a vague idea where you will end up. Take your time on the expedition to stop and sightsee.
- We may have to eat every once in a while
Food can easily account for most of your budget if you do not plan accordingly. I suggest packing a cooler with groceries of pre-cooked food. Look at this way-the more money spent on food, the less money spent on entertainment. It is okay to stop at places to eat, but only pick out affordable locations.
- What about gas?
Gas is definitely pricey, especially with a gas-guzzling vehicle. The solution is to pack light and drive the speed limit. Because it will be summer, all you really need is a swimsuit or two, shorts and tank tops. And according to the Independent Traveler, driving the speed limit saves gas. It also recommends looking for places with a variety of gas stations, because gas will be cheaper with all of the competition. To calculate how much gas will cost you, you can use this example with a total of five people in the group:
|Austin to Miami, Florida||2,700 miles (to and back)|
|Tahoe||26 mph on highway|
|Gallons Tahoe takes||21 gallons|
|How many miles per tank of gas?||26 mph X 21 gallons=544 miles/tank of gas|
|How many times to fill up?||2,700 miles/544 miles=5 times|
|How much does gas cost per gallon?||Anywhere from $2-$3.50|
|Total gas cost?||($2 or $3.50 X 21 gallons) X 5 trips=$210 to $367|
|How much will each person pay?||Between $42 and $73 per person|
A road trip can be a great way to use your PR skills for this real life scenario. This is especially true for event planners, because they must be flexible, creative and organized – all the skills needed for a road trip. It is important to accept that the trip will not always go according to plan. Just like in a work situation, something may come up and it is your job to have a back-up strategy. And like a PR practitioner, it is also your job to communicate and make relationships with your audience. So come up with a proposition and pitch it to your friends to persuade them to jump aboard this spontaneous road trip scheme.