6 Things You Figure Out On Your First Road Trip That Turn Into Life Lessons

When I moved to California three years ago, I made the journey via car. Going on a cross-country trip was a bucket list item I always wanted to check off, so I decided to make that dream a reality. I started in Florida and made my way west. Along the way, I had plenty of unexpected adventures, ate incredible food, and got to know myself better than I ever thought I would. In fact, the things you learn on your first road trip will be life lessons you never forget.

Sure, you'll learn things like how you should take advantage of a rest stop whenever possible, and it's crucial to pack some yummy snacks for the road, but there are other lessons that aren't as obvious at first. If you're currently planning your first-ever road trip, you may not understand any of these seven lessons of the road quite yet. However, you'll soon figure out that a road trip is so much more than traveling to a new destinations by car. It's a unique experience that I truly believe everyone should partake in at least once. So, pack your bags, get a fire playlist going, and hit the road, because the journey awaits.

It Can Be Fun To Go A Little Bit Off Course
Rachel Chapman

One day, I decided to visit a vintage gas station along the infamous Route 66 to snap some quality pics for the 'Gram. When it came time to hit the road again, I could either make a U-turn and head back the way I came, or go the dirt road direction that was also an option on my GPS.

I opted for the dirt road, even though at first, I thought I might lose service and get totally lost in the dessert. I got to drive by a sweet little outlook over the mountains right as the sun was setting. It just proved to me, that sometimes, it's fun to go a little bit off course, because you never know what you might see.

The Tastiest Local Food Is Never Too Far Away
Chelsea Victoria/Stocksy

The most important thing on my to-do list for any trip is to try the local foods, and when you're driving to different destinations, there are so many new things to try. Along the way, I enjoyed shrimp po' boys in Louisiana and tacos in Texas.

I also learned that you can't always trust a place by its exterior. Some of the best food I tasted came from small, hole-in-the-wall places in different cities. When you're heading out, pack some car snacks, but ultimately, bring your appetite to try new things during your journey.

Sometimes, You Really Have To See It To Believe It

Some of the best places for pics for the 'Gram on your trip are the roadside attractions — including the world's tallest thermometer, or the giant dinosaurs from Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Though, no pictures can truly do these quirky stops any justice. You really have to see some of it in person to believe it.

Nothing Beats Singing In Your Car To Your Favorite Songs

When you're on the road for a long time, your music can really make the time fly. I had several of my friends create Spotify playlists for me of their favorite songs, and it provided many hours of belting out jams in the car. Though, you can't always guarantee you'll have service in some parts of your drive, so it's best to also have backups like old mix CDs or songs stored on your phone.

You Get To Know Yourself So Much Better

I know it might sound a little cheesy, but spending time in the car on the drive will give you plenty of hours to truly get to know yourself. When all you have is you, the open road in front of you, and your destination, it gives you time to think about anything and everything.

It's OK To Be On A Loose Time Schedule
Jesse Morrow/Stocksy

When things like traffic jams and spontaneous roadside stops come about, you have to be on a loose time schedule for your road trip. Sure, you have a destination you're aiming for, but you also have to be open along the way for anything cool that comes up. It really teaches you to really go with the flow.