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Plan The Perfect Summer Road Trip

couple in red convertible, she reaching to the sky

It's a zillion degrees outside. You have all the windows down and the A/C blasting in a blatant disregard for your carbon footprint. The iPod blares your fave album, while you belt out the lyrics in off-key giddiness, attracting glances from passing motorists wondering if you might be torturing a squirrel in there.

This is how a summer road trip should begin. Whether you're craving adventure or just want to visit a friend, any excuse is a good excuse for a road trip. It doesn't even matter where you're going, as long as you've got fun people, decent wheels and a great soundtrack. Here are our top tips for planning and executing the perfect summer road trip.

What's your tripping style?
Before you hit the open road, make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to: (a) style of travel; and (b) your ultimate destination. Do you care where you're going? How many hours each day will you drive? Do you want to stop at every roadside attraction, or do you need to be somewhere at a certain time? Will you sleep in the car, in a tent or at a hotel? Who's driving? And most importantly: Who controls the radio?

Choose the best ride
You want a car that's reliable, inexpensive, comfortable and fun. CNN offers a list of the best road tripping cars . But we reckon the ultimate road tripping auto is either a convertible (wind in your hair, feel like a rock star) or a beat-up van (doubles as a cheap roadside hotel!).

Pack the essentials
In addition to your own luggage, you'll need a few road-trip must-haves. First and foremost: emergency car kit and first aid kit. Next, blankets and pillows for night driving oo if you don't make it to a hotel on time. And, of course, a camera phone for recording the adventure! Oh, and don't forget lots of snacks and drinks to keep your energy up. Pack a few bags of sweets and potato chips, but also healthy snacks like carrot and celery sticks with hummus or sandwiches. (Just stash perishables in a cooler and replenish your stock along the way.)