No matter where you're headed, take time to explore along the way. You never know what's around the next bend.

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The cardinal rule of road trips is to do what thou whilst -- it's your open road, your freedom and your chance to do everything you want to do and very little that you don't. That said, if you simply take to the open road with a full tank of gas, you might blow right past things you wish you'd known about, or miss out on opportunities for fun and memorable experiences that you could have otherwise had.

Here are a few ideas that can turn your next road trip from a long drive along the interstate to an experience you'll never forget:

Read up: Certainly, you'll want to learn about the areas you'll be traveling through. Pick up history, geography and travel guides to add details to the great landscapes zipping past your window. Also, in addition to the obvious nonfiction books, consider picking up a novel or two to go with your adventure. What writers grew up along your route? Which novels are set among the sights you'll pass? A quick stop by your local library is a good place to start looking for reading that will enrich your route.

Make memories: Consider scrapbooking as you go. Start with a blank photo album and, as you stop to develop pictures along the way, write down your memories alongside these pictures. For the tech-savvy, consider keeping an online journal of your trip. Services like Blogger or Wordpress allow you to have a free blog up and running in minutes, where you can post pictures and text for your friends, family and future self.

Stop: Remember, the trip is the destination. If you're tired, hungry or cranky, consider revising your original plan to make it another 500 miles (804.7 kilometers) before resting. A little flexibility goes a long way.

Talk to people: A great view is one thing, but sharing it with new people is another experience altogether. Don't forget that people can be more important than place. Take the opportunity to chat with fellow travelers and locals alike. The more people you meet, the more opportunities the road will offer.

For more road trip articles and ideas, check out the links on the next page.