Planning the Perfect Road Trip in 10 Easy Steps
Road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also be really stressful to organize. There are so many things to think about.
From finding the perfect route to packing the right snacks, there’s a lot that goes into making sure your road trip is enjoyable and not just an epic disaster.
The good news is, planning a road trip doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you follow these 10 easy steps, it can actually be pretty fun!
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Table of Contents
1. Figure Out Where You Want To Go
The first step is to determine your destination. You can choose a specific city, region, or state that you want to visit. Once you have a general idea of where you want to go, you can start planning your route.
It is also helpful to make a list of what types of activities you want to do on your trip. This will help narrow down your destination and make sure you have something to do once you get there.
Do you like hiking, sightseeing, or visiting historical landmarks? Do you want to spend your time in nature or exploring a new city? Make sure to consider your interests when choosing a destination for your road trip.
If you are looking for weekend getaways, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit within a few hours drive from most major cities. For example, if you live in Miami, you can take a road trip to Key West, or even Orlando.
2. Choose the Right Time To Travel
The time of year that you travel can make a big difference in your trip. If you’re flexible with your dates, try to avoid traveling during peak season. Not only will prices be higher, but crowds will be too.
Sites like Skyscanner can help you find the cheapest flights to your destination. They even have an option of going “to anywhere” which can be great if you’re not sure where you want to go and to find the most affordable option.
You can also use Google Flights to compare prices and find the best time to travel.
If you have to travel during peak season, plan your trip around holidays. For example, if you’re visiting a beach town, plan to travel before or after Memorial Day or Labor Day.
It can also be helpful to check the weather for your destination before you book your trip. If you’re traveling to a place with a warmer climate, spring and fall are usually the best times to go.
3. Map Out Your Route in Advance
It’s important to have a clear idea of the route that you plan to take, especially if you are driving a long distance.
This will not only ensure that you don’t waste time or get lost during your trip, but it will also help you avoid traffic and other potential roadblocks along the way.
Google maps road trip planner is a great way to map out your trip. You can input your starting point and destination, then Google will give you a few different route options.
You can also add in stops along the way, which can be helpful if you’re planning on making any side trips.
Once you have decided your ideal route, make sure to print it out or save it on your phone so you can reference it while you’re driving.
4. Make a Packing List
Packing for a road trip can be tricky. You want to make sure you have everything you need, but you also don’t want to overpack and end up with a car full of stuff that you never use.
A good way to start is by making a list of the essentials that you’ll need for your trip.
Here are a few things to include on your list:
- Maps & Directions
Once you have your essentials packed, you can start adding in other items that you think might be nice to have on the trip.
We also recommend using packing cubes and other items that will help you become more organized.
But don’t go too crazy! Remember, you only have a limited amount of space in your car, so you don’t want to pack too much stuff.
5. Bring The Right Supplies
Being on the road can be tough, especially if you’re not prepared.
Before you hit the road, make sure you have everything you need to keep yourself (and your car) happy and healthy during your trip.
Here are a few things to consider bringing:
Fuel and oil: Be sure to check your oil level and top off your gas tank before you leave. It’s also a good idea to keep a spare gallon of gas in the trunk, just in case you run into any problems along the way.
First-aid kit: A basic first-aid kit is a must for any road trip. Pack items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
Emergency supplies: It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the worst. Pack a few essential items like a flashlight, jumper cables, and a multi-tool.
Children supplies: If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to bring along snacks, games, and other activities to keep them entertained.
Pet supplies: Don’t forget about your furry friends! Make sure you have everything you need for your pet, including food, water, bowls, and a leash.
6. Consider Your Lodging Options in Advance
One of the most important things to consider when you plan a road trip is where you’re going to stay each night.
Here are a few options for lodging:
Hotels/Motels: This is the most traditional option, and it can be a great choice if you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay. Just be sure to book your room in advance, as hotels can fill up quickly during peak travel times.
Airbnb: Airbnb is a great option if you’re looking for a more unique place to stay. You can often find rooms, apartments, and even entire homes for rent in cities all over the world.
Camping: If you’re planning on camping, be sure to research the best spots in advance and make sure you have all the gear you need like a tent, sleeping bags, and a camp stove.
House-sitting: Finding house-sitting opportunities can save you a lot of money, and it’s a great way to experience a new place.
7. Set a Budget
Setting a budget is an important step in planning any trip, but it’s especially important for a road trip.
There are a lot of expenses that can add up quickly on a road trip, like gas, food, lodging, and activities.
It’s also a good idea to have a bit of extra money set aside in case you run into any unexpected expenses.
Once you have your budget set, be sure to stick to it. It can be easy to overspend when you’re on a road trip, so it’s important to be mindful of your spending.
A few ways to save money on a road trip include:
Bringing your own food: Food can be one of the biggest expenses on a road trip. Be sure to pack snacks and meals that you can eat on the go.
Finding free activities: There are many activities that you can do for free, such as hiking, visiting parks, and exploring small towns.
Split the cost with friends: If you’re going on a road trip with friends, be sure to split the cost of gas and lodging. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Staying in cheaper lodging: There are plenty of ways to find cheap or even free lodging. Camping, house-sitting, and Couchsurfing are all great options. There are many great housing alternatives that can save you money on your lodging expenses.
Avoiding tourist traps: Tourist traps are expensive and often not worth the money. Do some research in advance to find the best (and cheapest) things to do in each place you visit.
8. Prepare for Any Surprises
While road trips are a great way to relax and see the country, they do present their share of challenges along the way. You should always be prepared for anything that may come up during your journey, from traffic jams to vehicle problems or unexpected weather delays.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Leave early: It’s always better to leave early and arrive at your destination ahead of schedule. This way, if you do run into any problems along the way, you won’t be as stressed out.
Check the weather: Be sure to check the weather forecast before you leave. This way, you can plan for any delays that may occur due to bad weather. Using a weather app like Drive Weather to plan your route will also help you avoid any areas that may be experiencing bad weather.
Pack an emergency kit: Be sure to pack a basic emergency kit, including things like a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a map. This way, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes up.
Bring a phone charger: It’s always a good idea to bring a phone charger with you on a road trip. This way, you can always stay connected in case of an emergency.
Get your car checked: Be sure to get your car checked before you leave. This includes things like checking the oil level and tire pressure. It’s also a good idea to bring along a spare tire, just in case you run into any problems.
9. Don’t Forget Your Documents
When you’re packing for your road trip, don’t forget to bring your important documents. This includes things like your driver’s license, passport, registration, and insurance information.
You should also make copies of these documents in case you lose them while you’re on the road. It’s also a good idea to have an emergency contact list with you, just in case you need to get in touch with someone.
10. Relax and enjoy the ride
After putting in all of this time and effort into planning your road trip, don’t forget to actually have fun along the way.
Take time to explore your surroundings, and capture all of the amazing memories on video or in pictures. You could even get a digital photo frame to display all of your photos in one place.
Most importantly, don’t forget to relax and enjoy the ride. Road trips are all about the journey, not the destination.