travel

18 Tips For Planning The Perfect Road Trip

This post is all about how to plan a road trip.

how to plan a road trip

As the warm weather heats up, you may be thinking of the ideal vacation. Whether you have a weekend, a week, or longer, and whether you are including your family or friends, these road trip planning tips can help you plan the perfect getaway.

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How To Plan A Road Trip

You can avoid unnecessary problems and stress, and have a good time. If you’re trying to plan a long road trip, Start with some road trip planning tips to make it exciting and memorable. It could turn out to be one of the best vacations you have had in your life. A little planning in advance will go a long way to make it the trip of your dreams.

What Are The Steps To Plan A Road Trip?

Plan the perfect road trip with ease by following these tips. These steps are what helped me make my first road trip a successful one.

1. Clean your car.

Remove everything from your car that you will not need. This will conserve space for essential items, and your car will be tidy. This includes the interior, the trunk, and the glove compartment. Items that are not important for your trip can be taken into your house or thrown away.

If the car has not been cleaned recently, preparing for a road trip is the ideal time to clean up spills and messes, and thoroughly vacuum the car’s interior.

2. Attend to car maintenance.

The last thing you want is your car to break down when you’re on the road. If it has not had maintenance lately, take it to your mechanic for service. Unless you are handy with car repair, it should be checked by an expert.

3. Wash your car.

It only takes a few minutes to clean the exterior. As your car may have accumulated residue during the winter, a thorough cleaning at a car wash will help it look nice. It will also remove rock salt and debris that can be harmful to your car.

4. Buy snacks for your trip.

Hunger and thirst can lead to expensive purchases at convenience stores. You can save time and money by taking appropriate snacks with you. Focus on healthy products that are neat and easy to eat. Granola bars, trail mix, and juice boxes are some good options.

READ: 50+ Healthy Road Trip Snacks That Are Truly The Best

5. Plan a Road Trip With Google Maps (With Multiple Stops)

When you are unsure of your route, it can be time-consuming and frustrating. You don’t want to be stranded in an unfamiliar location, especially at night. Take a little time to map out your entire route before you start on your trip and the best app for that is Google Maps.

plan a road trip google maps

I always plan a road trip with Google Maps. It’s great if you want to plan multiple stops and estimate your total drive time. Now the total doesn’t doesn’t include stops and/or breaks in between, so make sure to factor that into your total drive time.

6. Charge your electronic devices.

Your phone and other devices should be fully charged before you leave home. It is also a good idea to take chargers on your trip. Your phone will be ready to use when you need it, and you will have easy access to entertainment.

7. Download new apps.

It can be difficult to download apps while on the road. If you do this ahead of time, you won’t have to search for the apps you need. This is especially important if you want your children to be entertained while you are driving.

What Is The Best Road Trip Planner?

There are so many great road trip planner apps that are useful. Below are some of my favorite ones:

  • Roadtrippers: I mean it’s probably the best out there to make traveling an adventure in discovery. Whether you’re looking for museums or fun events, Roadtrippers can find them for you. [Apple | Android]
  • Google Maps: I wouldn’t leave home without installing this app. It’s the only navigation tool that I use and trust. [Apple | Android]
  • GasBuddy: If you never want to worry about where to find gas on the road, download this app! [Apple | Android]
  • Airbnb: A great app if you want to avoid hotels and want to find a place to stay at the last minute. [Apple | Android]
  • Trip.com: I love that it has a large user community that travels the globe and uploads information that other travelers may find useful. [Apple | Android]

See a full list of more road trip planner apps I highly recommend to download below!

READ: 22 Most Useful Road Trip Apps To Download

8. Prepare a packing list.

The best way to ensure nothing important is left behind is to make a list. Everyone who is traveling with you should contribute ideas for the list. When you’re ready to pack the car, you can check each item off the list. I made a list earlier of 50 essential items to pack to survive a road trip. Read the entire list here.

9. Prepare a playlist.

Music makes traveling much more fun. When you have a playlist, everyone can enjoy their favorite music.

10. Take SPF sunblock and sunglasses.

It is easier and safer to drive when your vision is not impaired by direct sunlight. However, everyone who is with you should have sunglasses. Sunglasses and sunblock may be needed while traveling, and they will be useful when you reach your destination. Doing so will help you and everyone around avoid eye strain and sunburn.

READ: What To Wear On A Road Trip

11. Stretch before you start traveling.

Stretching is important for both drivers and passengers. It will help you stay limber and relaxed. Stretching will also prevent muscle cramps and fatigue, so your road trip travels will be more enjoyable.

12. Choose the best time to start the trip.

It is better to start early in the morning or late at night. There will be less traffic on the road.

13. Plan for stops.

You should always plan a road trip with stops. You need restroom breaks, stretching breaks, and leisurely breaks. Everyone will benefit if you plan for stops in advance. Traveling will be healthier and more fun if you don’t drive straight to your destination without stopping.

How Many Hours Should I Drive a Day on a Road Trip?

When I go on road trips with my family, we’re usually driving somewhere between 8 to 12 hours a day. I think that’s the average amount of time most people drive on the road. We would have stops every 2 to 3 hours for restroom breaks, getting gas, or if we need to stretch our legs.

So again, always plan for stops while on the road.

14. It is important to stay organized.

Chaos and lack of road trip planning can ruin the fun. When you are well-organized, it will be a relaxing experience. You shouldn’t have to search for an item you need while you are traveling, or worry that it was left behind.

15. Invite your friends.

Group trips are more fun than traveling solo. Ask some friends to share your good time. If your friends are willing to share the driving, everyone can have more fun.

16. Prepare for the unexpected.

Even with solid planning, unexpected situations can occur. From a flat tire to a medical emergency, decide how you will deal with situations before you start the trip. You can discuss possibilities with your family members or friends who are traveling with you.

17. Plan and follow a budget.

It’s easy to get carried away when you are on a road trip. From souvenir shops to fancy restaurants, there will be many opportunities to spend money. The best way to avoid impulsive spending is to create a budget for your trip.

You don’t have to spend money on merchandise or services that you cannot afford. Make a reasonable budget, and make the commitment to adhere to it.

How Much Does A Road Trip Usually Cost?

The cost of a road trip depends on how you budget. It doesn’t have to be expensive but there are some cost considerations to factor in your road trip budget.

If you don’t have a car at your disposal, you’ll need to rent one. The average car rental is $47/day and that’s not even including insurance. If you’re traveling a short distance for a few days, the cost might be doable for you. However, if you’re traveling cross country for 2 weeks, the cost adds up significantly. It’s a necessary expense and if you don’t mind it, then add it to your budget.

If you want to stay within a small budget, avoid a rental if possible even if that means postponing your road trip until you have a car you can use.

Also, you can’t forget to add in the cost of gas, food, accommodation and etc. If you’re not careful, these costs can add up greatly and make your fun road trip an expensive one.

READ: 10 Life Hacks To Save Money On Road Trips

18. Observe all traffic laws.

A road trip is not the time to get a ticket for speeding or other traffic violations. You also don’t want to have an accident. Make sure you are familiar with the traffic rules on your route, and always follow the rules.

Road trip planning and preparation are essential when you want the perfect road trip experience. When you are well-organized, you are less likely to experience difficulties, minor annoyances, fatigue, and stress. From the minute you leave until you return home, you can concentrate on having a good time.

road trip planning tips

Now that you know how to plan a road trip, do you have any tips you would like to share? Comment below!

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