Who doesn’t enjoy a good road trip every now and then? The open road, freedom to drive at your own pace, with the goal of an exciting destination in mind. It’s because of these ideas that have caused road tripping to become more popular over the years. This is especially more profound in the age of Covid. Road trips have become a convenient and more budget friendly option than other forms of travel.
With so many places to see and things to do, people opting for road trips are lacking few options.
We have put together a top 12 list of the best road trip tips out there. Our goal is to help you have a terrific, well prepared, and safe experience. Please read on to discover our tips for a successful road trip.
1) A plan
We get it. Sometimes it’s fun to wing it. But for safety and sanity sake, it’s best to come up with some sort of plan.
Start with something simple. Plan your end destination, calculate your drive time, and have an idea of your total budget. This a great start.
Your road trip doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute. Having some general idea of the bigger picture will definitely help you in the long run.
2) Check your vehicle pre trip
Your vehicle could likely use a tune up regardless, so it makes sense.
There is no point in putting yourself or others in harm’s way with bald tires or bad brakes. Have a certified mechanic give your vehicle a once over.
Your vehicle might already be in prime working condition. Great, you’re just paying a tune up fee then. If it’s not, you likely saved yourself a massive headache.
Either way you’re good to go and will most importantly have peace of mind knowing your vehicle is set.
3) Clean your car pre trip
Most of us likely don’t clean our cars on a regular basis. It’s important to have a clean and comfortable car at the beginning of your road trip. It will have a positive impact throughout.
Who wants old wrappers or dog hair stuck to pillows, luggage, and clothes? Take a small trash bag along. Garbage accumulated during your road trip has a quick and convenient collection point.
4) Expect and plan for possible trouble spots along the route
Something as simple as checking the forecast is often overlooked. Take a quick look at the upcoming weather for any cities along your route. This could prove quite beneficial. Avoiding a snowstorm or that torrential downpour is always worth it.
Aside from mother nature, no one wants to deal with construction. Have you ever felt it’s near impossible to avoid? Gridlocked traffic is not on any road-trippers wishlist. A good road trip app will help you avoid this.
5) Up To Date Documentation
Up to date documentation for your vehicle is necessary. What better time to make sure it’s all good to go? License, registration, and insurance should all be current.
No one wants to get pulled over, but what better way to speed things along then to have everything ready to go?
Put them all together in a packet in your glove box. There will be no searching or embarrassing excuses to why it’s not ready or available.
6) Pack the right stuff
It pays to start a packing list in advance. Having to stop and buy an overpriced phone charger is usually not on anyone’s wish list. Make a checklist, and do exactly that. Check off each item as you pack it in your luggage or vehicle.
Pack more efficient. This means do not over pack. The more you pack, the more you have to lose. Pack what’s needed, not what’s wanted. Then work from there if there is extra space.
We recommend including your favorite playlists, podcasts, and even some road trip games.
7) Use a road trip App
There are several available great options. Most offer their basic edition for free, and charge for the premium version. These are a fantastic source of information that is both useful and interesting. Some apps even offer specific sightseeing attractions along your route. Chances are you didn’t even know they existed. Perfect opportunity for a short side trip if time allows.
A good road trip app with show the necessities along your route. This will include gas, rest, and food stops. Try to time your stops to accomplish multiple things at once. Fuel up while getting food. Or combine a restroom break with stretching your legs.
Check out Roadtrippers. It’s one of the better Road Trip planning apps.
Use this coupon code when prompted, and get $5 off your first Road Trippers purchase: BTR5QTP
8) Book Ahead
If you are heading to a specific destination or attraction, it’s worthwhile to book ahead of time. Who wants to get to an attraction that’s sold out or closed?
If I am road tripping from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the purpose to see Alcatraz, I will book ahead. It would be a significant damper on the trip if the tours were sold out or the ferries not running upon arrival.
Research, plan, and book in advance. Don’t book a day tour for the day you arrive. There is no point in losing out because of a delay along the way.
9) Reliable GPS Navigation
Now-a-days, our phones are our lifelines to the world. Most of us use our vehicle’s built in GPS (if it has one), or phones to navigate unfamiliar territory. Having a backup plan in place in case our wireless carrier loses coverage in an area, is a good idea.
We recommend a portable wifi device. Some wireless travel routers offer pay as you go plans. This is perfect if you plan on using only as a backup for when/if your phone loses signal.
Our recommendation is the GlocalMe Ucloud. If you buy the device, they offer a pay as you go plan for service and it’s yours to have for all future travels. If you are not ready to buy, they also offer mobil wifi hotspot rentals.
10) Cooler Time?
If you plan on stopping and eating out along your route, it still pays to pack a cooler. We recommend snacks, sandwiches, and drinks (a good supply of water ). If for some reason you can’t find an open restaurant (I mean, who knows in the age of COVID right?), you have a backup in place.
Pack healthy snacks or food where you can. Too many unhealthy snacks and long periods of sitting can lead to an upset stomach. Frequenting rest stops will add time and an unpleasant road trip experience.
Shorter road trip? Bring a smaller cooler for ease. Check out our recommendation here.
11) Don’t push the limits
Falling asleep at the wheel is the # 1 no no. Don’t push yourself over the edge (no pun intended). Take turns driving, or plan for overnight accommodations. It’s easy to try and power through, but not worth the risk.
The same goes for fuel. As a general rule, when you are down to a ¼ tank, make it a priority to find a gas station. It’s better to stop 1 too many times for gas, then run out and be in trouble.
12) Carry cash
It makes sense: tolls, gas stations, restaurants. If for some reason your credit card isn’t accepted or not working, cash is always king.
We’re not talking about bringing your life savings in a shoe box. We recommend no more than $100. Enough for a meal or two, or a stay in a cheaper hotel. This will help float you for that ‘in case situation’. It will buy you time to either find an ATM, or get your credit card issue sorted out.
Ready To Hit The Road?
We hope this list has provided you with some solid info for road tripping. A little preparation can go a long way towards a successful road trip. Safety should always be the top priority. A safe road trip will lead to fond memories and experiences. We wish you the best in your travels.
Check out our article on road tripping with young children here: 8 tips for Road Tripping with a Baby
Looking for more road trip safety tips? Check out this article from Lakeville Motors.