Road Trip Tips

Tips for Planning a Cross Country Road Trip

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Road Trip Tips Overview

A road trip can be a fun, spontaneous vacation. After all the freedom of the open road is one of the reasons we love automobiles! Prior planning of your itinerary can make a big difference to how enjoyable a road trip is while still making room for spur-of-the-moment choices. Spontaneity makes some of the most memorable experiences! Getting off the highway and mapping out a long meandering route is one of the joys of summer driving. Maximize your fun with these helpful road trip tips.

Make Sure Your Car Maintenance is Up To Date

Before you depart on your road trip, do any needed maintenance on your vehicle. It will not be a fun journey if you go fifty miles and have an engine problem! If your trip includes any changes in terrain, altitude or temperature, having a car with a clean air filter and a recent oil change can make the difference. Making sure your air conditioner is in working order and has a full charge is critical for hot summer days. If you’re not worried because you have roadside assistance, think again. Cell phone coverage can be spotty in rural areas, and it may take several hours for help to arrive.

It’s not necessary, but a personal comfort hack is giving the interior of your car a once-over with a vacuum and a microfiber cloth. This will start the trip off fresh. Another trick is to empty out any extra stuff you’ve been keeping in your trunk to improve gas mileage.

Make Sure Your Documents Are In Order

Take a look at your car registration, your driver’s license, and insurance documents. Make sure they are up to date and not due to expire while you’re away. These are common sense preparations, but in the excitement of planning a trip, it might not be the first thing you think of. If you are going to be traveling more than 150-200 miles away from home, consider insuring your road trip by purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Bring copies of all your plan documents if you choose a travel insurance plan.

Pack for a Variety of Weather Conditions

Thanks to modern meteorology, you’ll probably have a good idea of what to expect on your road trip concerning weather. There are always surprises, however, so make sure to pack an extra rain jacket, boots, or any other gear you might need while exploring the local areas along your route. Since you don’t have to worry about checked baggage fees, it’s better to have an item of clothing with you rather than have to purchase a replacement while on the road.

Use Technology to Improve Your Trip – But Make Sure to Unplug

Whether it’s a navigation app that will reroute you if there is unexpected traffic or construction, a virtual travel guide, or even entertainment, your smartphone can be a tremendous resource while on the road. Keep an eye on your data usage and consider temporarily bumping up your plan, so you don’t end up with an overage. Be intentional about using your smartphone – the best memories are made when you’re fully present in the moment.

Map Your Route and Make Room for Adventure

Whether you’ve always wanted to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina or Highway 1 in California, or any other classic road trip, you will want to research the basics of how many days the trip generally takes, and any road conditions that may affect your route. If you’re traveling with a group, keep in mind that your companions may have different tolerances. Keep that in mind when planning stops and total hours in the car per day. Doing research beforehand will keep you from having to drive more than you want just to reach the next stop. It sounds counterintuitive, but if you’re on a long route with plenty of hotels, you may want to hold off on making reservations. Instead, stop along the way when you feel done for the day. It’s good to have a few big stops planned. Just make sure to leave it up to chance to find local restaurants, for example. Having the flexibility to stop and explore when you want to is one of the best advantages of a road trip!

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