How to Plan a Road Trip
Road trips are fun, adventurous ways of exploring the world, driving through mountains, farmland, and coastal cities to get to your final destination. But here’s what they don’t tell you: road trips take work. They require planning and organization to avoid a stressful vacation. To help, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to planning your next road trip.
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How to Plan a Road Trip
Choose your route
This is the most important, and probably the most exciting, part of planning a road trip: choosing where you want to go. Start by picking a destination (or destinations), then you can plan the scenic route you’d like to take a long the way.
Nowadays, you can use a variety of programs to help plan your route based on your destination. For example, RoadTrippers.com allows you to put in your starting and ending points, with an option to add other destinations, showing you fun excursions along the way.
Plan your stops
In addition to your starting and ending points, you’ll want to plan stops along the way. Those same online programs will often help show you vacation rentals, hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other points of interest along your route.
If you’re taking a road trip spanning several days, estimate the amount of time you’d like to spend each day driving and plan your lodging ahead of time. This will prevent you from driving around at 10 o’clock at night searching for an open hotel room.
Get a tune-up
Before you set off on your next journey, make sure your car is in good shape. A lot of basic maintenance upkeep can be done without a mechanic, including checking your tire pressure and oil levels, but it’s best to have a mechanic perform a full inspection before you hit the road. Go ahead and have your oil changed, too, especially if it’s a longer trip.
Create a budget
On any vacation, our credit cards can get away from us with constant meals at restaurants, ticket costs, and other expenses. Before you leave, create a budget and stick to it along the way. Set aside money for gas, restaurants and other meals, excursions, and emergencies.
Prepare your car
In addition to pre-road trip maintenance, you’ll want to prepare your car for the trip in other ways. Put together an emergency kit with items like a first aid kit, jumper cables, blankets, and a flashlight. Fill your car up with gas the night before, and make sure you have snacks and a playlist or podcast ready for the drive.