Road trips can be a fun and exciting experience, but they can quickly go downhill if you don’t have everything in order. Although it might seem thrilling, going on a spontaneous road trip can leave you spending a lot of money and feeling lost. Coming from a seasoned traveler, planning well in advance is the number one key to having the perfect road trip.
Here are some road trip tips and tricks to keep in mind when planning your road trip.
10 Road Trip Tips and Tricks:
Use the following recommendations to make your road trip the best one yet.
#1 Make a Budget and Stick to It
When you first decide you’re going to take a road trip, you should immediately think of the cost. Estimate how many miles you’ll be traveling to figure out gas costs, then factor in your accommodation stays, food, and money for recreational activities. Write all of these numbers down and add up the total to see what your expected expenses are.
Use your final number as the maximum to spend on your road trip. It might be a good idea to factor in about $100 to $200 extra as emergency funds.
#2 Plan Where You’ll Stay in Advance
It isn’t the best idea to stay at hotels and motels you find along the way to your destination. Always plan your room accommodations. This will help you determine exactly how much money you’ll be spending, and you can feel at peace knowing you have a place to stay. Searching for a place to stay in the middle of the night is not fun.
A great way to help you plan your stays is by using travel sights, such as MotelMatcher, to help you find motels in the areas you will be driving through. Sleeping in the car is uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe, so ensure you book motels and hotels throughout your road trip.
#3 Create an Itinerary of Everything You Want To Do
If you have a long list of things you want to see and do, it is best to create an itinerary, so you have enough time to do everything. Ensure you have each day planned out, so you don’t feel overwhelmed figuring out what to do. This will also help you make your budget if any of your interests cost money.
#4 Get Your Car Ready for Traveling
Never take a car that is prone to issues on a road trip. This will set you up with quite a few potential problems and extra costs you weren’t planning on.
Cars that are over ten years old are two times more likely to break down on the side of the road. So, use a car that is a little newer and generally in good condition. Prepare it for your trip by doing the following:
- Ensure your car is up to date on registrations, inspections, and insurance
- Make sure there aren’t any lights on that require you to get the car fixed
- Check the pressure of your tires
- Fill the tank before leaving
- Sign up for a roadside assistance program
- Ensure you have a spare tire, tools for the tire, and jumper cables
#5 Ensure Your Driver’s License and Passport Are up to Date
Take out your license and check the date on it to see if it needs to get renewed. If it does, then get it done as soon as possible. Police can give you a ticket for having an expired license, which is another possible unexpected cost.
If you are taking a road trip out of the United States, such as to Canada, make sure your passport is up to date as well. Canada customs will not allow you to pass the border without an in-date passport.
#6 Carry Cash as a Backup to Credit and Debit Cards
About 41% of Americans don’t use cash as payment during a normal week and solely rely on their credit and debit cards. While our modern world is switching to cashless payments, it is still wise to keep some cash with you just in case something happens to your cards.
Take out a few hundred dollars to keep on hand as backup money. Using an ATM outside your bank’s company can come with some hefty fees, so do this before you leave.
#7 Print or Save All Confirmation Emails and Receipts
Always take pictures, save, or print your confirmation emails and receipts for accommodations, activities, and even restaurant reservations. You’ll often need this information to check into hotels, and the email itself is sometimes your ticket for activities.
Technology glitches can also happen, causing your reservations to get mixed up. Have your confirmation information on hand as proof of purchase.
#8 Pack Snacks and Drinks, Even if You Don’t Think You Need Them
Even if your road trip is only a few hours, be sure to pack snacks and drinks. Anything can happen, and you should prepare. Your car could break down, or you could get stuck in traffic for long periods without any restaurants or gas stations in sight. Not to mention the high prices of snacks you’ll find at gas stations and rest stops.
Stock up on your favorite nutritious snacks and drinks at your local grocery store before your road trip.
#9 Take Driving Breaks
No matter what you tell yourself, you will need breaks from driving. Approximately one in 25 adults fall asleep at the wheel, and people who get six hours or less of sleep are more likely to do this. So, don’t pull an all-nighter and drive through the night just because you want to beat some time. Take breaks any time you feel tired, even if it’s in the daytime.
#10 Plan Your Rest Stops Ahead of Time
Planning your rest stops will help you designate meal times and rest. This will help you be at your best when you get back behind the wheel. It’ll also give you a chance to fill up on gas along the way, so you aren’t scrambling for a gas station when your gas meter is hovering over empty.
Get on the Road and Have Fun!
Start getting ready for your next road trip by planning out all the details and ensuring you have updated identification and multiple payment options. Follow the above tips and tricks to create a fun-filled road trip that you’ll be talking about for years to come!