As a frequent traveler, I have learned to get creative to make the most of my time when going on road trips. Also, I learned to avoid cities at 5 pm, take the car to a mechanic before I go and find the best healthy snacks for the road! Use these road trip tips and hacks for your next epic adventure!
Getting Ready Before Going on a Road Trip
To make sure you have a great road trip, you should do a little preparation beforehand! Make a packing list of everything you need to take with you, have your documents and map your trip out.
1. Check Your Vehicle Before Heading Out
At least a week before you leave for a long road trip, take your car to the mechanic to check the fluid levels, brakes, tires. Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables!
2. Make Sure to Have Your Documents
If you are traveling without current license, registration, and insurance, you could be in trouble if you get pulled over. Also, clear up any tickets before you go.
3. Clean Your Car Before Leaving on a Road Trip
There is not much worse than being stuck in a dirty car for several days. Before you go, clean it. You’ll thank me later.
4. Map the Trip with Google Maps
Enter your start and final destination, and get an idea of timing. Use Google Maps while you’re driving to get updates about traffic jams, accidents and speed traps. Just don’t be afraid to stop if something interests you like a local shop or a cafe. You never know what adventure you’ll find!
5. Compare Toll and No Toll Routes
Toll roads can save you some time, but they can add up quickly! Compare the time driving with and without toll roads in google maps and choose for your budget and time!
6. Anticipate Traffic and Plan Ahead (As Much As You Can)
On a road trip, it’s not hard to find yourself in a city at rush hour. Plan out your trip beforehand to avoid it.
The options at gas stations, convenience stores, and fast food chains along the way can leave you bloated while on the road. Your body already is running on low energy since you’ve been sitting in the car for hours.That’s why I recommend packing a good bag of snacks for a road trip! That way, you will spend less time and money than stopping at restaurants and gas stations on the way.
Take These Healthy and Delicious Road Trip Snacks
You have to keep in mind so much when you’re getting ready. To make it a little easier, I made a packing list for a trip you are going on! I use it every time I travel and you should too!
A few Packing Tips Just for A Road Trip:
- Put a few dryer sheets in your bag to keep your clean clothes smelling fresh, while preventing the odor of the dirty ones.
- Pack paper towels, hand wipes, sanitizer and tissues at the front seat to always have available.
- For longer distance car trips, pack an overnight bag that’s separate from your luggage and fill it with daily essentials, such as pajamas and toiletries. You can leave your bulky luggage in the car if you’re stopping at a hotel for a night.
- Pack a spare car key. Things happen and you will be glad you were prepared!
- Bonus tip: If you’re going hiking or camping on your road trip, see Hiking Packing List for everything you’d need on your hike!
On the Road: Long-Distance Road Trip Tips
9. Split the Time Driving
It will get tiring for one driving to take the lead the whole trip. Talk with your road trip friends about splitting some of the time driving so that everyone can rest. This is especially important for long distance road trips.
10. Divide the Responsibilities
Some people are good at navigating, others are good at planning meals. Figure out your travel companions talents to plan your trip. That way you will get things done efficiently! And don’t forget to figure out who has the best road trip music on their phone.
11. Take a Cooler With You
Pack a cooler to store drinks and snacks in case you get hungry!
12. Take a Water Bottle and A Coffee Mug
Instead of buying water and wasting all of the plastic, refill your reusable water bottle at gas stations. You can also do the same with a travel coffee mug, and bring some coffee from your house to get you started so that you don’t have to make a coffee stop before leaving your block.
13. Check the Driving Laws for the Countries/States You’re Visiting
If you’re traveling across states or countries, make sure you’re aware of the rules of the road for the US states (each state has its own rules), see them at USA.gov.
14. Use a Parking App
If you’re going to a bigger city, you will probably have trouble finding free parking. To score cheaper parking in the city, I use ParkWhiz, which helps make payments simpler and easier to compare the best prices. Look up a coupon code to use on the app.
15. Use a Gas Card
You will spend a lot of money on gas, might as well get cashback. Do some research on travel credit cards that give you extra points for travel and have a good sign up offer. Sometimes the categories rotate, but you could get a lot of perks.
16. Ask a Local Where to Eat
Someone local to the area will have an insight to a tastier and cheaper meal ideas than a guidebook could ever suggest. Find a local to ask for the best restaurants in town. If there is no one to ask, use Like a Local Guide for some ideas on places to eat and things to do.
17. How to Spend Your Time on a Road Trip?
Use my list of things to do on your long distance road trip to make the trip go by faster!
USA Road Trip Tips
18. Tips for Long Drive in Car – See What Fun Things You Can See On Your Route
There is so much to see around the country when you are driving! It might be a scenic overlook, a natural bridge or a quick stop at a National Park. If you have the time, look for other fun things to do on your road trip. US has so much to offer, see this US bucket list for inspiration. Roadtrippers can also help you find scenic drives on your route.
19. Check the Gas Prices
Gus prices vary across states, leave a little extra in the budget because you might be paying a lot more for gas than you’re used to! It’s especially true for small towns. More often than not, prices in the middle of nowhere are higher than in bigger cities.
20. On a Longer Road Trip, Bring Cash With You
Some state and national parks require cash payments for parking and using the facilities. Small town gas stations may only accept cash! Some parking meters and toll machines can only accept cash. Take some out at your local bank to avoid charges.
21. Stop at a Farmer’s Market for Local Produce
Farmers’ markets are great for trying out regional foods from local businesses and farmers. Find the farmer’s market schedule at ams.usda.gov.
22. Don’t Underestimate How Big the US Is
The United States is really big, so you should do the research about the states you’re going through. Everything from the weather and to weird laws and hurricane/tornado seasons!
23. Get Inspiration from My US Ultimate Bucket List
Are you going on a road trip soon? Tell me where you’re going next in the comments below!