23 Road Trip Tips and Hacks for the Best Road Trip of Your Life

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.

7. Snacks to Bring On Your Next Road Trip

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

Snacks to Bring on a Road Trip

8. Use My Ultimate Packing List for Your Trip

Printable Packing List

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

Long Distance Road Trip

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

Be Prepared for different state laws

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!

Things to do on a long road trip

USA Road Trip Tips

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!


4.7/5 - (3 votes)
Hi, I'm Marina, passionate traveler and blogger, based in the United States and travelling the world. Thanks for following me on my life and travel adventures!


  1. Katie
    August 19, 2019

    That’s a great list of tips! I will be going on a road trip to Montana soon and will have to check out Like a Local and Road-trippers to make the most of it! So many things to see, so little vacation time!

  2. Sara
    August 22, 2019

    So many great tips! I love your suggestions about finding a local farmers market, and asking local people where to eat. I will keep these in mind the next time we travel.

    1. Marina
      August 25, 2019

      For me, traveling is also about finding the best places to eat! Where are you going next?

  3. Heena
    August 22, 2019

    These are very important and useful tips that we always followed and remember to go through the checklist. I love traveling with my family and exploring new places.

    1. Marina
      August 25, 2019

      Me too! Travel is my favorite thing to do in my free time! You can learn so much from it – good for the body and the soul!

  4. Kathy Walker
    August 22, 2019

    Great list! I’m leaving on a road trip tomorrow and can’t wait to get back on the road!. Your tips are very useful, thanks

    1. Marina
      August 25, 2019

      Road trips are my favorite! Where are you going?

  5. molly
    June 10, 2020

    Spare key! – my favorite tip. I also like to use an overnight bag so that is another favorite tip! Great and easy to follow list!

  6. Emma
    June 10, 2020

    Some really great tips here! We’re crossing everything that our Colorado/Wyoming/South Dakota roadtrip can still go ahead later this year, it’s our favourite way to travel!

  7. Kelly
    June 10, 2020

    I am the same as you. I love to travel, but I also love my roadtrips. During the warmer months, I will go on one every weekend that I’m not travelling. There is so much to see. I love the tips of having your car checked over before you go. So many people forget this critical step.

  8. Carrie Ann
    June 10, 2020

    Excellent tips! I love that you mentioned how gas prices can be higher in rural areas. Before my first big solo road trip (Boston to Phoenix), I budgeted my gas costs based on my local prices. With that much driving through the middle of the country, I ended up going waaaaay over my estimate 🙁 Lesson learned!

  9. Michelle Segrest
    June 10, 2020

    I love road trips, and these are some fantastic ideas and suggestions! I especially love your list of things to do on a road trip and your list of snacks! Road trips are just a blast, and since we still can’t fly to most places yet, I feel inspired to hit the road and have an adventure! Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Pam
    June 10, 2020

    This is such a great list! We’re planning on doing a few road trips this summer/fall since coronavirus messed up our traveling this year so definitely saving this!

  11. Derek
    June 11, 2020

    Great tips, I’ll have to bookmark this as I’m planning a long road trip for our summer holiday this year. I love your advice not to underestimate how huge America is. I love when European friends tell me they’d like to fly into NYC and drive to LA in 10 days – I tell them not to stop or sleep and maybe they can do it in 12 haha 🙂

  12. Kat
    June 11, 2020

    Great article with lots of helpful tips! And very timely since, like most people, I’ll be doing a road trip this summer. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Jay Artale
    June 12, 2020

    The best road trips are when you’ve done a bit of planning and preparation first. But all too often we’ve started driving somewhere, and then decided to turn it into a longer road trip, and then had to scramble for directions, food, water, and fuel. I’d much rather be prepared than be unorganized.

  14. Maroof
    August 31, 2023

    Useful tips for road trips. Thank you for sharing these tips and ideas to manage road trips.


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