8 tips for planning the perfect road trip
8 tips for planning the perfect road trip

Have you ever dreamed of taking that perfect road trip? You know the road trip I’m talking about. The one where you can take your time, see the sites that you really want to see and just enjoy the scenery around you. Me and my family just took one of those road trips. I’m going to give you some tips that made our road trip a success. 

Plan ahead

Before you hit the road make a wish list of the sites that you want to see. Rank those sites by importance. If there is a site that you absolutely don’t want to miss make sure you put that at the top of your list. Plan your route so that you can see the most without wearing yourself out. 

Read guides on the area you want to visit

I picked up a fantastic guide at our local used book store before our road trip. This guide helped us so much. Had I not read this book I would have never known about Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument or about many of the other little places we stopped along the way. A good guide can be a valuable asset to finding those off the beaten path places that you don’t want to miss. 

Be flexible

When you make your list of places that you want to be remember to be flexible. You might find that one of the places you visit completely carries you away and you end up staying way longer than you expected. Be mentally prepared to not be able to visit all of the places on your list. Think of it as just a wish list. This is why you should add the things you aren’t super excited about at the bottom of the list. The things you wouldn’t be heartbroken about if you didn’t make it to see them. 

Don’t drive too much

We broke our trip up so that we didn’t spend more than 2-3 hours on the road. This allowed us to really enjoy the places that we stopped so that we weren’t in a hurry to move on to the next thing. And it also kept us from getting too worn out from being in the car for too long. 

Ask locals for recommendations

Don’t rely on stopping at the big chain restaurants or the typical tourist traps. Ask locals for recommendations for places to eat, stay and play. You never know what hidden gems you will find. 

Plan way ahead for gas stops

If you are out west especially there are stretches of road where you will go for miles without seeing a gas station. Make sure to plan ahead so you don’t find yourself on the side of the road. 

Download your Google Maps

Be sure to download your route on Google Maps just in case you drive through an area where you don’t have a signal. This will allow you to still use your map for navigation while you are in offline mode. You sure don’t want to get lost in the middle of nowhere!

Get off the highway

Don’t just take the highway your whole time. Take the more scenic routes. It may add more time to your trip, but I promise it will be worth it. 

I hope you find these tips helpful! Have you taken an epic road trip? Let me know your tips and tricks in the comments!

8 tips for planning the perfect road trip

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  1. Were thinking of taking a cross country road trip with several stops in an RV with our two young daughters and these are great tips!

  2. Not driving too much is an excellent tip! Otherwise everyone can get cranky, I’ve been there done that and it wasn’t fun, we were with friends on a trip to a concert and we had little time to get back home so we drove for 12 hours straight.

  3. I agree – definitely take the scenic trip when possible and ask locals for places to eat. Will make a huge difference in your experience!

  4. These are excellent tips for preparing for a road trip. I would also say to check your car before you leave – the air pressure in the tires, the oil and the cooler. The last thing you want to do is broke down.

  5. Great tips for planning a road trip. I really like the one about getting off the highway – sometimes we are in such a rush to get where we are going, that we forget about enjoying it all along the way!

  6. Who would have knew that not driving too much would be a wise tip for a road trip? It’s so true!

  7. I would love to take a scenic road trip with just my husband. If the kids are in the car we tend to make it as fast a trip as possible so we miss out on a lot.

  8. I never thought to read guides ahead of time or ask locals for recommendations and tips — those both are really awesome ideas! My husband and I would like to go on a road trip from Washington to Nevada this year!

  9. Reading these makes me excited for our next road trip, and that says a lot because our last one was a nightmare for our family. We had to drive 1700 plus miles with six kids and it was just awful! But I think if we do these suggestions it would make a difference! Thank you for putting this together!

  10. I like the idea of asking locals where to eat. When we travel we always try to find places we couldn’t normally get back home.

  11. asking for local recommendations for people that actually live there is a great tip. We have done tis a few times and worked out better.

  12. I Agree With The Idea Of Planning Your Plan And Following It To The Tee. This Is A Great Post That I Am Going To Share With My Friends Who Are Planning A West Coast Road Trip Next Month.

  13. I want to do more road trips in 2020! I love all the tips you mentioned. Getting off the highway is important to explore more hidden gems.

  14. Planning ahead and asking locals for tips makes a world of difference on roadtrips. Equally so does knowing where the good rest stops are, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

  15. Planning is everything! I love combing through points of interest on Google Maps beforehand to find cool spots to stop at along the way.

  16. Be flexible. Yes, absolutely the most important factor while travelling. So many things already happened on my trips, no matter what amount of planning. And those unexpected things caused lots of fun experiences, simply because we were open to be flexible and find solution on the go.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. I would love to do a road trip some day, these are amazing tips! Will save for later thanks!

  18. My fiance insisted on driving the full 24 hours from Florida to New Hampshire. He wouldn’t let me drive so I stayed up with him. We were both cranky by the time we got to the campsite. I definitely recommend not driving for long periods of time. He was just so excited to see his son in Massachusetts.

    1. We always end up tired and cranky when we drive too long. I can totally relate to not being able to sleep when someone is driving. I always feel the need to keep them company.

  19. Awesome tips for a great trip! Will be using some of these tips for the Summer

  20. I do love planning, even just for a road trip! It makes it more hassle free and makes it even more enjoyable!

  21. Good advice! Especially downloading google maps!

  22. Great tips. This sure is very useful
    I will shqre your article with my friends.

  23. What great tips!!! We normally take trips that involve little driving LOL! I am not fun in the car after a while

  24. I love talking to locals about the best places to stay or eat when I’m on vacation. You can end up finding some amazing places and they really are normally cheaper than going to the touristy places on the highway.

  25. My boyfriend and I love going on roadtrips. I make sure to pack food, motion-sickness meds, and I get my roadtrip playlist ready for the whole journey.

  26. I noticed that when we were going across the country, the coolest thing to do was take all of the backroads. So, on our GPS we just selected “no tolls, no highways”. We got to see the coolest antique shops. There was this one small town in Arkansas that had a walmart, a sonic, and antique shop, and I swear to you, NOTHING ELSE for miles and miles. IT WAS SO COOL. Great tips!

    1. Turning the GPS on no tolls, no highways is a great tip!

  27. I agree on the get out of the high way, I did just now when i visit Switzerland several years a go, it is an awesome way to view those never seen before scenery. Nice post, by the way keep it up

  28. I love road trips and have been on many. These are some useful tips that I can say from experience will help greatly!

  29. I completely get your point on planning for the gas stop because we’ve recently run out of gas in the middle of nowhere my brother had to hike with the 5lt just to fill up

  30. Going on a roadtrip in 2 weeks. I’m keeping all of these tips in mind.

  31. We will be going on a road trip soon so this was very helpful.

  32. Lots of useful tips there! I totally agree with downloading google maps for offline mode. It helped us out a tons of time too.

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