There is an art to how to plan out a road trip to ensure that you get the most out of your road trip. Taking the time to plan out a road trip in detail will make the trip memorable and stress-free. You should plan every detail of your road trip from mapping out the best routes to take to where you will eat.
Of course, planning also helps you to avoid mishaps on your journey. Following some simple about how to plan out a road trip can make the road trip a success.
Start Planning in Advance
Early planning will give you plenty of time to make sure that everything is taken care of and ready to go. It will also be a great way to budget. Planning a couple of months in advance will allow you to set money aside for any auto repairs that you need without feeling the pinch.
With the right amount of planning, you will be able to get all the repairs that you need to get done like RV glass repairs. Planning ahead and budgeting in repairs will help to keep you and your passengers safe on your road trip.
As part of your planning consider getting all the maintenance done that you need for your vehicle or RV. For example, before you hit the road be sure that you have an oil change done, get your brakes inspected, and have the mechanic check all of your fluids.
There is nothing worse than breaking down far from home. The cost of emergency vehicle repairs in an area that you are not familiar with can be astounding. A little preparation spent at your local mechanic can pay off greatly in the end.
How far out should you plan out a road trip? There is no right answer here. Some people that are doing cross country road trips start planning a year in advance. Other people like to plan out a road trip with very little time. There is no wrong time to start planning.
The sooner you start planning the better. The more time you have to plan the more opportunity you will have to:
- Save money
- Plan your journey in detail
- Make sure you have everything you need for the trip
The more time you have, the better off the trip will be. Rushing at the last minute to plan out a road trip, the least likely it is that you will forget something. Road trips can be a great adventure if you are well prepared.
How Will You Travel?
When you plan out a road trip there are quite a few decisions that you will have to make, but none more important than what you drive on your road trip. Will you take your car? Will you rent a vehicle? Asking yourself a few simple questions can help you decide which the best option is for you and your passengers:
- How many people will be traveling with you?
- What type of luggage or equipment will be you taking with you?
- Can your vehicle hold up to the rigors of a long road trip?
Let’s say your vehicle can seat 5 people comfortably, but there are 6 people on board for the trip. Taking your own vehicle and making everyone fit is not the best option for long hours in the car. You can rent a vehicle that can comfortably fit everyone.
What are you taking on your trip? Can your vehicle hold all the luggage and equipment or should you consider pulling an equipment trailer? You want to be comfortable, prepared, and safe while you are on your road trip.
In many cases you will be able to make do with what you have, in other cases, you may have to combine what you have with rentals to make it all work. Some road trippers will pull their pontoon boats along for the ride which may need special equipment, other road trippers like to travel light, and do not need any additional equipment.
How you travel is entirely up to you, but being prepared is vital in all cases. Who is coming on the road trip with you? Is a very important question. For example, if you are taking the kids then you will need to make special arrangements for everything from snacks to the number of stops that you make along the way.
The same is true if you are traveling with pets, a good dog kennel can go a long way in keeping your pet safe on the road and keeping the mayhem down to a minimum. Of course, if you are traveling with pets and kids you will need to make sure that you have access to a vehicle that can easily support these types of passengers. If you are driving a small sports car as your everyday car, you may want to consider a rental for this trip.
Plan Out a Road Trip For Safety
Depending on where you are traveling there are items that you should have in your vehicle just in case. A staple that should be packed for every type of road trip regardless of the destination or traveling conditions is water supplies. Bottles of water can be stashed in the vehicle just in case you are stranded anywhere. Don’t forget to bring water supplies for the dogs and the kids while you are at it.
Pack blankets for use during winter months or if you are traveling to a cold region. If you get stuck on the side of the road, it is important that you and your passengers can stay warm until help arrives.
What are some other items that you should pack to enhance your safety on the road:
- An emergency kit that includes a flashlight
- A working jack and a tire iron that fits your wheels
- Snacks like protein bars
When you plan out a road trip you want to consider all the possible things that can go wrong and prepare. Of course, you want to stay positive about the road trip, but it is always a good idea to prepare just in case.
Having an emergency kit that includes jumper cables, a flashlight, and other just in case equipment, can be a huge help if you find yourself broken down. Having a working jack and a tire iron that fits your wheels, along with a good condition spare, can ensure a flat tire does not ruin your road trip.
Grab an inexpensive earpiece speaker if your vehicle is not Bluetooth equipped. You mustn’t take your eyes off the road. Hands-free phone connectivity is vital for the safety of your trip. Many of the earpieces today are Bluetooth connected to your phone which means you never have to take your eyes off the road to answer calls, make calls, and in some cases have voice-read text messages.
A little bit of preparedness can go a long way in ensuring you stay safe during your road trip in all types of conditions. Something as simple as a few protein bars stashed in the glove box can help to sustain you if you are sidelined for an extended period of time waiting for help.
Where Should You Plan On Stopping On Your Road Trip?
When you plan out a road trip you should be planning every stop. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have an RV where you can pull those window drapes closed and get some shut-eye, then you do not have to worry about planning hotel type stops.
Look for stops along the way that will add value to your road trip. For example, the diner on the back road that serves the world-famous cheese fries is a great place to grab a quick meal.
If that diner happens to be next to a motel that has a couple of pools, you can try the fries, and rest for the night at the same time. Ideally, when you plan out a road trip, you want to always be able to kill two birds with one stone. In other words, plan your stops to accomplish more than one thing, or you will be stopping far more times than necessary and eating up your vacation time.
Look for the must-see attractions in each area that you are driving through, and consider some of the off the beaten path activities as well, but plan reasonably. Unless you have unlimited time to dedicate to the road trip, then you will have to make tough decisions about where and when to stop.
To successfully plan out a road trip, all the little details like how and when you will stop for gas, where you will stay, and where you will eat, are very important considerations. Mapping out your locations and having a general idea of where you are going will help the trip go smoother.
There is nothing more frustrating than driving around hungry and tired trying to find a place to eat and rest. If you pre-plan where and when those things will occur, you will have less stress on the road. There is a big difference when you know how many hours you have until you stop and driving around aimlessly hoping to find a place to stop at.
How Can You Save Money When You Plan Out a Road Trip?
There are quite a few expenses when you plan out a road trip that you have to plan for, and there are a few tips on how you can save some money on those expenses. Gas, food, lodging, and other costs can be reigned in by following a few simple tips.
- Download money-saving gas apps. There are gas apps that you can download that will help you find the cheapest gas in the area. There are also gas apps from most of the major vendors that will give you cents off and reward every time you fill-up. You can combine the two to start saving on the cost of fuel.
- Apply for credit cards for gas companies. Most major gas companies offer credit cards that come with built-in savings sometimes as much as $.50 per gallon when you use their card to fill up. It can be worth it to get a card for the trip.
- Book lodging early on from home.
Book lodging before you hit the road to take advantage of savings that you may not find anywhere other than online. Booking lodging ahead can help you to save a significant amount of money, and ensure that you have a place to stay.
Check out vacation rental properties, and Air BNB type rentals to help find affordable lodging. Search for food coupons and savings that are available. A lot of restaurants have buy-one-get-one deals, or deals where if you pay for adults, kids eat free. Map out your trip to include stops at restaurants that offer great savings.
Before you hit the road budget for how much you plan on spending each day that you will be on the road than stick to it. It can be easy to go off budget on little things like drinks, snacks, and unplanned meals. While you want to be able to have a good time on the road and not deprive yourself, it is always best to work within a budget.
If you are traveling with friends, share the cost by figuring out how much you plan on spending on gas, lodging, and food, then splitting that cost evenly. If you are lucky enough to be traveling with friends, but one person in charge of the budget to make the process easier.
A road trip is a great way to see the country and enjoy a relatively inexpensive escape. With focused pre-planning, and putting effort into savings, you can make the journey a lot more affordable.
Enjoy the journey. Plan for fun, plan for safety, and plan your budget and you will have the time of your life on your next road trip.