If you’re planning a road trip, it can be intimidating to pick an endpoint destination and realize, Wow, that’s actually 18 hours of driving. We get it, especially if you have kids in tow who need to be entertained for miles of endless driving. However, with the right set of supplies, the right attitude, and a sense of humor, your road trip will be smooth sailing. So, load up that podcast, get your GPS navigation ready, and adjust your mirrors – it’s time to hit the road!
Below are 8 tips to make your road trip fun and successful:
1. Make sure your set of wheels is reliable
First and foremost: you can’t get to where you need to go if you have an unreliable vehicle. There’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about having a beater. With that said, when you’re 60 miles into a desert road and your transmission fails – you’ll likely be wishing you had anything but your beloved 1985 VW Rabbit. You don’t necessarily have to make the jump to a luxury vehicle, but it might make sense for you to look for new cars for sale. Especially if your car is an older model or has had a lot of issues in the past, you should think about investing in a new vehicle. At the very least, consider a rental car service if you’re unsure of how your car will fair during a demanding road trip.
2. Brings snacks… lots of snacks
If you want to minimize the stops you will make while out on the road, make sure to bring plenty of snacks. Not only will this keep everyone’s morale up, but it’ll also ensure that you won’t have to pay that gas station mark-up on essential snacks. Plus, have your kids ever had a hunger-related meltdown? Don’t risk that stress, have snacks at the ready along with their favorite toys.
Our favorite car and kid-friendly snacks include:
3. Create a basic plan but have some wiggle room
8:00 AM wake-up, 8:30 AM breakfast, 9:00 AM hit the road, 11:30 AM….
Sure, having a plan is crucial to getting to where you need to be within a given timeframe. But if you plan out your schedule too strictly, you may not get to participate in activities that you want to do spontaneously. You’ll want to leave some breathing room in your schedule so you can check out a roadside attraction or stop at an overlook you find while driving.
4. Invest in a gas card
On a road trip, you’ll inevitably be using a ton of gas. If you have enough time beforehand, sign up for a gas rewards card. Many gas cards give you as much as 2-3% back on fuel. With the average American family spending between $2,000-$3,000 on gas each year, it makes sense to save money on this large expense.
5. Carry cash for tolls
Toll roads show up in places you would never expect. And honestly, one of the worst possible situations to come home from a road trip is a mailbox utterly stuffed with fines from missed tolls.
6. Text your friends and family your location
Better to be safe than sorry. In the unlikely event that anything should go wrong while you’re on a road trip, it’s a good idea to give your loved ones information about your current location and where you’re heading to the next day.
7. Talk to the locals
At home, you might avoid small talk and keep to yourself. But when you’re on a road trip, be open and friendly. Talk to locals to glean insight about local hotspots, secret bars, and the best restaurants in the area you’re exploring.
8. Bring a spare car key
This might seem obvious but an extra spare car key is essential. You might be the most responsible person on planet earth but hey, accidents happen. And as the saying goes, “even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. You can’t plan out freak accidents. So, with that in mind, make sure to have extra key unless you’re ready to fork over some major money to have AAA come out and save you from locking yourself out of your car.
Road trips are a classic, popular way to explore a new place. With the right planning and supplies, your road trip will provide with memories you’ll remember and look back on fondly.