Tips for a Successful Road Trip

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There’s something about the idea of cruising down the open road that ignites a fire in some people, and it’s easy to see why, as the sense of freedom and enjoyment you can get from cruising down the road with a few friends on a road trip can’t be understated.

Just because road trips can be fun, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be planned properly to ensure success (i.e. arriving on time) and safety.

Although it can be fun to be spontaneous and to take different routes, in general, the more planning you do beforehand, the more you can relax and enjoy the experience.

Create a Detailed Plan

Work out which route you’ll be taking, which roads you’ll be driving on, where you’ll be stopping off at each night (you don’t need to highlight specific hotels/motels, just towns/cities that will have accommodation) and how long you plan on driving each day.

Driving across the USAThe more specific you can be, the better, so if you can also plan where you’ll stop off for lunch, fill up on gas and take bathroom breaks then that’s even better

Plan all of this on a map, and take the map with you. Even in the days of smart phones and Google Maps, taking a ‘proper’ printed map (and a torch) with you is still an essential on any road trip.

I personally like to plan/brainstorm road trips on my computer (using Google Maps) as it’s easy to do and gives you lots of information about what’s on the way.

Once I’ve planned it on there, however, I get my map book out and work out the same route on my map – just to make sure it translates.

It is recommended that you don’t drive more than 10 hours a day, as it becomes extremely unsafe after that.

When taking a road trip, I personally like to take things slow, so I’ll plan to drive 5 hours a day and make plenty of stops along the way.

One way that you can work this out (if you’re running on a deadline) is to look at how many days you have to get to your destination, then estimate how many hours worth of driving it will take to get there (by looking at the speed limits of the roads/highways you’ll be traveling on) and then divide the number of hours it’ll take by the number of days you have. This will tell you how many hours per day you have to drive.

Lastly, once you’ve created your travel itinerary, create a second copy and give it to one of your friends/family so that they’ll know where you’re supposed to be at all times.

North south sign

Give Your Vehicle a Thorough Inspection

Before you leave, one of the most important things you need to do is to check the road-worthiness of your vehicle.

If you’re not too car-friendly, it’s worth having your vehicle checked over by a professional mechanic (or someone who knows what they’re doing).

As a guideline, here are a few things you need to check out:

  • The tires – Are they balding? Do they have tears in them? Do you have a spare tire?
  • The lights – Do they all work? Do any of them need a new bulb?
  • The brakes – Test these out thoroughly and make sure you have enough brake fluid.
  • The oil – Is your oil topped up? Do you need an oil change?
  • The water – Is there enough water in the car?

Note that even on a new car these things are worth checking out, just in case.

Bring Plenty of Loose Change

It’s always a good idea to have plenty of loose change floating around in the car to pay for things. Here’s a few examples of when you’ll need small change to pay for things:

  • Toll roads
  • Meals/Drinks/Snacks (for when they don’t accept credit cards)
  • Pay phone

So there you have it! For more information, check out this article about using GPS-based apps to make road trips easier.


Related posts:

  1. Using GPS-Based Apps to Make USA Road Trips Easier
  2. The Best Ways of Getting Around – Transport Tips




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