27 Tips For Planning The Perfect Road Trip

The classic road trip has made a comeback. More Americans than ever are taking to the roads for vacations and family visits. According to a survey completed in May 2020 by the GasBuddy app, nearly one in three Americans said they planned to go on a summer road trip.

Road trips are a fantastic way to make memories and see new places and things. Whether you are staying local for day trips or hitting the road on a long bucket-list trip across the country, there are a few things you can do to make your trip better and memorable for the right reasons.

These tips will help you experience less stress and fewer arguments if traveling with others, and help keep you safe.

1. Outline Your Itinerary

Planning where you want to go, what you want to see, and how long you will spend at each place is important.

Otherwise, you could spend your entire vacation at your first stop, or rush through important visits and then have too much time at other less-important sites. You don’t want an hour-by-hour plan but a general idea of what you want to see and do and how much time you think each activity or stop will take.

Be sure to build in some extra time for that last-minute thing you want to stop and see.

2. Determine Must-See Sights

I often ask everyone who is traveling together to make a list of two or three things they want to see or do and to share a few things that would be fun but don’t need to go at the top of the list. When everyone traveling together combines their items, you can usually hit at least two of everyone’s top choices. Yes, everyone gets to do a couple of things they have their heart set on if you plan accordingly.

Pro Tip: As you plan your trip, don’t plan too much driving in a day. Scenic routes are fun, but decide in advance the most time you want to spend driving and stick with it. Few people enjoy days on end in the car.

3. Know Who’s Traveling With You

Determine who will be making the trip. The success or failure of a vacation often depends on who you are traveling with and how compatible you are. If you are driving for hours and one of you likes complete silence and the other thinks you have to have a constant conversation, it might not be fun for either of you. Similar tension can ensue if one of you wants to just get to your destination as quickly as you can, but the other wants to stop at every other town to see new things along the way. Know who you are traveling with, how each person likes to travel, and how you will make this road trip work. Hopefully, you can meet in the middle or take turns with your preferences.

If spending the night, determine the sleeping arrangements in advance, too. When traveling with another couple, make sure everyone is on the same page. Some couples think sharing a room is cozy and fun; others want more privacy and want separate rooms for each pair.

4. Create A Budget

Some people feel a vacation is a time to splurge a bit, while others want to stick to a strict budget and do everything on the cheap. So this is something you need to discuss before hitting the road. Even if you are making a solo trip, you need to plan a budget. You will need to budget for gas, meals, lodging, activities, snacks, admittance fees, turnpike tolls, souvenirs, alcohol, and other drinks.

I usually determine how much I want to spend and then break down the costs from there. If you are traveling with someone, you need to discuss what type of places they desire to stay, the kinds of meals they will eat, and the total budget they can afford.

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