How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip

I feel like your sense of adventure always kicks in when the weather warms up and I think road trips are the perfect answer!

Mike and I have taken a variety of road trips over the last 10 years. From moving from Minnesota to Rhode Island, from Rhode Island to Florida, a 2-week tour of the South of France, and a week road-trip through Alaska, we’ve learned a few things about getting ready to hit the road.

Whether you’re headed out-of-town to the lake house or planning an epic family vacation across the U.S., here are my best road trip tips for an adventurous, well-planned, and unforgettable trip.

SET THE EXPECTATIONS

When you first start planning it’s a good idea to let everyone weigh in and set the expectations for the trip.

  1. Do you plan on making stops along the way or are you on the fast track to the destination?
  2. Who’s driving? Will it be divided by hours, days, or when someone gets tired?
  3. How will gas be split?
  4. Will you stay in hostels, hotels, or apartment rentals? Do you need to make reservations ahead of time?
  5. Will you stop for food in restaurants or bring snacks and meals with you?
  6. Does the driver mind if everyone sleeps or should a passenger be awake?
  7. Are spontaneous stops okay or is there a schedule to stick to?
  8. What’s the budget?

RESEARCH & PLAN

  1. Consider the time of day you’ll be driving through busy cities. There’s nothing worse than being held up by heavy traffic. (Waze traffic app is a good resource to use when driving through large cities)
  2. Figure out where you’ll take the scenic route and when it’s best to hit the freeway
  3. Determine how many hours you want to drive in a day and where you will be staying each night
  4. Make reservations
  5. It can be fun to map out goofy things along the way (i.e. the worlds largest ball of twine)
  6. Although you’ve planned the route ahead of time, be open and flexible for a change of plans
  7. Consider joining AAA for roadside assistance

BEFORE YOU GO

  1. Make sure your car is ready (clean the car, do your check-ups, change the oil and/or tires)
  2. Pack the night before you leave. Make sure it’s not too overloaded and you can see out the back window
  3. If there are things you’ll need during the drive, put them in a place that is easy to access
  4. Download podcasts, e-books, and music playlists
  5. Pick-up snacks

PACKING LIST

  1. License and registration
  2. Car manual
  3. Spare tire
  4. Jumper Cable
  5. Spare car key
  6. Cash for tolls
  7. A real map and sharpie (it’s fun to draw your route and make notes and comments as you go along!)
  8. Podcasts, music, and books on tape
  9. Notebook and pen
  10. iPhone charger
  11. Wireless headset for your cell phone
  12. Umbrella
  13. Cooler if you’re camping or hitting up the beach
  14. Febreze car air freshener

What are your best road trip tips? I’d love to hear!

*Photographed by Mikael Jansson, Vogue, March 2015
Happy Travels!
xo, Jenny

 

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