A Road Trip Planning Guide, From Budgeting to Driving Tips
How to Plan a Road Trip with friends in 2021
Travel may be restricted in the next few years so you don’t have to worry about how to plan a road trip during covid, I think 2021 will be when we can enjoy long road trips with friends and family. Getting a car as a mode of transportation can be an excellent idea for those who love being on the go. The extra benefits from safety and not dealing with outsiders from your entourage just makes driving more appealing. But how do you start preparing for a cross-country trip?
If you’re looking to take a long-distance road trip, here are some pointers on how to plan the perfect trip.
1. Find a destination that is worth the drive- This can be from economic to natural beauty or from famous landmarks to new restaurants. Spend some time researching destinations in your area and then narrow down your top three choices.
2. Plan your route- There is a lot of information online about which roads are best for a long-distance drive and what attractions will be along the way. You can find routes with Google Maps or even make your own!
3. Prepare for the drive- Make sure that you get enough gas before you start driving, get food that won’t spoil, and get plenty of water and snacks loaded up into your car’s trunk.
How Much Money Should I Plan on Spending on a road trip?
Here’s where you learn how to plan a road trip on a budget. When it comes to budgeting for a road trip, there are many things that you need to plan and account for.
You should be thinking about where you want to go, how long you plan on staying, and how much your expenses will be when you’re in that location. additional expenses that come up while on a road trip happens too.
When you’re on the road, it’s not just gas and food that you need to budget for.
What’s the Best Route?
Route planning has always been a headache. But with the help of a route planner, it has become easier.
All these route planners have one thing in common: they rely on data points from Google Maps.
Google Maps is a GPS app that can be used for navigating your way around a place or to another place. You can enter your start and end point and Google Maps will plan the best route for you. There is an option of choosing between driving, walking, public transit, or cycling to reach your destination as well as see different routes on the map, such as scenic routes and highways with less traffic.
There are some other apps out there that may be better suited for what you need and they may not rely solely on Google Maps data points so you need to do some research before embarking o your journey.
What are the Logistics for a road trip?
The logistics for a road trip can be a little complicated. However, in this post I will look at the basics of what you need to know to plan a successful journey.
-Figure out how long your trip will be and the route you want to take
-Find out which highways are best during certain months or seasons
-Do some research on gas prices and cost of food in different states
-Get a large enough vehicle with good gas mileage, filled up with gas, and make sure it has been serviced recently.
How to plan a road trip
Here are easy steps on how to plan a road trip:
- Plot Your Route
- Make Bookings Ahead
- Prepare Your Vehicle before a road trip
- Plan En Route Entertainment
- Get snacks for the trip
1. How to Plot Your Route
Plotting your route is not an easy feat. With so many variables to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start.
To help you get started, here are a few pointers for mapping your trip.
-Start by identifying which countries or cities you want to visit
-Separate into sections the parts of the journey that will take place in each vehicle (e.g., driving, public transit)
-Use Google Maps for this part of the process
-Decide whether you want to use back roads or highways, or plan out a custom route using GPS coordinates
-If you are using public transit, research what will be necessary for international travel.
It’s critical to be realistic about how much you and/or your travel companions can drive safely in a day. Sure, driving from Denver to Los Angeles in 16 hours is conceivable, but do you want to? What’s more, should you do it?
It’s also a good idea to have a paper map on hand in case you need to switch off your phone. Your map app might not work if your service is unavailable, but the paper version will always stay accessible.
2. Book Ahead
We all know that the most important thing on a road trip is to stop and enjoy the view from time to time. But travelling from point A to B takes a toll on a person’s physical and mental health. Browsing through Yelp or Trip Advisor for places of interest can be daunting especially when you are in a hurry.
on the road, you’ll likely be able to find hotel vacancies as needed but booking even a few days ahead can help give you peace of mind and a cozy bed to look forward to.
That’s where Book Ahead comes in – this app will take care of everything for you! All you need to do is input your starting and ending points, your vehicle type, and preferences such as budget, activities, scenery type, food types etc.
The app then takes care of everything for you! You can book lodging, find restaurants near by with availability etc.
3. Prepare Your Vehicle before a road trip
Road trips are one of the most popular activities for families or friends. There are some things you should do before you get on the road to make your trip enjoyable and avoid potential disasters.
The first thing you can do is to get fuel before entering the interstate. It is always better to be safe than sorry, don’t go too far without filling up your tank.
Next, make sure that your car is in good condition. Make sure that it has enough gas, fluids, and air pressure in all tires. You also want to check that your car has no leaks or mechanical problems before driving on a long journey.
Before your next big road trip, make sure you check all light and blinkers and your spare tire and jack to ensure they work. Make sure you have up-to-date copies of registration and insurance documents too.
Don’t forget to prepare a safety kit! You want to make sure you have jumper cables, a flashlight, reflective triangles, flares, and water.
Finally, pack snacks for everyone in the car so you don’t have any hungry passengers while driving through all those cornfields!
4. Plan En Route Entertainment
Planning is important to any road trip. There may be a ton of destinations you want to visit, but fortunately there are pre-built itineraries that can help you plan your trip.
There are many companies that offer these pre-built itineraries, and they will show everything from the routes you should take and the places you need to go, as well as what activities and attractions there are nearby.
If you’re looking for something to do while sitting in the airport or waiting for your flight, it might be worth checking out a podcast or audiobook. These are portable forms of entertainment that give you the feeling of being entertained while making your way to your destination.
You can take this opportunity to explore the music culture in the area you’re visiting. Listen to local radio stations or compile a playlist of local artists for your region. Always make sure to download enough podcasts for offline listening otherwise you’ll find yourself without something new to listen to whenever you don’t have luscious, stable cell service.
What to do on a road trip?
Here’s what to do while on a road trip (fun activities):
- Make more room.
- Allow for spontaneity.
- Stop frequently.
- Take breaks and enjoy the scenes.
- Play music or listen to radio.
- Meet the locals.
- Do these activities listed
1. Bring a real map
You can still bring a paper map on a road trip, but it’s not the most convenient way. Even though smartphones have made it so easy to find directions, their battery life is still limited. And if you go off-road, you might not have signal at all.
A paper map is also more expensive than an app that costs just $5 or less. You can get a one-year subscription that includes online and offline directions for your entire country from Apple Maps for just $20. On top of that, once you’ve downloaded the map to your phone, you won’t need any data in order to use it when you’re in a spot with no signal.
Maps are still important in the digital road times. Smartphones inexplicably lose their connection, cars can run out of battery power, you might run out of data, roads might be blocked. It’s always wise to have a paper version too.
2. Make more room.
When traveling on a long-distance trip, it is always more comfortable to have a good place for everyone to sleep. One of the best solutions for this is to attach an RV or trailer to the back of your car. This way, you can pull over and take a break whenever you want. It also gives you more space in the car of course, which means you can stop at any time without feeling cramped.
However, installing a hitch and trailer on your vehicle isn’t as easy as it sounds and will need some experience with cars. You also need to consider how much it will cost and whether or not your car can even handle adding more weight on it.
Space is always a challenge on long car trips. If you’re lucky enough to have a minivan, be sure to stop and say “hello” to your new best friend. Otherwise, find creative ways to store all of your stuff inside the car. This is perfect for skiis and snowboards during winter and deflated stand-up paddle boards at the beach in summer. Don’t you want that extra space?
3. Allow for spontaneity.
Building a route can be tough but it’s important to include time for spontaneous events. If you have any deals with friends along the way, make sure they count before you do your planning. When booking a hotel in advance, be sure to estimate you daily mileage very conservatively. It never hurts to allow for a few side quests while driving through the countryside. Just because there’s a sign on the highway that says “See Rock City,” doesn’t mean you have to do it!
4. Adopt an electronics strategy.
There is a choice with regards to this, but if you’re a child in my car, it means you have free access to pre-chosen videos. At home, I’m quite strict when it comes to screen time. However on the journey, the children’s “Wild Kratts” binges can make an excursion fun for everybody involved. When it comes to older children, try to motivate them with eBook audio books and another activity that will be challenging. Other options include letting the child choose what to do for a period of time. This can help them focus on positive rather than time-consuming activities.
5. Stop frequently.
Siblings quarrel. Drivers and co-pilers but heads. There’s no foolproof way for diffusing roadtrip tension, so try to head it off at the pass. If you’ve got kids, plan to stop every couple of hours at a playground or restaurant with a play area or drinks with straws. Instead of just sitting at the rest stop, do push-downs on the picnic table and hop from the flagpole to the interpretive sign. This is a great way to burn some energy which is something that passengers of all ages can enjoy.
6. Take breaks.
Tired of your travel companions not learning to put on their shoes? Head on down the road on your own for the day.
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7. Splurge wisely.
By not spending your savings on travel, you’ll be able to afford other fancy things! It is important to have a plan when planning a road trip. Decide on your budget, the type of car you are traveling in, where you are going to stop for gas and meals. When it comes to eating out, splurge wisely – consider whether or not you want to eat at chain restaurants or local establishments. Keep an eye on the hours of restaurants open near your route so that you can plan accordingly.
8. Meet the locals.
They’re a nice alternative to things like Yelp. I always find local insight really rewarding when I ask for directions at a bike shop or restaurant ideas. Recently, at a bike shop near Steamboat Springs, Colorado called Orange Peel Bicycle Service, the guy who helped me was the one who had been living in the area for years and he gave me some really great suggestions for places. Without Jerry’s advice I never would have eaten at that city’s best Thai restaurant. He was knowledgeable, insightful, and made the planning process easy. I’m so glad to have done business with him.
Also when I was traveling through the United States recently, I stopped by at a small restaurant just outside of Pittsburgh. The cashier was friendly and engaged me in conversation about the town. When she overheard that I was headed west, she told me to be careful of all the cowboys out there. She said they had guns and were not afraid to shoot.
I’d bet you’ve had similar experiences when traveling overseas or even around your own hometown. Every place has its interesting quirks, so it pays to ask some questions before jumping into an unfamiliar environment.
Hitting the open road is an American rite of passage. It’s in our blood to explore this country & seeing it by car gives you a unique perspective of the land. Seeing how people in America live makes you really think about what life is all about.