TRAVEL TIPS

How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip

Ever since I was little, I have done a zillion road trips. And post marriage, I am still exploring places by road with my travel partner Jose. We both are huge fans of road  tripping  and over the years, we can proudly say that we have kind of aced the art of road traveling. The reason we love road trips is because there are just too many stories and adventures waiting to be told once you embark upon your journey.  Fun stop overs, mind-blowing landscapes, flexible schedules, worldly exposures are just a few perks of hitting the road. That being said, doing a road trip is not easy. There is a lot of planning and preparation which needs to go into it. Dearth of planning can make the otherwise perfect road trip a total flop show. It can be a make it or break it kind of situation. Hence we would like to share with you our best road trip tips that we have learned over the years from our travel experience which would help you to plan the perfect road trip and  hit the road with confidence. 

road trip guide

What are your Main Expenses ?

The main expenses while on a road trip are Fuel, Accommodation and Food. However, if you plan wisely you can surely stay within/ under the planned budget. We will tell you how.

How to cut costs on a road trip?

  • Fuel -The answer is gasoline. Also driving within the speed limit improves fuel efficiency by 1/3rd. Another tip is to decrease the load in the car by packing light.
  • Accommodation– You would be saving money if you decide to call it a night in your camper van/ sleeping bag. tent. You can also look into couch-surfing or cheap motels. All the options work well if you are not traveling with a family. Those traveling with family and kids, can check for cheap options in Airbnb. Booking with relatively newer listing gives you good deals.
  • Food- Shop from the local supermarket for your three meals. Try to stock up on necessary groceries so that you do not spend a lot on food.

How to Track your Expenses ?

  • Use technology  wisely for smart travel. Create a road trip budget . If there are too many of you , then Trip Splitter is a great app to keep a track of the money spent and divide later.

So now How to plan the perfect road trip?

Initial Planning

  • First things first decide if you are going to be all alone on the trip or if you would like to pull in someone to accompany you. Depending on the number of people in your squad, you will have to fix on the car. Never ever stuff too many heads into one small car, it can really make the whole seating arrangement uncomfortable and thats no fun! We highly recommend you choose your travel company wisely. Its lovely when like minded individuals come together for a road trip. They connect instantly and make things happen!
  • Plan your route– Read and research well in advance before your actual trip so that you know how much is the exact distance you would be covering. If not exact, its always good to have a ball park figure of the distance you are going to cover. Also check for the weather you are going to have in your route.
  • Book the car according to the above two pointers. If the area you are going to has lots of snow, maybe you will have to get winter / snow tyres for the car. A Four by Four or 4×4, is typically used to meet all terrain capabilities. So keeping your destination and itinerary in mind, zero in on your car. The car you choose should be a perfect melange of comfort, space, and drivability so that you get the best experience on road. Also do not forget to check the condition of the car. Give it for servicing if required. Ensure its full tank. And most importantly, carry your license and other related paper documents to have a hassle free travel. Do not tell us we didn’t remind you about travel insurance.

plan the perfect road trip

What to Pack for a road trip checklist 

  • Spare Keys- Well if you have a spare key, its advisable to carry one. You never know when there is a need for it.
  • Maps– Both paper and online maps. We like to rely on good old paper maps when there is no signal or when our battery dies out. Make sure your smart phone is fully charged. Its quite easy to plan a road trip with google maps.
  • Guide Book– Great to discover those hidden gems and off beat paths.
  • GPS– In addition to our smart phone we also carry a GPS. The reason being, we get alerts and signals from time to time just in case we are over speeding. We also get to know if there are any secret cameras installed close-by to watch over-speeding cars.
  • Chargers– Carry enough charges for your camera, phones, GPS etc. In addition to our regular chargers, we also use our Anker Power Port Solar Charger. We just plug our device onto it and let the sun do all the magic.
road trip essentials

Image credits- Anker Website

  • Money– Enough coins and a credit card to pay at toll booths. Very recently we went on a road trip and we had crazy amounts of toll booths during our journey! So collect every cent lying at home and save it for the toll fee. Also carry enough cash with you at all times. You never know if the ATM you are bound to visit is faulty or closed.
  • Camera– To capture those beautiful moments are in store. If you are into water sports, take along a GoPro. We love to try out time lapse while on the wheels.
  • Water– Limit your intake of fizzy drinks and try to stay hydrated with water. The driver should ditch the alcohol!
  • Snacks – Pack ample amount of snacks so that you have something to nibble upon while you are on the road. We advise you carry dry snacks like nuts, granola bars etc. They are a healthier option too. Eating clean is really important while on a road trip as junk food can make you feel bloated and even get you sick.
  • Music– Much needed to pep up things and to add that extra zing to your journey. Do not rely on the radio alone.
  • Air Freshener – Did you think of this? We think its really important to keep your car smelling fresh and clean.
  • Toiletries– Sunscreen, Paper towels, wet tissues, hand sanitiser etc
  • First Aid Kit– Basic medicines and band aid. If you suffer from any allergies or are on any medication, then do not forget to carry your prescription and medicines.
  • Trash bags– to dispose the food waste. It may come handy if you have motion sickness. Also, for those who suffer from severe motion sickness, maybe you should try to motion sickness band. More details can be found on Amazon
  • Sunglasses– Essential on the sunny days to block out the glare. Make sure to use only good quality glasses from trusted brands.

For a detailed packing list, read our article on Must have Travel Apps. You will find an app in our post which helps you pack the most efficient way. By using the app, you will have all the road trip essentials covered. 

Our Advice

  • Keep a budget– Just so that you do not over spend.
  • Take occasional halts– I heard someone once say Life is a marathon and not a sprint, Enjoy the journey.  Well ,we feel the same with road trips too.There is no need to rush through. Go at a steady pace and enjoy those breaks in between. Always plan a road trip with multiple stops.
  • Stay flexible – Be open to changes. Never be too strict with your itinerary.
  • Do not travel without a license/ with an expired license

There you go ! We have spilled the beans on how to plan a perfect road trip. So with all this information we are sure you will be the best road trip planner amongst your friends. We really hope you go on more road trips because Nothing can beat a road trip experience!

If you love road trips, what are your road trip must haves? Do you have any road trip tips for us? Let us know. We love to hear from our readers.

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Manu Khandelwal
    August 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Really a great post. I love doing road trips. Have bookmarked this post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      August 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you so much Manu 🙂 We wish you many more road trips 🙂 Keep traveling:)

  • Reply
    usathroughoureyes
    August 29, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Great post! You certainly covered all the bases.

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      August 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks so much 🙂

  • Reply
    passoinindia
    August 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    A very interesting blog!

  • Reply
    arunprasadhm
    August 30, 2017 at 4:20 am

    Informative post.

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      August 30, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Thanks Arun 🙂

  • Reply
    Bee
    August 31, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Great tips you have here and i will def be bookmarking it. i like your tips on having spare keys and both real and online maps. connectivity is not always guaranteed for sure.

  • Reply
    dpkaansh
    August 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I can relate to it so well. Me and my husband keep doing the same. You have written it quite informative. I think you would like my latest blog too. Its related. “Entangled by the ecstasy of traveling” https://medium.com/@dpkaansh/entangled-by-the-ecstasy-of-traveling-2f90e04df503

  • Reply
    Natasa
    August 31, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I think this post has everything a person might need when planning a road trip. Thanks on some additional tips as well!

  • Reply
    Raj singh
    September 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Hi jose !
    Awesome article on, planning before any travel.
    Budget planning is most important before any trip.

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      September 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Thank u so much Raj! Yes indeed…totally agree with u 🙂

  • Reply
    Kara Simone - The Up Side
    September 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Hey! You’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award! Post is coming soon. I love reading your blog!

  • Reply
    Alok Singhal
    September 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Fully agree with you! I am a fan of road trips too…there is nothing compared to exploring as you want to. But, preparation is a big part of a pleasant experience, as you’ve aptly pointed out.

    • Reply
      Josestraveltales
      September 18, 2017 at 9:22 am

      Thanks Alok for stopping by 🙂 Really nice to know you love road trips just like us! Keep Traveling 🙂

  • Reply
    Kara Simone - The Up Side
    October 1, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    This was a really good post! The tips are all great things to keep in mind.

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