Now that the weather had officially turned warm again, I bet most of you feel the same itch to get on the road that I do. If you live in the USA, there are a million ways you can explore—whether you want a quick weekend trip or a months-long journey, I’ve put together a foolproof plan for how to plan the perfect summer road trip to help you plan it all.
Decide on a route
First things first, you have to figure out where you’re headed. You need to decide on a destination and the best way to get there.
Some people like to use the highway and get there within the shortest amount of time, while others (like me) want to take the back roads and explore the scenic highway.
For either option, there is a handy website called Roadtrippers that is a gold mine for those with wanderlust. It has a different route available for any kind of trip you want to plan.
Another handy-dandy tool is Pinterest. We all have one—I’m addicted to mine—so use it to pin up a storm of road trip ideas and stop suggestions.
Speaking of stop suggestions, it is a good idea to plan when and where you will stop along the way.
You are in total control of your direction, so if you want to plan stops at every national park in America, or every highly-rated roadside restaurant on the highway, or even all the weird touristy things that somehow still exist in 2019 (like the world’s biggest ball of yarn).
Or—and this is a cool one—you could plan a trip to all of the USA filming locations of your favorite movies or TV shows.
The fun and quirky possibilities are really endless, but don’t forget to factor in hotels, gas, and other necessary stops as well. It’s hard, but we all have to be practical sometimes.
Okay, now that you’ve decided on your route, it’s time to decide what to bring with you. And, more importantly, what to leave behind.
For a short weekend trip, you don’t need much. A duffel bag with your toiletries and a few outfits should be all, but on a long road trip, things get more complicated.
Although a lot of factors—such as weather, destination and anticipated activities determine what you need to pack, here are some classic essentials:
- Drinks and snacks
- Travel pillow
- First aid kit
- Spare tire + tools
- Emergency car kit
- License, registration + insurance
- Empty gas can
- Baby wipes
- Toilet paper/tissue
- Laundry detergent
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff, and those things are just to name a quarter of what you will need to be prepared. I recommend checking out this list for a full run-down.
Also, you might want to practice packing—remember, you will be working with limited space.
We all know how vacation goes. There are always unexpected expenses, or else we overspend because we’re treating ourselves. (Looking at myself real hard) But on a road trip it’s especially important to budget because you have to plan on bringing yourself back home.
One way you can help cut down on expenses is to write out a supply list and buy everything you can before you leave, so that you’re not constantly stopping and buying things along the way.
It also helps to be sustainable. For example, something like using a reusable water bottle instead of disposable plastic ones will save you a lot of money (and the environment a lot of pollution) over the course of a four-week trip.
Okay, you’ve got your route decided, your supplies bought, your car packed, and your budget well in hand. You’’ve successfully mastered How To Plan The Perfect Summer Road Trip! Good luck out there, and have fun!