So you want to go on a Road Trip, but where to start you ask?!?!
Expert Jacq here to the rescue. Let me share my tips, secrets, and musts on packing, preparing, and surviving a successful road trip.
I’ve been on quite a few road trips. I learned a lot about road trips as a kid when every weekend my mom and I would load up the car and travel all over the Midwest to my gymnastics meets.
Then I lived in North Carolina for a year and would drive back and forth from Ohio to North Carolina almost every month.
In my adult years I’ve had some pretty epic road trip like; Driving a U-Haul, with a friend, from Lincoln, Nebraska to Boston, Massachusetts. (That was an experience to say the least.) Traveling Route 66 in a rental car for over 3 weeks with my mom and pup Lemon. Traveling the entire Oregon Coast on a winter road trip for roughly 2 weeks. Or the time me and three of my friends road tripped around Costa Rica for a little over a week (epic is an understatement for that one, it was actually terrifying at moments!) And most recent I spent a month and a half camping around Europe, traveling by bus through 19 countries. That was probably my most rewarding but stressful road trips to date!
So I’ve spent some extended time on the road and love a good road trip. But it can be stressful if you aren’t so experience at it. Here are some tips I’ve come up with for ya’ll to enjoy your next epic road trip!
Buy What You Forgot On The Road
Remember you can always buy things as you go. On most road trips you won’t be so far out there, in the middle of nowhere that you can’t pop on into a grocery store, Dollar Tree, CVS, or my fav… TJ Maxx. (Mainly cause Lemon is allowed in.) That should ease your mind when you’re stressing out about if you packed your toothpaste or not!
Travel Apps and Books
Download an app like Roadtrippers to help you figure out all the places you want to stop at. I had to buy Lemon a coat on a road trip in Flagstaff because it was a bit too cold. Apps like these can help you locate all the cool stuff around you, so you don’t panic. I found a Petco just miles away from the A-Frame Cabin and Lemon got a new coat. This app also can help you lay out your entire road trip… if you want it all planned out.
A good book can help you plan too, I recently got the book Lonely Planet: USA’S Best Road Trips.
Pack snacks….and more!
We usually always remember the snacks but also pack things that can potentially turn into a real meal. (I do my road trip food stock up at Trader Joe’s and The Dollar Tree.)
You may be on a roll and not want to stop for lunch or the continental breakfast was not up to your standards at that roadside motel. And you need a decent meal dude!! So pack things like bread, peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, instant coffee and tea. Even bring a cooler and pack some lunch meat. Oh…and if you do love that continental breakfast, take an apple, muffin, or bagel to go. Shhh! But honestly you’ll thank yourself later!
AND invest in a Camelbak, this way you always have water, just fill it up each day at the hotel. This is a must for traveling with Lemon, this way she always has water and I’m not wasting money or ruining the environment by buying multiple bottles of water at the gas station. And remember you can restock your snacks and meal stash as you travel.
Leave Room For The Unexpected
Nothing can destroy a road trip more than you having an exact outline of what you want to happen. Believe me it’ll never fully go as planned, so the best thing to do is have a very loose itinerary.
You may arrive in a town at midnight to find out that every food establishment closed at 9pm, it may rain for 2 days straight and you planned all outdoor activities for that city, or you may run out of time and never even make it to that ONE place you just had to see! Oh no!
I wanted to visit Antelope Canyon while on a road trip crossing through Page, Arizona. But because of Lemon it just wasn’t going to work out. Before I got upset I reminded myself it was just an excuse to get to come back. Always look for the positive. Believe me it’ll save you on a road trip.
I was never supposed to end up in Zion National Park on a past trip and it ended up being my favorite spot out of the whole darn thing! #roadtripsurprise
Invest in AAA
I really don’t think I need to explain this one, it’s common sense. You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. On a recent trip to Yosemite National Park my truck broke down in a McDonald’s parking lot while I was getting my coffee fix. Oh and it was the day before Thanksgiving…oh, and I was with Lemonhead. Before I panicked, cried, or screamed out of pure frustration, I called AAA. Within 15 minutes a tow truck was there to get my truck to the closest service station. Something like this could have ruined an entire trip if I didn’t have AAA. It’s way too inexpensive to not have. Not excuses!
And along with AAA, invest in a good map. The GPS on your phone may not work everywhere. Mine for sure didn’t work on the way from the Grand Canyon to Page. Or in Costa Rica when we discovered that roads didn’t even have names! Like honestly people just know the roads so they don’t need names?!? A map for darn sure comes in handy then! You’ll be crying if you don’t have a map. And honestly no one likes a cry baby!
Pack Smart and Make sure Everything Has “A Place”!
Pack things that’ll be interchangeable. A scarf that matches all your tops, a coat that goes back to all your shoes, etc. Weather can change fast and if everything matches already this will help greatly. This was a life saver traveling Europe for a month and a half, because a lot of times I was carrying all my possession ON MY BACK! Less is quite frankly more!
Also make sure that everything is always packed in the same place. (This is really important.) When you’re staying in 8 different hotels in 12 days, or setting up camp at a new site everyone other night, things are bound to get lost or left behind if you aren’t careful. I try to make sure that everything gets packed in the same place at all times. This means Lemon’s stuff is in one pack, the food in another, clothes in a space of their own, shoes in their own bag, etc. And throughout the trip check to make sure everything is still in its spot! (I came home having lost on two things on my epic European road trip…my toothbrush and my converter.)
Download Apps for Hotels and Sign Up For Hotel Loyalty Programs
I use Hotel Tonight to get deals on hotels as I travel around. This way nothing has to be too planned out and I always have a place to lay my head at the end of the day. Also they have a feature where you can find pet friendly hotels. Perfect for traveling with Miss Lemonhead!
And when you stay at hotels ask about their loyalty programs. You’d be surprised how fast you can rack up those deals for things like upgrades, discounts, and even free stays!
Also Airbnb is great, that’s how I scored the ever so popular A-frame cabin!
Always Always Always Fill Up Before You Need To!
You may not hit another town for a long time so I always stop for gas way before I actually need it. It’s horrible to have to stress about running out of gas and this helps so you never have to worry about it!
Need More Tips?!
- Cause who wants to be bored?!
- Come on, sing along!
- Not sure where to go?
- For Fido friendly fun!
- For all those wacky roadside attractions.
Now hit the road Jacq! Adventure Awaits!