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10 tips for a smooth road trip

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

The season for traveling is approaching! No matter the route, let's dive into 10 essential tips you can do to make the road trip be hassle-free and truly enjoyable.

More and more Americans are traveling around the country by car. Some are traveling to family, hotels or Airbnb destinations while others are traveling with their camper in tow. Regardless of where you're headed,

Don't embark on your road trip without proper planning for the journey ahead.

Here are 10 essential tips for a smooth road trip.

1. Plan your road trip every step of the way – secure a map or use GPS

Now we know there's a lot of spontaneous drivers out there whom like to just roll with it, but for a smoother ride it is so important to plan. Whether you are using a paper map or GPS through a mobile device or your vehicle, be sure to plan your route. This is especially important if you're unfamiliar with the area. Take note if you'll be coming across bridges, one-way streets, dead ends, detours or road closures, so you can plan accordingly to avoid the inconvenience of trying to find an alternate route when you're already on the road. Of course this won't always be avoidable due to causes like accidents or fallen trees, but it's good to be a step ahead if you can be.

2. Create a Road Trip Itinerary – pass along a copy to a friend or relative

There's a couple reasons for this important task. Firstly, SAFETY. If something worrisome arises, your family or friend will know your whereabouts. Secondly, planning where you are going to spend the night, eat, get gas and even use the bathroom will make for a much smoother and less stressful trip than just winging it.

3. Stay on top of your vehicle's maintenance

Has your vehicle been checked over by a trusted, professional mechanic? This is one of the most crucial steps in preparing for your road trip. You want to ensure your vehicle is in good condition for the longer travel. Be sure to get these items looked over or changed prior to your trip: tires, oil, brakes, lights, coolant, windshield wipers, etc. ALWAYS carry a spare tire.

4. Carry a first-aid kit and other essential emergency items

This is another crucial step in preparing for a road trip. Ensure that you are equipped with a fully stocked first-aid kit and other emergency items including bottled water/snacks, a blanket, change of clothes, flashlight with extra fresh batteries, cell phone car charger, basic tool kit, jumper cables, ice scraper, paper towel, flares or reflective triangle and an umbrella.

5. Create a checklist of items you'll need to bring/pack

Do you tend to scramble last minute in getting things together? Stop last minute scrambling by creating a checklist of items you'll need to bring/pack. This will help you not forget important items and will give you a peace of mind that you packed what you wanted to bring along. Cross off items as you pack them to ensure you don't forget anything and to keep you organized. Preparing for long travel can be hectic, so use organizational techniques to help relieve stress.

6. Give yourself plenty of time to pack

Try to stay ahead on your preparation. By giving yourself plenty of time to pack will lighten your load as your trip approaches; not to mention, it will give you time to go through things to double check on what you've packed and what you've forgotten or have left to pack. If the space is limited, focus on the essentials and your personal belongings while other items, such as food, can be purchased along the way.

7. Bring sufficient cash and loose change

Do not fully rely on plastics (debit/credit cards) when traveling. Bring some cash along with you. While it's not a good idea to take loads of cash with you when traveling of course, make sure you do have enough to cover meals, parking, and accommodation. Some places may not accept credit cards, so be prepared and bring enough cash. If you do plan on bringing a good chunk of cash, be sure to purchase a portable safe box to lock up that cash when you're not using it.

It is also wise to bring along a handful of loose change for tolls, public transportation, or parking. You may drive into toll roads, so adequate spare change will avoid that dreadful feeling of being short on cost or having to find another route.

8. Bring Proof of Identity

Do not leave for your trip without Proof of Identity. This is incredibly important if there's an accident or an emergency where someone has to identify you. It's also handy to have when checking in to certain destinations because they may ask for it.

9. Going somewhere hot and sunny? Wear sunscreen

Even if you

10. Take rest breaks, this is necessary

Rest is key in long travels. Do not forgo resting just to "beat time". Mistakes can be made and focus is lost while fatigued, which is putting you, your passengers and others on the road at large risk. Take plenty of rest stops to ensure safety.

Get out and stretch! Move your body! Our bodies become stiff while in the same position for long periods of time. Use those fuel and rest stops to your advantage in walking around to move your body again.


Follow an organized system when preparing for your trip.

Being organized will give you flexibility, peace of mind, and the best techniques to travel efficiently and have a great time as well. Use the 10 tips in this blog to relieve travel stress and ensure you are prepared for your trip!

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