long road trip car tips

25 Practical Tips for Long Road Trips

  • By Jason Barnette
  • July 7, 2021

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here .

long road trip car tips

You’re finally ready to embark on that epic road trip that will take you across the country from sea to shining sea. The gas tank is full, you’ve checked off every item on the packing list, and you’re ready to hit the road. But are you actually ready for a long road trip?

The longer a road trip, the more complicated it can get. I didn’t say would get, but it certainly can get complicated. Have you packed enough clothing for the entire trip, or will you need to do laundry along the way? Are you ready for chilly nights, rain, and unexpected adventures? Unfortunately, these are the kinds of questions many people don’t consider until the road trip is underway – and it’s too late to make many changes.

These 25 practical tips for long road trips will help you get prepared long before you leave home, save money along the way, and help you spend more time enjoying the road trip and less time dealing with those pesky complications.

long road trip car tips

Buy food at grocery stores instead of gas stations

Road trip snacks are almost as necessary as gasoline for the car – they even perform similar functions. But one of the worst things a person can do on a road trip is to buy the snacks spontaneously at random gas stations along the way.

Save money and time with those snacks at grocery stores or bulk purchase stores. Stock up on all the snacks, drinks, and coffee at a fraction of the price of buying it along the way. The more you save, the longer you can drive.

long road trip car tips

Get your car inspected

Before leaving home, get your car inspected. Most national chain auto repair shops offer free inspections because they want your business when they find something wrong with the car.

But it’s an excellent way to get all the fluids topped off, tires rotated and balanced, and the hundreds of moving parts of a car inspected before you leave. Spur of the moment auto repairs during a road trip can be prohibitively expensive – not to mention you might have to shack up at a roadside motel for a few days while the work is done.

long road trip car tips

Keep your car maintained

Did you know properly inflated tires can lead to better gas mileage? Under-inflated tires cause a drop of 0.2% miles per gallon for every 1 PSI of all tires. That may not seem like much, but it can add up on long road trips.

Consider a 5,000-mile road trip in a vehicle that gets 30 miles per gallon. This would require 167 gallons of gas to complete the trip. However, if all four tires are underinflated by an average of 4 PSI, that means the vehicle is only achieving 27.6 miles per gallon. This would require 182 gallons to complete the trip – an increase of 15 gallons.

Beyond tire pressure, be sure to maintain fluids for the radiator, brakes, and engine oil to prevent damage to the engine. Replaced burned out headlights and taillights immediately. Keep up with oil changes and tire rotations for trips longer than 5,000 miles.

20 Essential Travel Apps for Awesome Road Trips

Set a reasonable daily mileage goal

The point of a road trip is to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Driving 500 miles per day on the interstate highways doesn’t make for a very enjoyable road trip adventure. Driving that far on two-lane roads is incredibly tedious and exhausting.

By the time you stop at a couple roadside attractions, go for a hike in a state park, sit down for lunch, and take a short detour, the number of miles you’ll be able to cover in a single day will be limited at best. But that’s the point of the road trip! Set a limited number of miles to drive each day, giving yourself plenty of time to enjoy everything you’ll discover along the way.

Avoid rush hour traffic and peak dinner times

Sitting in congested traffic and waiting for food are two of the biggest examples of losing time on a long road trip. In fact, those are the biggest time wasters for just about any kind of travel. But there is a simple way to avoid losing time: avoid rush hour and peak dinner times.

Eat breakfast after 9 a.m., get lunch around 2 p.m., and consider dinner either early at 4 p.m. or wait until 7 p.m. During those time frames, you’ll get seated faster, and food served quicker. Also, when driving around town or between destinations, avoid the rush hours of 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.

As an added bonus, use a navigation app or dedicated GPS device in your car that includes traffic information – this information will help you spot potential traffic jams from congestion, construction, or accidents and usually includes optional detours. Using an app like OpenTable ( iOs | Android ) will allow you to make reservations at many restaurants – cutting down the time spent waiting for a table to open.

Road Trip to the 8 Presidential Sites Throughout Northern Ohio

long road trip car tips

A void Small Town Travel on Sundays and Mondays

Roll into almost any small town with a population of less than 20,000 on a Sunday or Monday, and you’re likely to find every restaurant, museum, and attraction closed. It’s not from the owners’ lack of business sense but rather because the owners often work in their businesses, and they want a couple of days off each week.

Sundays and Mondays tend to be the most common days these local businesses are closed. However, it may also include mid-weekdays like Tuesday and Wednesday. Instead of visiting the small towns, consider spending the night in state or national parks, driving scenic routes, or just taking a couple of days to relax.

Pack everything – including the kitchen sink

I own six rain jackets, four sets of trekking poles, and two pairs of Crocs Swiftwater shoes . It’s not because I want a particular color combination for each day of the week, but instead because I kept leaving the items behind, thinking I wouldn’t need them.

Pack everything you can possibly fit into your vehicle for a long road trip. Go beyond your tentative itinerary and think about things you enjoy doing that you might want to do along the way. Take those golf clubs or stunt kites, pack the fleece hoodie, and bring more than two pairs of shoes. Although it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality, every little bit helps save money in the budget.

long road trip car tips

Fill the gas tank on Monday

GasBuddy ( iOS | Android ) conducted a survey a few years ago to determine the best and worst times for gas prices. Interestingly, Mondays were the cheapest day of the week to get gas on average, with the best time coming around 10 a.m.

Also, interesting – though not surprising – was that the worst day to get gas was Friday or the day before a major holiday. During those days, gas prices tended to spike first thing in the morning.

18 Essential Items That Belong on Every Road Trip Packing List

Don’t rely on cellular service

One universal constant of any long road trip is the eventuality of running into a cellular dead zone. Rural areas in the Midwest, rugged terrain in the Rockies, and sporadically throughout the Southeastern United States are areas in between cellular towers that will leave your cellphone or tablet as useful as screen doors for submarines.

Be prepared to eventually lose cellular service during your long road trip. Download Google Maps ( iOS | Android ) for offline use, make sure all your apps are up to date, and download movies for entertainment. Doing as much of this as possible while connected to WIFI will prevent you from breaching a monthly data limit.

Plan to do laundry on the road

Depending on the length of the road trip, the activities you plan to enjoy along the way, and your fashion style, it just might not be possible to pack a new outfit for every single day. So rather than pack five suitcases stuffed with every stitch of clothing you own, consider doing laundry somewhere along the way.

As a rule of thumb, pack at least five of each type of clothing. Shorts, pants, tees, polos or blouses, underwear, and socks. On top of that, pack something for chilly nights and rain. This will give you about a week of clothing – but you’ll need to get used to wearing those shorts and that shirt more than once in between washing.

Buy a laundry bag and take it with you on the road trip. However, do not buy laundry detergent ahead of time. The heat and humidity will ruin most detergents and leave your car with an overwhelming smell. When you finally decide to do laundry, be sure to take enough quarters to complete your load, never leave your laundry unattended, and always use a laundromat during daylight hours.

Get organized

Organizing all your clothing, gear, food, and accessories is a crucial and often overlooked aspect of any long road trip. But, after two, three, or four weeks of restacking bags, hunting for that small item, and shifting cargo around every curve of the road, you’ll be on the edge of losing it.

Buy stuff sacks or use gallon-sized Ziplock bags to organize smaller items. Buy midsized duffel bags or plastic totes for organizing smaller bags. Stackable totes that can lock together are best for keeping the totes from sliding around in the vehicle. Label everything and always leave the most frequently used items on top.

long road trip car tips

Get plenty of sleep

The first few days of a long road trip, you’ll likely feel energized by the excitement and tempted to stay up 18 hours a day. I can typically keep that level of stamina going for about the first three weeks of constant travel – but eventually, everyone slows down.

Getting plenty of sleep is important to maintaining your mental and physical health, not to mention keeping morale high. Spending too much time traveling and not enough sleeping will eventually lead to exhaustion, depression, and moodiness.

On a long road trip, plan to take one or two days a week off from travel. Find a nice roadside motel, splurge on a super nice hotel with a free hot breakfast, or settle into a campground for two nights. Avoid the temptation to go out and explore the area – just focus on rest and relaxation.

Road Trip Along the Scenic Route from Gatlinburg to Asheville

long road trip car tips

Keep the car clean (inside and out)

The day before any road trip begins, I always find one of those really nice car washes with the conveyor belt that pulls the vehicle through a wash cycle. Then, after getting the exterior cleaned – included RainX and a tire shine – I visit the vacuum cleaners. There is no greater feeling than starting a long road trip with a squeaky-clean vehicle.

On long road trips, it will probably be necessary to do a little cleaning along the way. Car washes are easy enough. Instead of relying on their vacuum cleaners – or paying for them – consider buying the THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner . It uses 12v power with a removable collection bin and comes with a nice travel bag.

For an added touch, the Little Trees Vent Wrap Car Air Freshner’s “new car smell” will make your vehicle smell brand new after getting it clean.

Join a roadside rescue plan

Most auto insurance companies and cellular providers offer some sort of roadside assistance rescue plan. If you don’t have the option for either of those, consider buying a AAA membership to access their roadside rescue plan.

At the very least, roadside rescue plans will unlock a vehicle, tow your vehicle to safety, and provide gas in case you run out. Better plans will include longer towing distances and more gas. It’s the one thing you never think about until you need it – so this time, plan ahead.

Road Trip on the Scenic North Carolina Waterfall Byway

Keep up with monthly bills

Only about 40% of Americans use auto pay for monthly bills like utilities and credit card payments – I’m not one of them. One of the biggest mistakes with long road trips that last more than a month is forgetting to take care of those bills before you hit the road or somewhere during the trip.

It’s easy to pay those bills with the home computer with your login information saved, but could you pay those bills on the road with a cellphone or tablet? Be sure to take your login information with you and keep it in a safe location like a locked glovebox or portable security case. Add the due date for any bills to your travel itinerary – and remember that cellular service is not a guarantee everywhere.

Life Pro Trip: Many credit card companies and certain utilities allow you to choose a due date for your monthly bill. Aligning all these bills for the same due date makes it easier to keep up with – especially while you’re traveling.  

Leave room for souvenirs

I know I said “pack everything – including the kitchen sink” earlier, but don’t go overboard and fill the entire vehicle before you hit the road. More than likely, you will want to buy some souvenirs along the way.

Smaller souvenirs like clothing, décor, and Christmas ornaments – my favorite type of souvenir to buy – are easy enough to pack into a bag or tote in the vehicle. But if you buy more oversized items like artwork, glassware, or large gift items, ask the retailer if they can ship them to your home or a relative’s home for safekeeping. Often, the shipping is included, especially in areas of high tourism where they expect the buyers to be non-locals.

Insider Tip: An easy way to keep up with souvenirs on a long road trip is to mail them to a friend or relative. The Flat Rate boxes at the United States Postal Service come in several sizes and are indeed a single flat rate – ranging from about $5-$15 per box – no matter where you ship it in the continental U.S.

Bring your favorite ___________

Do you have a favorite coffee mug? Slippers? Or what about a television series you love to watch? Just because you’re going on a road trip doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of those with you.

Bringing your favorite items with you on a long road trip can help you feel more at home and relaxed. Instead of missing that perfect coffee mug or comfortable slippers, you’ll feel much better having them with you.

Have an itinerary but leave room for spontaneity

It’s always good to have a travel itinerary. It’s essential to know the business hours of museums, restaurants, and attractions, so you don’t arrive too late or on a day when they are typically closed. Building an itinerary can help you avoid those frustrations.

However, leave room for spontaneous detours that will inevitably come along during a long road trip. Be prepared for entire destinations to change as your route progresses. Take advice from locals and be willing to give something new a try!

Road Trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fill all prescriptions and bring extra

For three years, I worked as a certified pharmacy technician at CVS/Pharmacy in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. During the hectic – sometimes chaotic – summer months, we would sometimes fill thousands of prescriptions in a single day. The most common type of prescription was for someone who had left the medication at home.

If you have any kind of regular medication, be sure to pack that for your trip. But for long road trips that last more than 30 days, you might run out while on the road. Make sure your prescription has refills on file with your pharmacy or take a new prescription with you – as long as it is not a controlled substance. If your insurance allows, consider getting two or three months’ worth filled at one time for your long road trip.

Watch out for 140-degree heat in the car

On sunny days during the summer months, vehicles’ internal temperatures can rise 30-40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. When I was a kid, I remember going for a walk to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse during a family vacation. When we returned, my mom opened the back of the car to make snacks – only to discover the Cheese Whiz had exploded all over the car!

The high internal temperatures of vehicles can ruin more than just pressurized cans of food. Contact lenses, prescriptions, electronics, and coolers are all susceptible to damage from temperatures over 100 degrees.

You can reduce those internal temperatures by using a windshield sunshade. Close the sunshade on the moonroof. You may even consider buying curtains for the side windows – it’s not as silly as you might think.

Set a daily and final budget

My first road trip adventure of 2021 was a spontaneous, itinerary-free adventure along the Gulf Coast from Gulf Shores, Alabama, across Florida to Vero Beach. After a week exploring that area of Florida, I was considering heading south to Key West for what would have been my first visit. But when I looked at my bank account, my heart hit the floor when I realized my travel budget was at an end.

I’ve never been good at creating or keeping to a travel budget, and that resulted in a road trip cut short. So the better method is to create a daily budget and stick to it. But also give yourself leeway for those rare opportunities to do something awesome and set a final budget for the entire trip.

The advantage of a long road trip is that if you’re on the road long enough, you might just get an extra paycheck while you’re traveling. So how many vacation days do you have saved up for your long road trip?

long road trip car tips

Only travel by day

Some people only travel at night to avoid any traffic congestion at all – and that’s a good idea. But driving on unfamiliar roads at night poses some safety issues – not to mention what would happen if your vehicle broke down at 3 a.m.

The safest and surest way is to only travel by day. It will be much easier to keep aware of the unfamiliar road ahead, and you’re certain to get roadside assistance faster during normal business hours.

The Ultimate Road Trip on the Skyline Drive Through Shenandoah National Park

Choose the best road trip route

My #1 Rule for Road Trips is no interstate highways. There is just no reason to take a road trip route onto the interstate – you’ll miss everything along the way.

But what is the best road trip route? National scenic byways are a good start – there are dozens across the country. But sometimes, the most scenic or exciting road trip route is just a simple country road connecting interesting destinations. The best way to find those is to ask the locals – they always know the best route.

Document the trip

After returning home from an epic long road trip, it might be difficult to remember precisely where you found that amazing cheeseburger or savory salted caramel ice cream cone or watched that stunning sunset. It can be downright frustrating when you realize you don’t have a single photo to share or any clue where to find the name of that restaurant.

But what exactly does it mean to document the trip? I am not advocating for ten thousand photos plus an additional five thousand selfies from your long road trip. Don’t become one of those people who jump out of the car on the Blue Ridge Parkway just long enough for a selfie and then leave just as quickly.

It starts with the photos. Capture an exterior photo of every restaurant, museum, and attraction you visit – and be sure to include the name of the business. Capture an interior photo and then one or two photos of every meal or activity.

Take a journal. Jot down notes of the places you visit. Feelings. Smells. Sights. Take note of the business name, details of the food you eat, and reaction to museums. Draw pictures and maps, create word maps, put any word to paper that comes to mind. It will all be wonderful to see all the photos and notes again when your long road trip is finished.

Keep in touch with regular updates

One of the most important safety measures you can take during a long road trip is to let someone know where you are and where you are going by the end of the day. Particularly in places where cellular reception could be spotty, it’s good to tell someone that by nightfall, you should be at a particular destination and able to call them again.

That way, if your vehicle breaks down while in a cellular dead zone with little traffic, at least someone knows the route you were driving to send rescue your direction.

Jason Barnette

5 Responses

Great tips. Do you have a good app that we can use to track how our car is doing. So like we put in the mileage and it does the calculations for us of how many miles to gallon and stuff like that?

The best app I know about is called Mile IQ. It’s meant for contractors who have to keep up with their mileage for bookkeeping, but it works for road trippers as well. Give that a look and let me know if it works~!

Wrote down some of the tips that I want to remember before the trip. Changed the idea of minimizing clothing to being sure to cover (see what I did there) all bases. Like having a warm hoodie even though I am planning a trip, late June, to the South. Having something & not needing it is so much more logical that getting something I already have but not bringing it. Thank you for your tips.

Thank you very much for taking the time to put these tips together! Very helpful!

Great tips, thank you! My son is traveling the month of May on a solo road trip for the first time so wanted to pass these tips on to him!

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The Ultimate Guide To Planning A Road Trip Alone

Keeping your wits about you on that solo car trip

Important Things to Remember

Preparing your car for the trip, the essentials to take along when you plan a road trip, safety tips for long driving stints.

Do you relish those long drives or do you dread spending that much time behind the wheel and just want to get it over with? Most of us will have to drive a long distance by ourselves some time or another, so why not ensure you're well-prepared with these useful tips for long driving stints cross-country? When you plan a road trip by yourself, there are a few things you can do to ensure it's trouble-free and enjoyable. You never have to fret about a solo road trip again, even if it's across the entire USA.

Car Trip

Long-distance driving requires proper planning. How to drive a long distance is easy if you simply plan it out step by step. Here are the most important things to remember on your car trip:

  • Road planning with rest stops. You should map out your route beforehand and know which roads to follow to your destination, how far it is, and how long it should take. Stopping points for refueling should be planned, too. Keep paper maps handy, in case you lose cellphone signal and can't use your phone's navigation. Schedule your rest stops every two hours to avoid getting drowsy behind the wheel - read through our article on how to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel here . If it's a multi-day trip, plan each day's distances and stops. Give someone your itinerary and periodically check in with them, and keep emergency services and/or roadside assistance numbers handy.
  • Food and drinks. Take along fluids and snacks to stay refreshed while driving and keep them within easy reach. Excessive salty snacks might dehydrate you, though, so try to avoid them. There are many healthy options, like fruits and vegetables, crackers, nuts, and energy bars. Avoid overly sugary snacks and caffeine if these make you jittery or anxious. Water is always the best, but tea, decaf coffee, or juice are great too.
  • Self-entertainment. There are many things to do on a road trip to keep yourself entertained but alert. Load playlists or podcasts on your phone or music player beforehand. If you have a music-streaming subscription service, download your playlists for offline use, so you save phone data while on the road and can listen to music when the phone signal falters.

Road Trip Planning

We offer comprehensive advice on pre-road trip inspections here , but this is a summary of how you can ensure your car is also ready for your road trip alone:

  • Have it thoroughly checked before your trip by a professional mechanic
  • Have it serviced if its next service is not far off
  • Check your tires - including the spare
  • Do all of this preventative maintenance a week or two in advance, so you can address any issues that crop up, following that initial check

The best car for long-distance driving is comfortable and reliable. A truck or SUV can be a great road-trip vehicle with plenty of space, but their gas mileage is quite poor, so a smaller hatchback car such as a Mazda 3 or Toyota Corolla is far thriftier.


While snacks and music are all well and good, it's good to have the following in the car, too:

  • Jumper cables. Make sure that you also know how to use them.
  • Flashlight. At least one, preferably two, including spare batteries.
  • First-aid kit. Essential in any car.
  • Toolkit. A toolkit with a few basic tools can come in very handy.
  • Any other emergency kit. Other items depend on the length of your trip, the weather, or many other factors. These might include a sleeping bag, overnight supplies, or equipment you might need for snowy roads, like tire chains.

You have a set distance to cover, you have to stop for rest and fuel, and there is a speed limit. These things cannot be changed, so plan enough time for everything and don't rush. Remember your cellphone charger and make sure you can charge your phone in your car while driving, so you always have your GPS and phone ready. Wear cool, loose clothing, and check the weather en route and at your destination. Keep a little cash on you, not just credit cards; you never know where card facilities might not be available. The best day of the week to drive long-distance varies and may depend on so many factors, but an early start before rush-hour traffic is always best.

Stick to main, well-used roads, even if they are a little longer. Don't take shortcuts or alternative routes you're unfamiliar with. Obey traffic laws and keep your license, registration, and proof of insurance handy. Also, remember that laws differ from state to state. To this end, have a hands-free cellphone kit ready to take calls on the road if necessary. Still, it's always better to make calls at rest stops, and never text while driving. Rest every two hours and stop at a safe place to take a short nap if you're drowsy. Don't turn up the heater too high, either, because it makes you drowsy, too; rather keep the car cool inside. Lastly, avoid traveling at night.

There is no need to be apprehensive about your next long road trip if you know you have properly prepared for it. Follow the tips in this guide, and you will have a lot less to stress about. Nevertheless, you should customize this advice for your specific circumstances, such as when you cross international borders or have to deal with treacherous weather. Remember, the trip is part of the adventure, so prepare well, relax, stay alert, and enjoy the drive.

Check out all small suvs with the best gas mileage .

Music on USB

How far can I drive per day?

You should be able to drive several hundred miles per day if you rest every two hours and stay alert and hydrated. Keep to the conservative side and don't push your limits.

How do I know whether I’m ready to drive alone?

If you haven't done it before, start taking progressively longer solo-driving trips in the months before to prepare you for how it feels and to familiarize yourself with the conditions of long-distance driving.

How can I overcome my fear of driving long distances alone?

By doing it more and by properly planning your trips, so you don't have to worry about so many unpredictable variables. Planning is the most important of all. That said, it is always best to have company and not drive alone.

How do I know what to expect on a long road trip?

There is no way to know what's going to happen for sure, so it's important to cover as many bases as possible when preparing: research routes, the weather, and the areas you're traveling in. Unforeseen factors might interfere, but they can be minimized with forethought and proper planning. While spontaneous, last-minute road trips may sound fun, planning is better and less stressful.

long road trip car tips

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The Winding Road Tripper

15 Long Distance Driving Tips You Can’t Hit the Road Without

This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I (The Winding Road Tripper) earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more . 

Are you heading out on your first long-distance driving trip? Or maybe it’s your fifth adventure? 

Whether you’re a beginner or you’ve got the sensibility of a long-haul trucker, these 14 long-distance driving tips are going to change how you see miles logged on the road.

These tips will help you prepare for that long drive. They include long-distance driving safety, hacks for making the trip easier, and tips for having some fun along the way. 

With these long-distance driving tips, you’ll come to love the open road. 

1. Have a Snack Attack Game Plan

Getting a quick snack gets a little tricky when you hit the road. 

While it’s fun to sample all the regional roadside snacks truck stops can provide, having some of your favorites on hand is vital for your long drive. This ensures you have fuel when you aren’t near a gas station. 

Bring along a cooler with some pre-planned road trip snacks to make sure you’ve always got something at the ready. We love this cooler from Igloo . 

Make sure you get a good mix of healthy and refreshing food and food that you just like to eat. 

Foods high in fiber and protein will keep you full and give you energy and make sure that you stay feeling fresh even when stuck in the car for hours. In contrast, the fun food is there for, well, fun. After all, this is a road trip, and snacking on junk food is a time-honored tradition.

Pro Tip: Plan for a few grocery store stops along the route to reload on perishable snacks.

2. Bring a Roadside Safety Kit

We couldn’t go too far without talking about the biggest safety tip out there for long drives: the emergency roadside kit.

You never know when you may get unexpectedly stuck on a roadside. And you’ll be happy you left your house prepared.  

An emergency kit should include everything from food and water to blankets for keeping warm if you’re stuck overnight. 

Here’s a breakdown of what to pack in your essential roadside safety kit.

  • Jumper cables
  • Basic vehicle tool kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles to make your vehicle more visible
  • First aid kit
  • Non-perishable foods and enough water bottles for each passenger for two days
  • Reflective vest
  • Fire extinguisher

Odds are you’re only ever going to need the jumper cables, but each of these items falls into the category of things you will wish you had if you ever need them.

We love this emergency kit for our van and always have enough water and food with us for a few days. 

3. Take Breaks Every 2 Hours

To help you stay alert while on the road, get out of the car every two hours. We know that you are probably in a hurry to get to your destination and want to minimize your stops, but a quick stop every couple hours will help you get there safely. 

When planning your long road trip, plan for a quick 10-15 minute stop every two hours. These stops can be to fill up on gas, eat lunch, or stretch your legs. 

Here are a few ideas of things to do on your stops:

  • Stop at a road side attraction like the largest corn stalk in Iowa. Use Roadtrippers to attractions
  • Pull over into a rest area. These are great for a bathroom break and to stretch the legs
  • Bring a football or frisbee to get the heart pumping a bit
  • Find a park for a picnic lunch

4. Plan for 8-Hours of Driving a Day

After doing a bit of research for our first big road trip, we had no idea how many hours a day we should plan to drive . 

Turns out for safety reasons, one person should plan on driving no more than 8-hours a day. This 8-hours is driving time and does not include the time spent taking breaks.

Can you drive more than 8-hours a day? Sure. But to help make sure you are in your tip-top driving condition try to limit your driving time to no more than 8-hours. 

More Road Trip Planning Tips: When is the Best Time to Leave for a Long Road Trip 15 Money-Saving Tips For Your Next Road Trip How to Plan a Road Trip with Google Maps: A Step-by-Step Tutorial Best Tools for Finding Attractions Along Your Route

5. Check the Weather Often

One of the quickest ways to slow up your drive is by hitting unexpected weather.

Before you head out on your road trip adventure, check the weather of the areas you will be driving through. That way if the forecast shows inclement weather you have the option of choosing a different route. Also, be sure to recheck it a few times during your drive to make sure nothing has changed.  

Looking at the weather for all of the areas you plan to drive through can be a pain in the butt. Luckily there are road trip weather apps you can download to help you see what’s ahead. 

6. Avoid Driving at Night

For most of us, driving at night is harder than driving during daylight. 

When you drive during the day, you have the daylight to keep you alert. But at night your body is used to relaxing and sleeping, so staying up to drive is no easy task.

Driving in the dark after a full day of driving already, can be a difficult unsafe task. But there are times there aren’t enough daylight hours for you to make it from point A to point B. 

Therefore, if you do need to drive more hours than there is daylight in a day, you can plan to drive in the dark first thing in the morning. That way you can get a few hours of dark driving in each day but are doing so when you have the most energy. 

7. Know Where You Can Find Some Quick Rest

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that driving isn’t hard work. Whether you’re the pilot or co-pilot, logging hours on a long-distance road trip is more than enough to put even seasoned road trippers to sleep. 

Therefore, you need to know where to catch some quick Z’s while on the road during the day and night.

One good tip is to know how to legally sleep in your car while on a road trip. Depending on your local laws, you can catch some rest at a rest stop. Walmart parking lots are a go-to for sleeping while on the road, but make sure you call Walmart’s manager and ask permission first.

If you’re looking to get some quick and especially affordable rest outside of your car, you’ve got options. More outfitted truck stops offer simple rooms for rent at the lowest rate you can find. 

You can also find roadside motels in more rural communities with bargain rates for their rooms.

8. Take Your Car in For a Tune-up

A long-distance drive puts a large amount of wear onto your car. Nothing puts a downer on a long road trip like blowing a tire 100 miles out. Knowing how to prepare your vehicle for a road trip is a great place to start, but a tune-up is ideal.

A tune-up is going to handle everything from inspecting your tires to making sure that all of your vehicle’s fluids are topped off. These inspections also look for common mechanical failures in the signs of wear that might put a downer on your road trip before you’re able to make it back home. 

Tune-ups get even more critical if you’re expecting to drive in tough conditions like over in the Rocky Mountains or driving during the winter in Northern climates.

9. Have a Plan to Fight Boredom

Even the most exciting road trips have long stretches on the highway. Those rolling hills can get a little monotonous without some activities to keep the mind going. 

One great way to tackle the driving doldrums is to put on a good audiobook for a road trip or try out a new podcast on your journey. If there’s one thing you’ve got while you’re on a long-distance road trip, it’s time.

While you’re out there exploring those highways and byways, why not explore some new books, music, and podcasts as well. Whether you want to revisit that fantasy novel series from high school, or you’ve been looking for an opportunity to spin the wheel on your favorite music app, now’s the perfect time to do some entertainment exploration! 

10. Dress for the Road

Back when cars were first invented, people put on their Sunday finest to take a ride around the block. However, this was long before the road trip idea was around, and we’ve changed how we dress for the road. For long drives, opt for comfort over style when you plan to be driving for more than 2 hours in a row.

When picking your perfect driving outfit, look for a balance between clothes you’re comfortable in while driving and clothes you can run into a truck stop for water and snacks. 

11. Listen to Your Body

Once you’ve been on the road for a while, it can get tempting to push yourself past your limits just to get in a few extra miles. However, taking care of yourself while you’re on the road is not only a good idea for safety; it’s also a great idea when it comes to enjoyment.

Whether you’re starting to feel a cramp settling in because you’ve been sitting for too long or your vision is getting a little fuzzy from staring at nothing but cornfields for hours, it’s always a good idea to listen to your body. You can think about this as your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to stop at a roadside attraction.

Taking a break from the road doesn’t mean taking a break from the fun. There are plenty of ways to pack every minute of your road trip with fun without pushing yourself past your limits. You can pull into a roadside diner, take a stroll through a small rural town, or have some fun taking pictures at a forest preserve or nature park.

12. Take the Scenic Route

You can navigate most of the United States by avoiding highways, toll roads, and other heavily trafficked pads. 

This has two significant benefits for a long-distance road trip. 

One, it makes the drive a little easier by breaking up those long stretches on the highway, and two, it adds some excitement by taking you through parts of the country that few people get to experience.

13. Prepare for Your Long Drive Before You Leave

Heading out on a long-distance road trip for the first time is a daunting challenge. This could be hundreds or thousands of miles on the road while driving through new places. Fortune favors the prepared, and these trips could benefit from a few first-time tips.

  • Have a plan for what happens to your trip should your car breakdown
  • Take out a AAA or another roadside assistance plan for an extra sense of security
  • Make checklists for supplies and check the boxes as you pack things into the car
  • Have an expected itinerary that you can use to check in with a friend or family member

14. Make Your Car Comfortable and Organized

This might surprise you to know, but your car wasn’t built for long-distance comfort. If you want to make your car comfortable for the long haul, you need to make some changes before you hit the road.

Don’t worry. None of this involves busting out the toolbox. 

It comes down to the little things like making sure your car is clean, it smells great, and you have all the necessary road trip accessories . 

Things like a trash can and a back seat or trunk organizer can be a game-changer when it comes to feeling organized. And blankets and pillows can help you relax when you aren’t the one in the driver’s seat. 

15. Don’t Forget to Explore

Some of the best road trip memories happen when you get off the beaten path and discover something new and unusual. So give yourself the freedom to take the exit for the “World’s Largest Corn Cob”.

If you’ve ever heard the old saying, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” then you know what a road trip is all about. There’s a lot of exciting things to do when you get to your destination, but getting there should be its own adventure. 

You don’t have to stop at every roadside gimmick, but if something catches your eye, there’s no harm in taking a few minutes, or a few hours, to explore something that interests you.

Printable Travel Planners & Tea Tasting Guides >>

Afternoon Tea Reads

Top 50 Long Distance Road Trip Tips For A Safe & Easy Drive

So you’re planning on going on a long distance road trip!? A road trip is one of my favourite types of vacations to go on. There’s no flight involved, and there’s so much flexibility.

Although it may seem like a simple trip to go on, there’s quite a lot to think about before you hit the road. From planning where you’re going to taking precautions for safe travel while driving.

I’ve gone on long distance road trips with my family, friends, partner, and even travelled on the road with my cat . Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot from every road trip I’ve been on.

So, here are my top 50 long distance road trip tips to make the most if your time on the road!

Psst! This blog post contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you!

Everything You Need To Go Before Going On A Long Distance Road Trip

Road Trip Tips Based On My Experience

Every winter my family drove 26 hours from Montreal to Florida over winter break to visit my grandparents. We also loved going on at least one shorter summer road trip to either Cape Cod or New York for a few days. From growing up sitting in the back seat on family road trips to eventually upgrading to the drivers seat.

So, when I met my travel partner in crime it was no surprise when we started going on some road trips of our own. Starting with daily trips to Vermont, then upgrading to an 11 hour drive to Prince Edward Island, until finally we did the same 26 hour drive from Montreal to Florida ( with our cat might I add !).

Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot over the years about what to do (and what not to do) on a long distance road trip.


You might also be interested in reading…

  • 13 Useful Cat Road Trip Tips To Know Before You Travel With A Cat In A Car

long road trip car tips

Top 50 Road Trip Tips You Should Know For A Safe & Easy Drive

There are a lot of different aspects to a road trips – from planning where you’re going, car safety, to the food you should bring. So to make my list of top 50 road trip tips a bit easier for you to read, I’ve separated my long distance road trip tips into seven categories:

  • General/ Planning Road Trip Tips,
  • Car Road Trip Safety Tips,
  • Packing For A Road Trip Tips,
  • Food & Drink Road Trip Tips,
  • Entertainment Road Trip Tips,
  • Overnight Stays On Long Distance Road Trip Tips, and finally,
  • Road Trip Tips For Crossing The Border

General Planning Road Trips Tips

1. decide what type of road trip you’re going on.

There are three types of long distance road trips. First, there’s the long distance road trip where the drive is merely a means to an end. It’s a way of getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Second, the road trip is the trip itself – you’re stopping at points of interest along your route. Lastly, your road trip could be a combination of both – so you’re willing to make some stops along the way, but you’re going to selective about it.

It’s important to know which long distance road trip you’re going on so you can plan your route accordingly. If you’re planning on stopping at all other than a rest stop, you have to add at least an hour for each stop (even if you think it’s going to be quick!). If you’re going to be getting out of the car, everything adds up! It takes time getting off and back on the highway, finding where you need to go, parking …etc.


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2. You Don’t Have To Know Where But Know When Your Next Stop Is

If you don’t know where you want to stop, at least know when you’re going to stop next. The most annoying part of driving for a long time is not knowing when your next stop is going to be. That’s why, plan a maximum amount of time between stops – and let every passenger know the time frame.

With my partner, we like doing 3 hour intervals. It’s a good amount of time for each driver and between pee breaks. But you can also do 2 hour intervals, especially if you’re travelling with more people or kids. Just knowing how long it will be to your next break gives you a goal to look forward to while driving. You don’t feel like there’s 8 hours (or more) of driving ahead of you, just 2 or 3 hours to go!).

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that you can’t stop before if you need to. This is merely in place to give you your next goal and to make sure you don’t go too long without stopping.


3. Pee At Every Stop Even If You Don’t Have To…

You want to minimize the amount of stops you have to make. A good way of doing that is to make sure everyone pees every time you stop, even if they don’t have to. This way, you can avoid stopping every hour when someone else has to pee.

This is a main road trip tip I learned travelling with my family! It’s especially important instil in your kids, or driving with a few people.

4. Download Your Maps Offline Beforehand

If you’re using a GPS you want to download the most up to date map before your long distance road trip.

But even if you’re using Google Maps downloading the map offline is still very useful. First, in case you don’t have good reception on the road (which is very possible!) you’ll still have your route.

It also saves you data on your trip. Imagine it has to download the map as you go, for eight hours … a day… until you get back home. That’s a lot of data used!


5. But You Should Still Have A General Idea Of Where You’re Going

You don’t want to be in a situation where you loose connection or you miss what your GPS said be completely lost. Don’t put all your trust in your GPS, you should still have a general idea of where you’re going.

Take note of what highway you should be on, and of course the direction you’re going in. It may sound obvious, but we put a lot of trust in Google Maps these days.

6. Check Your Route With Toll Roads Vs. Without

You probably want to avoid tolls if you’re going on a long distance road trip. Tolls can add up quickly, especially on longer drives.

Sometimes toll roads are worth avoiding because they save you money and don’t make a huge difference to the route and time. But, sometimes if you avoid toll roads, it can add quite a bit of time to an already long drive. You don’t want to do that!

Just check both options before leaving and decide which route is better for you! The money savings might not always be worth it.

7. Always Have Cash On You For Long Distance Road Trips

On a long distance road trip, you never know where you’re going to be. You can find yourself in the middle of nowhere, in a small rural town, without any bank or ATM. So it’s always good to have some back up cash on you.

For example, you might need it if you find yourself stuck on a toll road by accident. We’ve needed cash for road side assistance sometimes to patch up a tire. Or sometimes rest stops have cash only vending machines. You can also find yourself driving through a really small town that’s also cash only.

Whatever the case, just bring cash. You might not need it at all, or you’ll be really thankful that you have it!


8. Try To Avoid Driving Through Big Cities During Rush Hour

You want to avoid adding time to your drive as much as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to avoid driving through larger cities during rush hour.

Obviously, this can’t always be avoided but it’s worth planning your route a bit beforehand and seeing where you might be and when.

9. Leave As Early As Possible To Maximize Daylight Driving TIme

When you’re driving in a new place it’s always easier to drive during daylight than driving in the dark at night. So in order to avoid as much night time driving as possible, the earlier you leave the better.

There are also usually less cars on the road in the morning, which also makes driving in a new location a bit easier!

travel planner template: research

How To Plan Your Vacation In 9 Simple Steps

10. If Your Two Drivers, Figure Out The Best Times For Each Of You To Drive

With my partner, I was a much better driving in the morning when he was still tired and I was wide awake. But come the afternoon, there was no way I had the energy to drive.

I noticed the same thing with my parents on our long distance road trip to Florida every year. My mom would always take the morning and after lunch shifts. She preferred driving during those times, otherwise, like me, she would get very sleepy.


11. If Possible, Be Flexible On Your Departure Date

Of course, you can’t always have a flexible departure date depending on what you’ve needed to book in advance. But, this can save you some time and stress if you have a window of when you can leave. This is also one of the benefits I love about road trips vs. vacations where I have to fly to my destination.

With a flexible departure date, you can keep on eye on the weather conditions on the days you’re planning on leaving. Don’t forget to check the weather for your entire route .

We always have a few day buffer to choose the best possible weather conditions to leave. Sometimes it makes no difference at all. Other times we’ve avoided giant snow storms along our route by leaving a day earlier or later.

Also, always be prepared for extreme weather along your route. If you travelling in the winter make sure to have a shovel and wiper in the trunk.


Road Trip Safety Tips

When you’re going on a long distance road trip, your car is probably one of the most important things you need. Here are some road trip safety tips for safe driving!

12. STOP If You’re Tired!

I feel like I shouldn’t even have to say this road trip safety tip. But seriously, listen to your body, there’s no point in pushing yourself to drive further. Only bad things can happen.

If you’re tired, PLEASE STOP!

13. Pack A First Aid Kit

This is a new addition to our car – we always have a first aid kit under the seat ( like this one on Amazon ). Since we’ve bought it it’s already come in handy a handful of times. Hopefully you don’t have to use it but even if you just need a band aid or after-bite, at least you know you have just in case!

Just don’t forget to restock it before every long drive or adventure you go on!

Road Trip Safety Tips: Buy A Travel First Aid Kit For Your Car

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  • Make sure you keep your kit close to hand when professional medical care may be some distance away. Store it in your bug out bag, backpack,car or med cabinet for quick access.
  • We don’t know when there will be an emergency, earthquakes, accidents and injuries can happen suddenly. We also include advanced selection of emergency supplies, such as first aid blankets, scissors, whistles, and multi-function saber cards. Help to improve the chances of survival.


14. Check Your Car Before Leaving

If your car is new this is less important but for older cars make sure everything is running smoothly. Bring your car into the garage to check the breaks, battery, engine…

Also check when you’re due for an oil change. Depending on how long you’ll be on the road for, you might want to get this changed before you leave.

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My digital travel planner template  has everything you need to plan your vacation. And keep track of your travels every day with my digital and printable travel journal .

15. Have An Extra Bottle Of Windshield Washer Fluid In Your Trunk

You end up using a lot more windshield washer fluid on a long distance road trip than you think. The amount of bugs that end up hitting your car… anyway, I won’t get into that. The extreme weather conditions you may hit on your drive. You definitely don’t want to run out of this along the way.

We were once stuck in terrible driving conditions with freezing rain without any fluid. We had to pull over on the side of the road and wait for it to pass. After that happened to us, we always have a backup in our trunk just in case.


16. Fill Up You Car With Gas The Night Before

There’s nothing worse than setting out on the road and immediately needing to fill up with gas.

It will save you time the next morning and stress about finding a gas station. You want to hit the road as early as possible, you don’t want any delays for something as silly as filling up with gas!

Do yourself a favour and fill up the night before when you aren’t stressed with getting on the road


17. Have Road Side Assistance

If you don’t already have road side assistance get it … NOW! You’re going on a long distance road trip, anything can happen. This is like CAA, or sometimes if you’re leasing a car, it automatically comes with it (double check by contacting your dealer).

I hope you won’t have to use it, but it’s a very good safeguard to have and you’ll be very happy if you need it.

18. Have Jumper Cables Handy (& Know How To Use Them)

If you’re driving an older car these are a must have because batteries aren’t always the most reliable. This is especially important if you’re driving in colder weather where the battery can die overnight.

P.S. Also make sure you know how to use them before leaving!


Packing For A Road Trip Tips

Packing for a long distance road trip is very different from packing for any other type of vacation. If you pack properly, it will make travelling on the road a lot easier. Here are my road trips tips for packing on the road!


You might also be interested in…

My digital and printable packing guide on Etsy here . Filled with packing planning prompts for your next trip!

19. Important! Clean Out Your Car Before Packing It Up

Before you start cluttering your car, make sure it’s clean. Trust me, it’s an annoying step, but you’l’l thank me later. During your long distance road trip, the inside of your car is only going to only get messier, so at least start with it clean slate.

Throw out any garbage and receipts that have been left around. I even go with a vacuum to pick up any dried mud or leaves that we track in over the seasons. So the seats and the floor are sparkling clean!

20. Limit What You Pack For Long Distance Road Trips

Even though you’re travelling in your car, there should still be a limit to what you pack. I’m always guilty of saying that I can just throw something in the car because I have so much space! This includes extra shoes, that dress you’re unsure about bringing, or extra jackets.


7 Tips on How To Pack Your Suitcase Like A Pro

When flying somewhere, airlines make these limits for you (with weight restrictions). So you make sure to only pack the essentials. It’s kind of hard to not take advantage when you have an entire car available to you and zero restrictions. I mean, how can you not add in all of those just in case items.

Well, the more you pack, the more you have to unpack and repack… everyday. I find this leads to a very disorganized car … very quickly! The less you have, the more organized it will be and that’s so much easier to travel with.


21. Pack Up The Car The Night Before You Leave As Much As Possible

If you can, pack up the car as much as you can the night or the day before you leave. This lets you see how much you can fit (and if you have to take out anything out last minute). Plus, the morning when you leave you’ll have a lot less to do and worry about – you’ve already done it! You can wake up, pack your last minute items and hit the road!

I usually pack my everything except for my overnight duffel (if I have one) with my toiletries.

22. Pack Up The Backseat With Things You May Need

If possible, pack up the backseat of your car with what you may need on the road. This also includes your overnight bag if you’re staying overnight. Once the trunk is packed, I like to leave it that way. That way, I don’t have to open it up until I unpack it at my final destination.

I packed the backseat with our overnight duffel bags, and lunch and snacks for the road. So the trunk was neat and closed the whole time we were driving.


How [& Why] I Pack in a Carryon for Up to a 2 Week Vacation

23. Make Use Of Packing Underneath The Seat

Just like you make use of every nook and cranny of your suitcase, the same should be done with your car.

Not only should you be placing things on the floor of the backseat, but you should also use underneath the seat if possible. This is where I like to put extra pairs of shoes so they don’t take up any extra space. I’ve also stored water bottles here!


Food & Drink Road Trip Tips

One of the best things about going on a long distance road trip are road trip snacks! Of course, there are some things I’ve realized over the many road trips I’ve been on for eating and drinking on the road, including some road trip lunch ideas for you!

24. Don’t Forget To Drink! Bring A Reusable Water Bottle

When you’re driving, it can be easy to forget to drink. I’ve gotten to the hotel and downed several water bottles. Also don’t not drink because you don’t want to pee – THIS ISN’T HEALTHY!

One way to make sure I always drink is to bring a refillable water bottle ( see my water bottle of choice on Amazon ). I refill it at rest stops, sometimes I have to buy a water bottle at the gas station.

But a refillable water bottle also keeps your water cold (if it is cold to start with). The worst is opening up a bottle and getting warm water after a few hours. Who’s going to want to drink that!?

My Reusable Water Bottle Of Choice: Thermoflask

I have two Thermoflask sizes. I use the 40oz for back up water, but it doesn’t fit in a cup holder. So I also use the 20z, it’s also easier to carry.

ThermoFlask Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 2-Pack of Water Bottles, 40 Ounce, Gray/Pine

  • 2-Pack Stainless Steel Water Bottles: These double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel bottles prevent outside temperatures from affecting the inside beverage temperature so your drink stays just the way you like it; all day long
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  • Daily Adventure: Adventure awaits with ThermoFlask insulated stainless steel water bottles. They help you stay refreshed and hydrated for an active lifestyle. Soups and other hot liquids stay heated for hours; cold beverages keep cool throughout the day.

25. Bring A Travel Mug

Like my refillable water bottle to keep my water cold, I also always have a travel mug to keep my coffee warm ( see my go to travel mug on Amazon ). This was a life saver! I find if I drink an entire cup of coffee at once, I have a huge boost and a sudden crash, with a time limit to pee of about an hour.

With my travel mug, my coffee stayed hot for hours. I was able to drink it slowly and consistently throughout my three hour driving shift. This meant a constant stream of caffeine, and no emergency pee break.

Contigo West Loop Stainless Steel Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug with Spill-Proof Lid, Keeps Drinks Hot up to 5 Hours and Cold up to 12 Hours, 16oz 2-Pack, Grapevine & Steel

Shop My Travel Mug Of Choice: Contigo

Road trip tips: Use a Contigo travel coffee mug. It’s easy to drink from one handed, leak and spill proof, and keeps your coffee warm for hours!


26. Don’t Drink Coffee? Get Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

Driving is tiring, there’s no way around that, and it doesn’t get any easier the longer you’re on the road. If you’re worried about dozing off while driving, but you don’t drink coffee (or worry that it will make you run to the bathroom?) pick up some chocolate covered coffee beans to snack on.

My mom used these when we drove to Florida and it worked like a charm! Check them out on Amazon !

P.S. These also make some delicious long distance road trip snacks and you avoid those nasty coffee spills that always happen when trying to drink coffee while driving.

Shop Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans 14 oz.

27.Try These Coffee Alternatives For Energy

Just don’t like coffee because of the crash or the taste, try one of these caffeine alternatives for energy . These teas are great alternatives because they include L-Theanine which is a more slow and steady energy boost (so you can say goodbye to those pesky caffeine crashes…which is probably a lot safer for a long distance road trip anyway!).


5 Healthy Coffee Alternatives With Caffeine To Keep You Going All Day Long

28. Pack Daily Portions Of Your Road Trip Snacks

I did this on my last long distance road trip to Florida and it let me stay so much more organized in the car (and I guess healthier too).

I packed daily portions of our chips, granola bars, and other snacks for each of it. I put these in a small lunch bag that was easy to reach. This way, I wasn’t opening up an entire bag of chips for us to down without realizing it. I didn’t have to fish through all this food in the trunk – leaving a mess afterwards. And we didn’t have to worry about what we would do after opening up a snack and not having a way to close it back up afterwards.

Plus, because it was more or less portion controlled it was probably also a lot healthier for us. I packed enough for one day at a time, and then refilled it when we got to the hotel for the next day on the road.


29. Bring Ways To Store Food: Containers, Extra Sandwich Bags, & Chip Clips

Bring ways for you to store your food by packing containers, sandwich bags, and chip clips are all great just in case items to have that I find I always end up using. I use these for food storage if we have left overs, or ways to close the chip bag once it’s opened!

30. Pack Ice Packs & An Insulated Cooler Bag

Like packing containers, and sandwich bags, ice packs and a cooler are just in case items for food storage that I always find come in handy. These are for your food that need to stay cold while on a long distance road trip.

So if you order dinner the night before and have leftovers, now you don’t have to get rid of it. Store it in the fridge in the hotel and now you have an ice pack and cooler to keep it cool during the day.

Now you have lunch for the next day on the road.. which brings me to my next point for road trip lunch ideas…

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Cool Coolers By Fit + Fresh, 4 Pack Slim Ice Packs, Space Saving Reusable Ice Packs for Lunch Boxes or Coolers, 3 Packs of 4

31. Try To Always Pack Lunch On A Long Distance Road Trip!

Packing a lunch for your long distance road trip makes being on the road so much easier – I can’t even tell you. Stopping and ordering lunch on the road is stressful. You’re driving, you’re hungry, and you’re stopping when everyone else is stopping and hungry. It’s a mess!

Sometimes your stops also won’t line up with when you want to eat lunch. I find when we pack a lunch, we have the freedom to eat when we want and where we want. We also aren’t restricted by the restaurants off the highway, which are never good!

32. Road Trip Lunch Ideas: Leftovers Or Make Your Own

If we’re leaving from home, I’ll either buy party sandwiches or make an egg sandwich. If we’re already on the road, we try to order more for supper the night before so we have leftovers for the drive the next day.


But, on every long distance road trip I go on these days, I also pack items to make a quick and easy lunch as a back up if leftover don’t work out. That includes bread and peanut butter – I know, this isn’t exactly a romantic lunch but it’s practical as hell. You can bring the lunch foods that work for you.

These back up items also work for supper too just in case. We’ve arrived at our destination late, hungry, and just don’t feel like trekking to find a place for supper. So peanut butter sandwiches it is!

(Now do you also see how the sandwich bags, containers, ice pack and cooler come in handy!?)

33. Pack Paper Plates & Cutlery

To make road trip lunch ideas a bit easier on the road, you can also pack some paper plates and plastic cutlery. It comes in handy for making sandwiches on the go (and not making a mess in the car). But also for eating any leftovers the next day.


Never forget a favourite travel memory

Keep track of your travels every day with my digital and printable travel journal . Use it on the go on your phone or tablet, or print it out!

34. Try To Pack Healthy Snacks Too

The best and worst part about a long distance road trip are the snacks! You love them but definitely feel gross after eating them. Always try to pack at least one healthy snack to chomp down on when you’re bored on the road and feel like eating something to pass the time.

Baby carrots and an apple are my go to!


Entertainment For Long Distance Road Trip Tips

It’s boring if you’re just driving on the road for hours without anything to do. If you’re driving with someone else, you can’t expect to have enough to say to each other for the entire drive.

Entertainment is a must while on the road (but obviously it can’t be something too distracting for the driver). It’s important tot find what works best for them while driving. For example, my partner is an audio book guy but I’m a music gal!


Going on a road trip?

Check out my digital and printable road trip I Spy game on Etsy here .

35. Download An Audio Book You’ve Already Read

Audio books are great to listen to for a long distance road trip. They tend to be a few hours long which makes for great entertainment. But I recommend downloading an audio book that you’ve already read (or listened to). This way, you can still concentrate on driving and if you miss anything in the story, you already know what happened.

For us, this was the Harry Potter Series . Plus there are so many of them that it’s perfect for a long distance road trip. You can subscribe to Audible to download your favourite book.


36. Music More Your Style? Create A Road Trip Playlist Beforehand

Get pumped for the drive by creating a road trip playlist! It’s also optimal to choose the best songs for you while driving, you don’t want any slow melodies that may put you to sleep. It’s pump jams for me for three hours straight!

Similarly, of you’re into podcasts I’d create a queue for podcast episodes so you don’t have to find one you’re interested in while driving.

37. Download For Offline Use!

Like downloading the map offline beforehand, download any podcast or music you want to listen to. This can really eat your data if you’re listening and download music all day long. You don’t want any surprises. Also if you loose connection for a bit, it won’t matter.

38. Play Eye Spy To Pass The Time

If you’re one for some road trip games, download and print a road trip eye spy. It gets you to look at your surroundings and appreciate what you’re driving by!

Overnight Stays On Long Distance Road Trip Tips

If you’re going on a long distance road trip that requires some overnight stays in hotels, these road trip tips are for you.

39. Don’t Leave Anything Valuable & Visible In The Car Overnight

There are thieves everywhere. Parking in a hotel parking lot is not exactly a safe place – especially depending on where that hotel is. So, in order to avoid any heartbreak on the road, make sure there’s nothing visible in the car overnight. Especially nothing of value.

We always bring our laptop bag inside, even if we aren’t planning on using our laptops that night.


15 Important Cat Road Trip Tips To Know Before Staying With A Cat In A Hotel

40. Bring Your Own Pillow

I cannot stress this enough! Bring your pillow on every long distance road trip you go on! It’s one of those items that you should take advantage of bringing because you’re driving in the car. Your pillow doesn’t take up that much space and will be a life saver.

If you’re on the road for a few days you probably have some long days of driving and waking up early. Any sleep you do get, in a new place, you want it to count. We had a terrible sleep in a hotel but it was made so much better by having our pillow with us. No neck pain the next morning. It wasn’t a bad sleep because of lack of comfort.

41. Put A Colourful Pillow Case On Your Pillow

The only thing worse than not bringing your pillow at all is forgetting it at the hotel. So put a colourful pillow case to identify your pillow. This way you won’t forget it the next morning (or there’s less of a chance of it) because doesn’t blend in with the white hotel pillows.


42. Research Hotels Before You Leave

If you have a pre-defined destination, then great. If you don’t, you’ll probably have an idea of where you’re going to be stopping each night either way. I’d recommend researching the possible hotels within about an hour and a half radius of each other along your route.

This way, you won’t have to be researching anything while you’re driving. When you have a better idea of where you’re going to stop for the night, you know which hotel you can book. Quick and easy!

43. Don’t Wait Too Long To Book Your Hotel

There’s a premium for last minute hotel bookings that you’ll pay if you wait too long. Around 12:00 you have a good idea of how much longer you can drive for and where you’re going to be for the night.

If you can, book by 12:00 to avoid those night of surcharges. Prices go up for the night after the sun goes down.

44. Stay At Hotels With Free Breakfast Included

The hotel with breakfast included will probably be more expensive, but it will be worth it. Free breakfast is great on a road trip for two reasons. First, it makes leaving the next morning less stressful, easier, and quicker.

Second, if you don’t have leftovers from the night before, you can make an extra sandwich at breakfast.

This will also mean you have free coffee to start your day early with you on the road! So no need for an extra stop after you leave.

P.S. This does not include Bed and Breakfasts… Unless you have time to wait in the morning, I wouldn’t recommend booking Bed and Breakfasts for long road trips. It isn’t fast – at all! We’ve made this mistake and taken an hour sitting at breakfast just getting anxious to get on the road already. They kind of defeat the purpose of having breakfast included with your hotel on long distance road trips.

We always book Hampton Inns for long distance road trips. It’s a self serve buffet breakfast.


45. Always Pack An Overnight Bag

Pack what you need for your overnight stays in a separate duffel bag when driving for a few days. Like I said, if you can, this will go in the back seat of the car so you can leave the trunk closed with all your extra luggage.

The point is to keep it separate from your large luggage. It will keep your travel items more organized. You’ll have a lot less to bring up to the hotel room for the night, and a lot less to pack and unpack. That also means less things you risk forgetting in the hotel.

Osprey UL Stuff Duffel, Shadow Grey

Shop My Overnight Duffel Of Choice: Osprey

The Osprey Duffel bag is lightweight and packable. It also has a comfortable shoulder strap.

Great for when you’re on the road and you can pack it away when you arrive at your final destination.

46. Write A List On Your Phone & Set A Reminder

Write a list on your phone/ notebook of things you think you might leave behind in the hotel. These are things like chargers, your pillow, anything you put in the fridge or freezer. As soon as I take something out, I write it down on the list what I took out and where I put it.

The second step is to set a reminder on your phone to check it the next morning around when you think you’re going to leave. I say to do this because I always forget to check the list. But I still find that when I write something down, I have a better chance of remembering it. So it helps me either way!


Road Trip Tips For Crossing Borders

Some road trips will bring us across a country’s border. In that case here are my long distance road trip tips if you’re crossing a border.

47. Figure Out Your Phone Plan Before So You Always Have Data Coverage

If you’re crossing any borders, make sure you’ll have data once you cross. You can check with your carrier if you have roam like home. You pay a premium but you’ll be able to use the same phone plan from home wherever you are. It’s good for the first day crossing the border, but it will add up.

Another really easy option (and cheaper) is to get an eSIM (electronic SIM). It’s becoming more popular for phones to have eSIMs. If it does, you can download the app Airalo ( use my code MEGHAN4675 for $3 off ) and pay for a plan in any country. It’s only a data plan, but it’s really easy to set up and you’ll have it as soon as you cross the border.

long road trip car tips

  • Provence Driving & Parking Tips For a Stress Free Vacation

48. Include Time On Your Drive For Any Border Waits

Of course, you never know what the border wait is going to be like before you arrive at the border. So the best you can do is to plan that you’re going to have to wait.

Maybe plan that the day you cross the border is a shorter driving day just in case you’re stuck waiting at the border.


49. Research If You Need An International Drivers License

Some countries won’t accept your local license so you’ll need to get an international driver’s license.

P.S. If you’re driving across the Canadian – U.S border, you won’t need to get this.

50. Know Location Specific Driving Rules

Driving rules differ between countries and can even differ between States (or Provinces). Take Montreal for example, did you know that on the Island there’s no right on red!? It’s the same for driving in New York City.

You should do a bit of research beforehand to know what the driving will be like along your route.


  • Driving in Scotland: What No One Tells You

Above All – Remember To HAVE FUN!

Travel is always stressful and adding in driving to the mix is no exception. But it’s important to remember to have fun nonetheless! Don’t let the stress get to you too much!

You’re on a road trip after all! Have fun! If you see something cool that was unplanned, stop and see what it’s about. It’s all about seeing discovering new places and having the time of your life. If you think about it just as a boring drive, well it’s going to be a very very long drive.


Quick Links For My Long Distance Road Trip Must-Haves

Related blog posts.

  • Stojo Collapsible Cup Review: Why It’s Your New Travel Best Friend

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Everything You Need To Go Before Going On A Long Distance Road Trip

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Useful tips for road trips. Thank you for sharing these tips and ideas to manage road trips.

Thank you for sharing such amazing information. Keep updating us about road travel and tourism.

important road safety information you need to know before starting road trip.

Thanks for your comment! Safe road trippin!

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How to Stay Comfortable on Long Drives

Here's what to do to avoid cramps and other ailments. plus, what to add to your travel first-aid kit., sharing is nice.

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Woman staying comfortable on a long drive by standing outside of car with arms outstretched.

Long car trips can literally be a pain. But you can remain physically comfortable on long drives with these tips.

Stay alert. Drowsy driving can be fatal. Don't push yourself to drive late into the night, when you are usually asleep. Switch drivers if you start to fade. If you're the only driver, get a hotel room.

Pull over every 2 to 3 hours. " Sitting too long is hard on the lower back due to that constant flexed position," says Lynn Millar, Ph.D., chair of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. It may compress the discs between your vertebrae, potentially leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs. Your neck and hips could get tight, too. Getting out of the car and walking around a bit can help keep you comfortable on long drives.

Stretch your back . On your driving breaks, stand tall and circle your shoulders back five times. Then reach arms overhead and arch back slightly. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower arms and repeat once or twice.

Uncramp your legs. Try this calf and hip-flexor stretch: Stand with feet staggered in a lunge, left knee bent in front and right leg straight behind so that your heel touches the ground. With hands on hips (or holding on to something for balance), clench the right side of your gluteal muscles. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Relax your shoulders.  Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, slowly draw your head back as far as you can. You might feel a stretch along your upper spine and shoulders. Repeat six times.

Flex your feet.  Trips longer than 4 hours increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis , a clot that forms, usually in the lower leg or thigh, says Mary Cushman, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. Stopping to walk around helps. Passengers in the car should do ankle rolls and alternate flexing and pointing their feet one at a time every half hour or so.

Podcast: Tales From the Road

A first-aid kit, which can help you stay comfortable on long drives.

Your Travel First-Aid Kit

Start with a prepacked kit, such as those sold by the Red Cross for $20. These give you a variety of bandages, gauze, tape, and more for treating wounds, cuts, and burns . We recommend adding:

1. Your health and hospital insurance cards.

2. Enough of your Rx medications to last you the length of your trip—and a few days more just in case.

3. An antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl Allergy and generic) or loratadine (Claritin and generic), for an unexpected allergic attack.

4. A pain reliever , such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and generic), ibuprofen (Advil and generic), or naproxen (Aleve and generic).

5. Antidiarrheal remedies, such as loperamide (Imodium and generic) and bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol, and generic), and antacids.

6. Insect repellent and tweezers for tick removal .

7. Sunscreen , aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream, or calamine lotion to prevent sunburn or soothe bites.

8. Antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, and an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, for infected wounds.

9. Lubricating eye drops .

10. A thermometer.

More Advice for Your Road Trip

•  How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip •  10 Best Road-Trip Vehicles •  Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip •  How to Save Money at the Gas Pump •  Best Credit Cards to Use When Traveling •  5 Ways to Avoid Big Medical Bills If You Get Sick While Traveling •  Why Unlimited Data Makes Sense on a Road Trip, Plus More Tech Tips for Travelers

Tips for the Perfect Road Trip

A road trip is one of life's great adventures. On the " Consumer 101 " show, host Jack Rico learns from Consumer Reports expert Mike Monticello how to prepare for a safe one.

Editor's Note:  This article also appeared in the July 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports

For 80 years, Consumer Reports has been testing products and working to create a fairer, safer, and healthier marketplace. Click  here  to learn more about Consumer Reports' mission as a nonprofit organization. To help support our work, please consider making a  tax-deductible donation . You can also show support by liking us on  Facebook  and following us on  Twitter  (@ConsumerReports).

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A Passion and A Passport

Proving Travel is Possible with a Full-Time 9-5

The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist: Tips and Tricks for any Epic Road Trip Adventure

last Updated: September 12, 2023 road trip

FYI: Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content you see below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll totally blow on adult things like boba tea and avocado toast. As always, thanks for the support.

Heading out on road trip in the near future and looking for the ultimate road trip checklist? Keep reading for tons of these long road trip tips and tricks from highly experienced roadtrippers, and learn what to do before, during, and after your drive!

Road trips are always a good time. However, if you come unprepared, road trips can take a nasty turn for the worst. Should we book a hotel in advance? What about gas? Will there be food and restaurants nearby? How can we entertain ourselves for hours on end? Won’t the kids get bored? Am I allowed to do x in x country? AHHHH! It’s all so much!

CROSS COUNTRY ROAD TRIP: New York to San Francisco

That’s why this road trip checklist will definitely come in handy – I know I’ve learned a thing or so from my travel companions! Be sure to keep these long road trip tips handy!

I love me a good road trip. Over the past few years, we’ve road tripped the National Parks of Utah , through Fjords and glaciers in Norway , down the California coast , dreamed of driving from San Francisco allll the way to Seattle , hiked our way through Crater Lake National Park , moved from NYC to San Francisco on a massive cross-country road trip , and driven to a multitude of California hot spots ( Big Sur , Mendocino , Yosemite , Lassen National Park , and Napa Valley – I’m looking at you). I’ve even compiled the best long weekend trips from San Francisco that I’m eager to check off – many being road trips.

Norway Road Trip Itinerary: All the stops you'll want to make if you've got 10 days in Norway!

There’s nothing like throwing caution to the wind, grabbing those keys and driving off into the sunset. In reality, a road trip needs careful planning with a number of things taken into consideration. Enter this road trip checklist! Make sure to read each and every point before your next road trip adventure!

So get reading, understand the importance of each tip on this road trip checklist, and plan your next epic road trip adventure.

Psst: I commonly use this booking site when searching for low-cost car rental options, and like Skyscanner  (which I use to find low-cost flights) , I frequently find great deals on there!

I like to search  via this site  in order to compare rental companies to see who has the best price.

Road Trip Checklist: Long Road Trip Tips and Tricks

Safety tips.

Know the Laws Where You’ll be Driving

The most important advice I can give you before setting out on a road-trip is to brush up on the laws for the country you’ll be driving in. The world may seem to be getting smaller by the day, but the road laws around the world can be very different. Did you know that it’s illegal to drive barefoot in Spain?

Or that you have to have your headlights on 24hrs a day in Sweden? And that it’s illegal to stop on the Autobahn on Germany? I’m not saying you need to know them all the laws, but 10 minutes of browsing Google before you set out could save you some embarrassment, frustration or, worse in the long run.

Here are a few suggestions to get you going:

  • What are the basic speed limits?
  • What should you do if you have an accident?
  • What type of license do you need? – Hopefully you checked this before hiring a car!
  • Is there any equipment you have to carry?
  • What is the drink-drive limit?
  • Who has the right of way at junctions and on roundabouts?

Ben | The Sabbatical Guide

Share the Long Drives

Taking a road trip is a worthwhile travel experience. One of the challenges of a road trip is the long drive. It could be several hours, half a day, or even days before you reach your destinations. For drivers, fatigue kicks in after driving for hours. We handle this situation on our road trip by dividing and conquering the task. One person drives for at least 2 hours while the other person in the front passenger seat navigates.

Even if we use the GPS navigation device for directions, it helps to have another set of eyes to watch for upcoming signs, landmarks, and even other vehicles. After the 2 hours is up, we find the nearest rest stop off the highway or somewhere safe off the road for a quick break and then switch roles. It helps to share the driving and navigating responsibilities with others and to have a more enjoyable ride.

Jackie and Justin | Life of Doing

CROSS COUNTRY ROAD TRIP: New York to San Francisco

Do Pre-Car Checks

If you are not renting a car for your road trip, it’s a good idea to do a few quick checks to make sure your car will run smoothly.  It will only take a few minutes but could catch a problem that would derail your trip. First, inspect your tires to make sure that the tread is not too worn.  

If the tread doesn’t look good, you might want to get new tires before heading out on the road. Also, check your tire pressure and adjust so that it meets the level recommended in your owner’s manual.  This will help prevent a blowout or flat tire.

It’s also a good idea to check your oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid levels and add more if you are running low.  Then check to make sure all your lights are working, Finally, it’s a good idea to fill up with gas before your road trip so you don’t have to stop right away.

Anisa | Two Traveling Texans

Always Have a Paper Map and Know How to Read It

Having a paper map can be a lifesaver if you don’t have a GPS or cell signal. Even if you do have a GPS, you can’t always count on technology. Sometimes the power cords break, the device breaks, or for one reason or another, it just doesn’t work. Or, if you’re like me, you still get lost with a GPS because you turn down the wrong road 85% of the time when it says “turn here.”

Like with anything else, though, what good is it if you don’t know how to use it. I suppose it could still be of use in the form of kindling to start a fire if you get really lost.

Reading a paper map isn’t really that hard of a thing to do. One way to learn how to read a paper map is to find your home or a notable location on the map. It’s the same concept when you are out and about.

Chasing Departures

Hiking to the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park | www.apassionandapassport.com

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

Before heading out on an epic road trip, get a good night’s rest the night before. To avoid drowsy driving, it’s recommend that you sleep an absolute minimum of 4 hours, but 7-8 hours comes highly recommended. In reality, who can even function, let alone drive long distances, on only 4 hours of sleep. Also if you plan to drive at night consider delaying your trip by a few hours or wait until the morning if you are feeling sleepy. Remember, safety first!

Danielle | The Thought Card

Practice Driving on Difficult Roads Beforehand

Try and take the driver’s seat and practice driving on challenging and twisted roads across valleys and other difficult terrain before heading off on your road trip. You don’t exactly know what types of roads you’ll encounter, and it’s best to improve your driving skills and feel comfortable before setting off! I have seen lot of improvements in my driving skills now after implementing this strategy over time.This has helped me to drive on the most challenging and deadliest roads without any problems or issues.

Somnath | Travel Crusade


Leave Yourself More Driving Time Than You Think You’ll Need

The reason that road trips are so wonderful is that anything is possible. Leave yourself a large buffer of time, so that you can follow the road markers or signs you see on the side of the road to the magical places that the world has to offer that you didn’t even know existed. Most countries have a certain sign to mark historic sites. Sweden has three different kinds to show what kind of attractions you may find. Enjoy your road trip!

The Daily Adventures of Me

lower antelope canyon page Arizona

Plan Multiple Stops on Long Driving Days

What’s the point in going on a roadtrip if all you see is the highway itself? For us, the most essential thing while being on the road is to make a list of things we want to see on the way – and this is our top priority. We rather have a smaller distance of kilometres travelled, but at least see lots of things.

The best thing to do is to start you travel day by making a list of things that you pass along the route that you want to travel today. Doing so, you won’t miss anything and still have a super relaxed and fun day on the road.

Also, when it comes to stopping on the way, why not plan a picnic at a lake you wanted to see anyway? Having lunch has probably never been that nice before.

Travellers Archive

Forget the Map and Just Drive

Orrrr how about you just don’t plan at all sometimes? I’m not sure I could actually do this, but it’d sure make for a fun adventure!

Whenever you say road trip, people will instantly think about maps. Planning ahead, watching the map so that you know which roads to follow. But what if you forgot about any maps whatsoever? What if you just hop in your car, van, camper, bike, and just go wherever the road takes you.

Being curious on a road trip may prove to be the key ingredient for having memorable experiences. If you happen to spot a road that surprisingly doesn’t appear on your map, you might want to explore it. It could lead you to some incredible places, to some off-the-beaten trails and authentic destinations.

Don’t just stick to the main roads. You might just wake up in a forgotten village, or in a picturesque place, surrounded by wildlife. Don’t be afraid to get lost as the best road trips are not the ones when you simply follow the dotted lines!

Andra | Our World to Wander

Choose Your Travel Companions Wisely

If you are going to go on a road trip, choose your travel mates wisely. For days on end, you will be sharing close quarters and you don’t want to be stuck with someone that doesn’t travel the way you do or gets on your nerves.  Before committing to a long road trip, spend some time together when possible as a trial run.

Consider each other’s travel style and personality. Do they thrive on structure when you like to plan as you go?  Does one of you like to make record time while the other likes to make random stops along the way? Do you eat similar foods? If one people is a vegan who will only eat at Whole Foods while the other prefers fast food all the time, you are going to run into some issues.  

As you are planning, talk about budget and priorities to make sure you align on the types of things you will do and see on your trip. You don’t have to be a perfect match, but you need to know what you are getting into so you can prepare to have a great time.

Dan | HoneymoonAlways

Norway Road Trip Itinerary: All the stops you'll want to make if you've got 10 days in Norway!

Download Offline Maps

If I could give someone just one road trip tip it would be to download an offline map before you go. Google Maps allows one to easily do this with their app. We have been using it for years and find it to be the most reliable app out there for navigation. Simply go to the area you will be road tripping and download it to your phone.

Then you won’t need a WiFi connection to get turn by turn navigation. It’s all saved in your phone for 30 days. No GPS rental, no WiFi, and no hassle needed. Just make sure not to lose your phone!

Natasha & Cameron | The World Pursuit

Overcompensate for Time

My top road trip tip is to allow yourself extra time, even if you think you don’t need it! Overcompensating for the journey is crucial not only practically speaking, but also to lets you really get the most out of your trip.

You’re bound to stop along the way when driving through incredible landscapes. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the best views would you?! Additionally, stopping off will allow you to just enjoy your surroundings rather than being cooped up in a stuffy car all day. Enjoy the outdoors when you can!

Practically speaking, on unfamiliar roads you should allow yourself time to make mistakes, drive slowly, check directions, and find a parking spot. Finally, getting lost is both the best and worst thing about road trips. You’ll never know what you’ll find, but off-the-beaten-track also means extra travel time!

Keeping time-conscious will help you have more fun while sticking to the schedule, so it’s always worth remembering to add a little extra on the clock.

Suzy | Suzy Stories

Book Your Hotels and Accommodations in Advance in More Remote Areas

A road trip is a perfect time to just throw the plan out the window and just let open road flow.  This sounds really idealist. Except when you are ready to stop for the night, and suddenly find that the next hotel is an hour or three away.  This can be a horrific end to your day.

This issue is especially prominent in the mid-western regions of the United States.  These states are sparsely populated and towns can be few and far between. Towards the end of your day, start checking how long to the next town before leaving a town with hotel options.

Jennifer | National Park Obsessed

Heading to California and wondering what to do in Big Sur? Read on for my favorite Big Sur activities, where to stay, and (most importantly), what and where to eat! This Big Sur road trip itinerary will have you booking flights to California ASAP, promise!


Take Along a Spork and Water Bottle with Filter

One of the best items you can bring on a road trip is a spork and a water bottle with built in filter. With these two you can save lots of money and at the same time reduce your use of plastic. A spork is a fork, spoon and knife in one, which is perfect if you just want to buy some foods from the supermarket or some takeaway food – it’s not always that they offer cutlery!

And with a water bottle with built in filter you don’t need to buy water bottles. You just fill up the bottle with tap water, and it filtrates out 99,9% of the bacteria and gives the water a better taste. Even though the tap water is safe to drink in many countries, it’s not always that it tastes so good – and that’s where the filter water bottle comes in handy.

I never travel without my spork and filter water bottle, because they make life a little bit easier and saves me money!

Christine | Christine Abroad

Carry Water and Toilet Paper

Always carry water and lots of it. Not only for drinking but for a variety of reasons. You may need it for cleaning hands, shoes or worst case scenario filling up a radiator in an overheated car. Having baby wipes on hand can also cover cleaning, spillages, sticky fingers and freshening up.

My other top tip is to always have a spare toilet roll in the boot of the car. When nature calls, it calls! You may have to find a public toilet on the road and sometimes they aren’t maintained regularly. Don’t rely on there being a fresh supply of toilet paper at every public toilet. There is nothing worse than going to grab some paper and find out there is nothing there!

Travel Drink Dine

Norway Road Trip Itinerary: All the stops you'll want to make if you've got 10 days in Norway!

Pack More than Enough Activities for the Car

Long hours on the road can be difficult.  Having activities readily available for children, and some adults, will reduce the stress on the whole family.   Today, this is not as big of a problem as it once was, with cell phones and tablets, but a continuous stream of screen time is not the best way for our families to spend the drive.

Solve this problem with personalized entertainment packs.  Packs can contain a number of things, including magnetic games, small coloring books, puzzles, and reading material.  

We also recommend including a journal and camera, and some learning activities based upon the destinations to be visited.  This encourages discussion among the whole family. For learning activity ideas try online homeschooling resources, or a subscription service such as Little Passports.  

To minimize space impact, keep packs compact and convenient, by using a neatly organized lunch boxes.  Each child can keep it in their own space, and their snacks for each day can be kept inside too.

Roxanna | Gypsy With A Day Job

Cooler for Drinks and Snacks

I grew up road tripping around the United States, and one thing we never left home without was a small cooler for drinks and snacks. Buying drinks at gas stations and rest areas gets expensive, so before we left home, we’d hit the grocery store and grab bottles of our favorite drinks (bottles can be resealed, cans can’t) and bags of candy and chips to keep us going in between meals.

Pro tip: don’t buy anything that can melt like chocolate and gummy bears if you’re traveling in the summer.

We’d stash the cooler on the floor between our seats so we’d always have access to cold drinks. Hotels usually have ice machines, so you can refill your cooler with ice before setting out for the next leg of your trip. You’ll save tons of time and money on your road trip by bringing along a cooler full of drinks for everyone to share.

Kris | Nomad by Trade  

Take Along a Car Inverter

A car inverter is a fantastic road trip accessory and one we never knew we needed but now we can’t travel without! So what exactly is a car inverter? Simply said, an inverter allows you to charge your electrical gear in your car via the cigarette lighter charger in your car. It can be used to charge through both electrical plugs and USB. We use ours to charge all our travel gear such as our laptops, camera batteries, cell phones and drone batteries while on the road.

The ability to charge our gear in the car during a long journey between destinations is so useful and it ensures we never miss a photo due to a dead battery. Our inverter has saved us so many times, especially as we use our cell phones for navigation on road trips which runs down the battery very fast!

Elaine & David | Show Them The Globe

Heading to Oregon and wondering what all the things to do in Crater Lake are?! Click through for the best hikes, best viewpoints, where to stay, and what to eat - exactly what you need to plan your own visit to Crater Lake!

and with all that being said…

Don’t Take TOO Much Stuff

My best road trip tip is not to overload the car with stuff, though the temptation will be great! If you’re playing Tetris in the trunk at the beginning of your trip, you’ll face a disaster by the end. As with any other trip, take just a few days’ worth of clothing and plan to do laundry. Staying organized and having a place for everything is important so that you don’t have to re-pack the car at every stop.

You might have one small suitcase each for cold weather and warm weather clothing (if you’re changing seasons), a bag for things you’ll need at every overnight stop (like toiletries and chargers), a separate bag for swim gear, a cooler and snack bag in the back seat.

If you’re traveling with kids, try to minimize toys and other “kid junk” since it takes up plenty of space and seems to explode everywhere.

Melissa | The Family Voyage

STAYING SANE on the road / in the car

Music, Podcasts, and Audiobooks

Music is essential for a road trip, everyone knows that, but I find music can only hold my attention for so long. I like to take a variety of audio with me, particularly for long road trips where I’m driving all day.

Podcasts, especially serialized podcasts like Serial and S-Town, are great for keeping you entertained, especially during the least interesting sections of road. Some podcasts are so gripping that you actually want to keep driving just so you can find out what happens next.

As well as podcasts and music, I also make sure I have some audio books and standup comedy to hand. You never know when you’ll want something different, and it’s great to have options to hand.

Some people just prefer music, of course, and that’s fine, and the rule should be that whoever is driving gets to listen to what they want to listen to.

James | This Travel Guide

CROSS COUNTRY ROAD TRIP: New York to San Francisco

Create A Memorable Trip Playlist

No road trip is complete without its very own soundtrack in my humble opinion. Make yourself a

playlist of your favourite tunes of the moment, or songs in the theme of your trip. It’s so fun to groove along while you’re on the road but even better when you get home. Hearing those road trip tunes  immediately takes you back to your vacation.

I love hearing Bastille’s epic pop anthem Pompeii. It transports me back to our trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy, driving along the winding cliff top roads. I can almost taste the salty air, seafood pasta and Aperol  spritz cocktail as soon as the opening bars come on the radio.

Deeper in my past, Paul Simon’s Graceland album was the soundtrack of the beach road trip vacations  of my childhood. And these are some of the sweetest travel memories of all.

So put some thought into your road trip soundtrack and pump up the volume as you take to the road.

Katy | Untold Morsels

Have Your Camera Ready

One tip for a memorable (with photographic proof) road trip is to have your camera ready to go at a moment’s notice.  You never know when you might come across a fox with a baby in a field or a moose on a lake or an elk in a forest. Or maybe you will find an incredible view with nowhere to pull off the infrequently traveled road.  Or maybe you’re in Africa or Asia and you drive by a local event along the road.

I always have my camera by my side ready to go. If you have time, make sure you roll down the window to avoid glare and reflections. Please only follow this tip if there are no cars around or you can safely pull off to the side of the road.


Norway Road Trip Itinerary: All the stops you'll want to make if you've got 10 days in Norway!


Choose Your Car Rental Company and Car Insurance Wisely

One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning a roadtrip is the rental car. It’s very important to choose it smartly, because you are going to spend many hours in the car and it has to be as comfortable as possible.

The first thing to have in mind is choosing the car rental company that suits your needs for the trip. There are many websites that compare the different car rental companies and offer you the best price.

Once you choose the car rental company, you should choose the size of the car, which should be adjusted to the number of passengers and the number of suitcases you want to carry inside. Also, if the road trip destination includes mountains or unpaved roads, it’s better to rent a 4×4.

The last thing you have to keep in mind when renting a car for your roadtrip is the car insurance. Normally car rental companies include basic insurance, but it’s recommended that you extend it to full risk insurance, as that way you will avoid problems and pay a lot of money if you have an accident or you have a flat tire.

Sara | Mindful Travel by Sara

Know the Limits of Price Comparison Websites

Price comparison websites will almost always find the best prices and options for car hire, but it is also important to follow and fully understand the conditions of the hire. As almost all car hire companies will require credit cards these days when booking online, and these must be under the name of the driver. But even if the car hire company offers a refund in failing conditions, the online booking agents rarely share the same policy. So refunds are unlikely. Also, it is best to hire a car that best suits the conditions and terrain of a road trip, for example, engines of cheaper budget cars will likely struggle with mountainous terrain. And before driving from the lot, be sure to report and photograph any damage to the hire, know the fuel type and the fuel policy (full-to-full is generally best), as well as how to open the tank.

Allan | Live Less Ordinary


Rent and Return the Car in the Same City

A road trip is definitely my favourite way to discover a region. Flexible, you meet more local people and visit not-renown spots. I have a tip to give to say some money when organising a road trip. A tip that I learnt making this mistake myself. If you need to hire a car, organise starting point and arrival in the same place because rental agencies charge extra fees to bring back the car to the original location.

You can travel in a circle, as I did in Spain. I started from Madrid and visited Avila, Salamanca, Valladolid and Segovia, before going back to the Spanish capital. On the other side, when I visited Romania, I booked a flight to Timisoara and bought a return ticket from Bucharest.

While it was my favourite road trip, I had to pay the extra-fees for returning the car to Timisoara. Plan better, save money and use it for other activities!

Mario | Human Italian

point arena lighthouse highway 1 PCH


Bring the car seats for your kids along

It is really very easy to bring your car seats when you’re flying somewhere before your start your road trip. Low cost carriers will probably charge you to bring the car seat but it is worth it. You can just check it in.

The airline will put it in a plastic bag in most cases and you will find your car seat at the ‘unusual luggage spot’ which is mostly located next to the carousel where your normal check-in luggage arrives or at a special desk.

Car rental companies do offer car seats but nobody knows how to put them in the car AND for THEIR insurance, employees are not allowed to help you install the car seat. So to save yourself the frustration of trying to figure out a car seat you don’t know, just bring yours along. It is more practical, probably cheaper and most importantly you KNOW that your child will be safe.

Jessy | Planet Pilgrims

Take Regular Breaks

One of my best tips for road trips with little kids is taking regular breaks. We lived in Sydney for a while and would regularly do the Sydney to Melbourne drive which is 8 hours if you drive directly. We would do it in about 10 hours with a few 30 minute breaks here and there for the kids. We always found somewhere that had a little park so they could stretch their legs and expel some of their energy, we then found they would better settle into the next part of the drive.

We alway found just stopping for a toilet break was not enough and we would get back in the car and they would be fighting before we hit the highway again. A little play and run around made all the difference and if we were really lucky, at least one of the three would have a little sleep after a bit of a run about.

I also recommend regular healthy snacks with water only, we didn’t need any sugar highs in the back seat.

Sally | Our 3 Kids v The World  

A tip that has helped us in a pinch is when driving late at night, with the intention to stop and sleep at a hotel, call the hotel about 20 minutes in advance of your arrival to have the pull-out couch made up if you are needing one. That way you can just carry a sleeping child into the hotel and put them right to bed!

Momma To Go

Hopefully these long road trip tips have taught you a few things! When is your next road trip?!

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August 27, 2020 at 4:56 am

I love to camp and travel. Thanks for sharing such an amazing list. It is truly a great and useful piece of info.

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10 Tips for Taking a Long Road Trip

long roadtrip tips

Road trips can be a ton of fun. When you set out for an extended trip across the country, there are lots of sights to see and places to visit. If your trusty steed breaks down in transit, your trip may be cut a bit short while you’re still far away from home.

With some careful planning, packing, and precautions with your vehicle, you can maximize your chance for success by making your car as reliable as possible. Otherwise, you could find yourself stranded for a couple of days, throwing your travel plans off course.

Table of Contents

Long Car Road Trip Tips

Before going on your long road trip, take the time to learn some tips on how to get through it without too many setbacks. Below are the top 10 car tips for taking a long road trip.

Some of these tips pertain to the functionality of your vehicle while others are just common-sense precautions to take in case you get stopped by the police.

1) Pack Essential Items for Survival

first aid kit

A long road trip will often put you on roads in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you have everything you need to survive a night or two should things go sideways.

Consider the environment you will be traveling in. How hot or cold will it be? Do you take any special medications you need to bring along with you? Always bring plenty of water, at least enough for a couple days.

It’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit on board, along with enough food and water to keep you comfortable for a while. Carry a blanket for everyone in the vehicle if you’re traveling through a cold climate. 

2) Check Your Charging System


If you’re going on a long road trip, then it would be good to know that your car battery is fully charged  and your alternator is working correctly . That way, you don’t have any unexpected electrical problems on the road somewhere.

Check your serpentine belt as well to make sure there are no cracks or broken ribs. This belt often powers the alternator. 

3) Check the Tires

full size spare tire

Make sure your vehicle’s tires have good tread and have the correct air pressure. The most common car issue on a long road trip is a flat tire, so you need to inspect your tires thoroughly before the trip. If need be, either top off the tires with air or buy new tires if they don’t have much life left.

Don’t forget to check your spare. Make sure you’ve test fit your spare to ensure the bolt pattern and center bore will work for your vehicle. Test your spare tire on one front and rear hub; some brake calipers are large and will not clear all wheel sizes.

Related:  How Often You Should Rotate and Balance Tires

4) Check Oil and Consider an Oil Change

oil on dipstick

A lot of stress is put on the engine during a long road trip. You need to be sure that you have enough oil to properly lubricate the engine’s internal components.

The engine oil should be relatively fresh and should be changed recently enough to remain within the recommended oil change interval throughout the duration of your trip.

5) Check the Cooling System

bad radiator cap symptoms

A bad cooling system can ruin a perfectly good engine. Check to make sure you have enough coolant, and inspect the cooling hoses to make sure none are hard and brittle, or too soft and spongy. If you are leaking coolant, it’s only a matter of time until your vehicle overheats . 

Check the radiator cap and surrounding area for any signs of leaking coolant. If your radiator is made of plastic and starts to turn brown, you may want to replace it. 

6) Get Roadside Protection

smoke from engine

Roadside assistance isn’t a bad idea in case you do break down or run out of gas. This may come with your auto insurance, a dealer warranty, or can be purchased from a towing company independently.

Keep the roadside assistance number in your wallet and then just call the number if you have a breakdown.

7) Pack Tools and Vehicle Fluids

best mechanics tool set

You’ll want to bring enough tools to cover the basic problems that could arise. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Air Compressor for Tire Inflation

Having a small 12v air compressor in the trunk can help you get to a tire repair shop if you have a slow leak.

Spare Tire, Jack, and Tire Iron

Before you leave, check the spare tire to make sure it is in good condition and holds air. Many donut tires call for 60 PSI, which is about double the pressure of a standard tire. 

Spare Fluids

Carry spare engine oil, brake fluid, and coolant (especially if your vehicle burns oil ). It’s a good idea to check the oil, coolant, and brake fluid every time you stop for gas. 

Mechanic’s Tool Kit

There are many mechanic’s tool sets to choose between. Make sure you build or bring a kit that includes wrenches, needle nose pliers, a flathead screwdriver, a crescent wrench, and locking pliers.

Check if your vehicle uses metric or SAE fasteners. Make sure the tool kit you buy has the correct sockets to get the job done. Commonly used metric socket sizes are 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, and 17mm. 

Diagnostic Scanner

A diagnostic scanner will be able to read any check engine lights that occur. If you are knowledgeable about vehicles, this may help you determine if it is safe to continue driving, or if you should call a tow truck and get help.

It never hurts to have some duct tape and electrical tape on hand. You may be able to use it to patch a leaking coolant hose or bind two loose components together until you can make a proper repair. 

Sometimes the engine wiring harness can rub against metal components in the engine bay. Over time, this rubbing can cut through the wire’s insulation and cause electrical shorts.

Zip ties will help you secure any loose wiring harnesses or other items as needed. They can also be chained together if you need to wrap around a larger object. 

8) Have Cash on Hand

You should always have some cash in case of an emergency. You never know when you’ll have an emergency expense, like food, car repairs, a tow, medical kits, and so on and credit cards are not accepted as payment for whatever reason.

9) Bring a Smartphone and Charger

car phone charger

You probably already take a smartphone with you wherever you go, but make sure you don’t leave it behind. Be sure to bring your charger as well so the phone’s battery doesn’t run out of power at the worst possible time.

10) Know the Local Laws

Crossing a state line or international border? The rules of the road and signs may differ. If you’re travelling internationally, carry your passport.

Know the local laws in each jurisdiction you will be traveling through, at least at a basic level. This will put your mind at ease during any checkpoints, inspections, or traffic stops you may encounter.

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10 (and a Half) Tips for Road Trips

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Ed Hewitt started traveling with his family at the age of 10 and has since visited dozens of countries on six continents. He wrote for IndependentTraveler.com for more than 20 years, producing hundreds of columns on travel and offering his expertise on radio and television. He is now a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

An avid surfer and rower, Ed has written about and photographed rowing competitions around the world, including the last five Olympic Games.

He's passing his love of travel on to the next generation; his 10-year-old son has flown some 200,000 miles already.

Travel Smarter! Sign up for our free newsletter.

There is no denying that the lure of the road is undeniable and probably eternal; it almost seems embedded in our very makeup. There is a richness to traversing the land an inch at a time that is absent from the experience of climbing into a metal canister and climbing out at your destination. To get the most of your experience, don’t miss these road trip tips.

1. Clean your car before and during your trip.

Go ahead, leave the napkins and gum wrappers under your seat. Leave the receipts from your last business-related drive in the glove box. Don’t sweat the dog hair in the back bed … but you’ll be sorry. A few days into your trip, when the old gum wrappers are joined by new fast food wrappers, when the glove box starts overflowing with hotel receipts and local maps, when dog hair starts sticking to your luggage and your gear, you’ll rue the day you failed to pull out the Shop-Vac.

As your trip proceeds, take time every couple of days to purge your car of undesirable flotsam and jetsam. Even if you can tolerate some chaos (as I can), the accumulated junk and minor filth will start to drive you mad in the close quarters that define a road trip.

2. Check your vehicle.

About a week before you leave for a long road trip, have your mechanic check your car’s fluid levels, brakes, tires, and anything else that could cause problems. Be sure your spare tire is fully inflated and that you have jumper cables and extra wiper fluid on hand.

The Best Snacks for Road Trips

3. Have a loose plan.

Delays are the one thing that you can count on when driving significant distances. Admittedly, the archetypal “BRIDGE OUT” sign is a rare sighting these days, but the flashing “Road Work Ahead, Merge to One Lane” message is not. You don’t have to have seen a lot of Chevy Chase movies to know that things aren’t always going to go your way. If you overschedule your road trip, you’re almost guaranteed to find yourself slogging the last few miles long after you had intended to be asleep, trying to cancel one hotel reservation so you can pay for another well short of your originally planned destination.

On the other hand, having no plan at all is only recommended for the hardiest souls. On a trip through New England a few years ago, our plan was simply to pull over when we got tired to crash in a hotel; after taking three exits without success, we finally stopped at a place at which the front desk person asked, “Are you staying the whole night?” Ugh.

4. Get off the highways—but beware the Blue Highways.

Unless you have a specific destination and a strict schedule, there is little point in hitting the roads to see the country if you don’t spend some time on the back roads. However, some “blue highways” (as certain back roads were called in the popular book by William Least Heat-Moon ) are not much more than endless strip malls.

Most U.S. road maps have some indicator of whether a “back road” is an interesting one; the map I use most has small red dots along those roads recommended as scenic routes. I have found these recommendations to be fairly reliable; most have at least a few miles of interesting local scenery, offer driving experiences ranging from a rambling bucolic feel to truly stunning views of America the Beautiful, and pay off handsomely for those with the time, patience, and inclination to wander a bit. Roadtrippers.com , which is both a website and a mobile app ( iOS | Android ), can also help you find such scenic drives.

However, that being said…

5. …have an escape plan to get off country roads.

When I was a kid, my family took a trip down the East Coast by cutting inland to take the Skyline Drive. The Skyline Drive is certainly beautiful and occasionally visually stunning, but after a few official overlooks and an intensifying bout of car sickness on the winding roads, the kids in the car were ready to come down from the hills. It was also fantastically slow going; average speeds were about 35 m.p.h., which, starting in New Jersey, gets you to Florida in about four days of 10-hour drives. After about 600 sharp turns surrounded by a whole lot of trees and mist, I-95 never looked so good.

7 Ways to Stay Awake on Long Drives

6. Anticipate trouble spots.

If you are grinding out long miles on a road trip, it’s not hard to find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time—like trying to cross the Hudson River at rush hour or driving the long bridges to Key West on the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend . You’ll want to plan ahead so you cross the Hudson at, say, 10:30 a.m., or blast down to Key West on a Thursday.

7. Preload your phone with entertainment options.

The days of regional radio offering a musical or informational palette that you can’t find anywhere else are almost all but gone, so tapping into the local vibe via radio is far less satisfying than it used to be. That means you’ll want to make sure your phone is set to keep you entertained over the long hours of driving, whether you’re tapping into your own collection of music, streaming tunes via an app like Spotify ( iOS | Android ), or listening to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks .

If you’re road tripping in your own car, you probably already have a phone charger that will plug into the console and keep you powered up. If you’re renting a car for your road trip, be sure you have the right technology to plug into whatever power outlet is available in that vehicle (cigarette charger, USB port, etc.).

8. Tend to division of labor.

Some people are good at navigating; others couldn’t read a map if they tried. Some people are good at planning meals, while others think a big bag of chips counts as a good dinner. Know who does what well, and what really matters to your traveling companions, and you will divvy up tasks in a way that gets things done efficiently and to the satisfaction of all.

10 Strangest Places to Stop on a U.S. Road Trip

9. Join a roadside rescue service.

If you take enough road trips, eventually you will end up stranded on the side of the road outside East Gibbip a few miles from Podunk, equidistant from the four corners of Nowhere. Having that 800-number that immediately ties you in to approved local tow services and mechanics is going to save you a lot of hassle, and also shield you from some of the dangers of the road that none of us wishes to encounter.

10. Have your documents and a clean record.

I don’t know about you, but it sometimes seems like my new insurance card takes days or weeks to get into my glove box. If you are traveling without current documentation of license, registration, or insurance, you could be in for some trouble if you are pulled over for any reason. Further, you may want to clear up any old traffic and parking tickets before you go; under the right (or perhaps wrong, in this case) circumstances, your car can be impounded for your scofflaw sins.

5 Ways to Book a Car During the Car Rental Shortage

10 1/2. Know when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em.

Sorry for the hokey country song phrase, but sometimes on the road you need to play the hand you are dealt. On an eight-week, 15,000-mile circle of the border states of the United States in 1991, we were driving up Route 1 near Big Sur with a mind to staying with friends in Santa Cruz. We pulled over to stretch our legs near a restaurant/hotel, fully intending to get back behind the wheel in short order to continue grinding northward. It took only two or three deep breaths for us to decide we were going no farther that day. It ended up being one of the best long afternoons of the trip.

However, later on the same trip, we woke up in a state park in Wisconsin with about a week to go with a plan to linger in Chicago and Detroit, cut across Canada to Buffalo, come down through the Finger Lakes region, and generally finish off our trip at a leisurely pace. As we headed for a gas station to fill up for the day, we turned on the radio to listen to the news from the previous evening that the United States had invaded Iraq to repel its advances into Kuwait. When we arrived at the gas station, we found that gas prices had spiked about 25 percent, and the proprietor told us to expect more increases in the next few days. We quickly made the decision to make a stop in Chicago—we couldn’t blow off one of the country’s greatest cities—and then to bolt eastward to get ourselves home. It turned out that the sight of our front door and our own bed was more welcome than we had anticipated; we weren’t home early, but rather right on time.

Here’s wishing that your road tripping finds you on time and in the right place, even when you least expect it.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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The Best Car Exercises for Staying Fit and Stretched-Out on a Long Road Trip

long road trip car tips

Aside from being stuck in a small space with only podcasts and playlists for entertainment, other aspects of traveling can mess with your body, like relying on fast food due to the minimal choices on the road and trying to fall asleep in a strange bed. To make sure you feel top-notch throughout your road trip, you need only to stretch it out. Car exercises and stretches combat aches and pains, and promote good digestion.

The best car exercises and stretches for long road trips

1. while you're driving.

If you're getting antsy while driving, there are some exercises you can do that can help you loosen up safely without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel. And when you're a passenger, there's even a cardio sequence you can do right in your seat. (Apologies in advance to you road trip buddies.)

2. After you get out of the car

After you're done driving for the day, take the time to do this sequence of stretches that will loosen up the cramped muscles that have fallen asleep from spending hours on the road.

3. When you get to your destination

It's not uncommon for your neck and shoulders to get tight and sore after traveling, whether that's due to awkward, uncomfortable headrests or the general stress of being on the road. After you get to your destination, this soothing yoga flow will help relieve pent-up tension.


4. After you eat on the road

If you've had one too many fast food stops over your drive and your stomach isn't having it, take the time to do these yoga stretches that help ease bloating and benefit your digestion. You can even do some of them in the backseat of your car at a rest stop.

5. To help your back, shoulders, and immune system

If your back and shoulders are sore, try these seated stretches that can be done right in the car as a passenger. Since traveling can be draining to your body, yoga instructor Grace Flowers also recommends taking the adaptogen astragalus and drinking ginger with hot water (pack a fresh nugget!) to boost your immune system while you're on the road.

6. When you're constipated (you're welcome)

One of the worst parts of travel no one talks about? Constipation. Aside from drinking plenty of water and eating fiber (pack some fresh veggies and apples!), the Cleveland Clinic also recommends moving your body as much as possible. If you're experiencing constipation, try these stretches that promise to "help you poop."

These are all the tips you need to master stress-free travel , no matter how you're getting from point A to point B this weekend. And if you're flying, make sure to utilize some of these reader-approved hacks before you jet off.

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  • Road Travel

How to Survive a Long Road Trip

Last Updated: October 22, 2023 Approved

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 35 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 110,417 times. Learn more...

Road trips can be fun and exciting for the whole family, at least once you finally arrive where you want to be. Riding in the car for hours - especially in the backseat - can be extremely boring. Here are some boredom busters and coping strategies for when you're stuck in the backseat.

Preparing for the Trip

Step 1 Pack

  • You may also want to pack an iPod, or a Zune, or another type of MP3 player for entertainment. You can also pack a portable DVD player or gaming system.

Step 3 Make sure that the car is cleaned.

Just Before the Trip Begins

Step 1 Get comfortable.

Enjoying the Road Trip

Step 1 Play classic road trip games.

  • License Plate Words: This is where you find a license plate with letters and try to think of abbreviations for the word. For example, the license plate is CESC686. "CESC" can stand for "cows eat seven chickens".
  • Another one is where you get a list of most states in the current time zone and try to find each state in that area, bonus point if it's out of time zone. It's easier with time zones because if you're on the west coast it will be pretty hard to find a car from upper Maine.

Step 2 Use your imagination....

Road Trip Help

long road trip car tips

Community Q&A

Community Answer

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  • Wear loose clothing. You want to be comfortable. Thanks Helpful 126 Not Helpful 13
  • Try to sleep. You don't need to worry about your family babbling on about something if you are asleep. Thanks Helpful 113 Not Helpful 15
  • If none of that works for you, read a good book or draw or write on the trip. Just keep in mind the possibility of motion sickness and how hard it may be to write a straight line in a moving vehicle. Thanks Helpful 66 Not Helpful 13

long road trip car tips

  • Bring blankets or else you might get cold from the AC. Thanks Helpful 56 Not Helpful 7
  • Family members may be stressed out or tired of driving, so don't argue. Thanks Helpful 51 Not Helpful 8
  • Be aware that older or younger siblings may be annoying and they will put their feet up on you. If this happens, try to put Lego bricks or something uncomfortable on your lap. Or, just put your feet on them. Thanks Helpful 24 Not Helpful 17
  • If you sleep during the trip, it might mess up your sleep schedule. Thanks Helpful 40 Not Helpful 34
  • Glare on your gadgets will get annoying, so regularly turn off your device and relax. Thanks Helpful 11 Not Helpful 8
  • Never distract the driver. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0

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Urinate when on an Automobile Trip

  • ↑ https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/g99/10-tips-to-clean-and-detail-your-car-like-a-pro/
  • ↑ https://www.buzzfeed.com/fuelthejourney/cows-on-my-side
  • ↑ https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/how-to-survive-a-boring-road-trip

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How To Prepare Your Vehicle For An Epic Road Trip

Family Road Trip

Planning a road trip should be an enjoyable process, however, choosing destinations, booking hotels, planning activities can easily overwhelm even the most organized traveler. But with a little forethought, the results can be epic. That’s especially true during a global pandemic when America’s roadways are the most popular means of travel.

According to a survey conducted by Chevrolet and research firm Harris Poll, 80% of those polled said that going on a road trip has been one of their happiest moments since March. Forty-one percent said they road-tripped to a place they’ve never been before, which underlines an important element that often is left out of the planning process: preparing the family vehicle.

Even the most detailed travel itinerary won’t save a vehicle from a lack of routine maintenance, so it’s crucial to ensure that routine and other preparatory maintenance procedures are performed before setting out for an adventure.

Ideally, vehicle maintenance is a 24/7 proposition, but it is particularly important before a long road trip, especially in the heat of summer and to unfamiliar destinations off the beaten path. Though visiting family and friends has been the number one destination for coronavirus-motivated road trips, as reported by Harris Poll, beach, hiking fishing and national Park exploration rounded out the top five.

No matter the destination, take care in readying the vehicle that will get you there—and back. Here are some of the best ways to prepare a vehicle for a summer road trip.

tire care

Maintain Tires

Tires are the only part of a vehicle that are in direct contact with the road, so extra care is needed to ensure they are correctly inflated, display even treadwear, are free from any obvious defects and are of the size and type specified by the manufacturer.

Key considerations for tire maintenance include:

  • Air pressure : The specific air pressure required by a vehicle’s tires is found on a small label attached to the inside of the driver’s door jamb. The temperatures listed are usually stated as being “cold temperatures,” which means that tire pressure should be checked before the vehicle has been driven for any length of time. Tire pressures should be checked at least every 1000 miles. If the vehicle is heavily loaded, towing a trailer, or kept on the road for extended periods of travel, the tires should, at a minimum, be checked visually at every stop. It’s a good idea to keep an air pressure gauge in the glove box of your vehicle.
  • Rotation : Vehicles come in a variety of drive-wheel configurations, including front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The wheels that receive power wear tires more quickly than non-drive-wheel tires. This is especially true for performance vehicles, where wheel spin and hard cornering are part of the norm. Additionally, worn or loose steering components can promote the uneven wear of the front tires. Rotating tires moves them front-to-back or side-to-side, promoting even wear. (The proper rotation pattern for your car is located in the owners manual.) This service should be performed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or sooner if uneven wear is observed. Many shops include tire rotation in the price of their oil change specials.
  • Condition : Bulges, gouges, and other visually observable damage should be inspected by a professional to ensure that the tire’s structural integrity isn’t compromised. Even a minor impact from a pothole or curb can damage a tire. Visual cues, such as uneven tread wear and odd wear patterns on other parts of the tire are an indication that a checkup is overdue.

How to check oil

Check Fluids

Maintaining a vehicle’s fluids is an essential step toward ensuring that a summer road trip goes off without a hitch. While motor oil is sometimes referred to as the lifeblood of an engine, modern vehicles use a variety of specialized fluids vital to your vehicle’s operation and longevity.

  • Transmission fluid : Many new vehicles come with sealed transmissions that don’t allow for easy checking or topping off of the fluid, but it’s still important to understand the role transmission fluid, or oil, plays in its operation. Depending on the vehicle, the transmission may have a service interval of up to 100,000 miles and require special equipment to replace it. A good rule of thumb for vehicles equipped with a traditional dipstick should be to check the fluid regularly and replace it according to the specifications outlined in your owners manual. Old fluid can accumulate dirt and debris and dramatically reduce your transmission’s performance and lifespan and burnt fluid can indicate severe wear of the internal components. Automatic transmissions can be finicky, so if you have any doubts, see your dealer or a qualified independent mechanic.
  • Power steering fluid : While electric and electrically-assisted power steering systems become more common every day, plenty of vehicles still utilize hydraulic power steering systems. These power steering systems use a fluid that can become contaminated over time, hampering performance and possibly causing leaks or damage to the system components. The fluid reservoir is generally located in an easily accessible location under the hood, making it easy to check each time vehicle’s engine oil is changed.
  • Brake fluid : Braking systems use fluid to build hydraulic pressure to force the calipers to clamp the brake pads down onto the rotors. If the brake pedal starts to feel spongy or soft, air may have accumulated in the brake lines, which can require a service to bleed the lines. Brake fluid also gets contaminated and can absorb moisture, both of which can reduce performance. Service should be performed according to the service intervals outlined in your owner’s manual or approximately every 24,000 miles in everyday use. Your dealer or local shop can advise you on the best plan of action if you notice reduced braking performance.

tony stewart oil change

  • Engine oil : Checking a vehicle’s engine oil is one of the most critical and easy to check maintenance items for an owner to perform. Some new vehicles come with a factory oil-change interval of up to 10,000 miles, but the oil should still be checked at least every 1,000 to 3,000 miles. Modern engine oil contains a number of additives that enhance lubrication properties and help to keep the oiling system clean, and over time they can become depleted. An unprecedented loss or consumption of oil could indicate more significant problems. The owner’s manual will define the type of oil to be used and how often it should be changed. And if you’re doing it yourself, don’t forget to pick up a new filter too.
  • Coolant : Often referred to as anti-freeze, engine coolant is nearly as vital as motor oil. Coolant not only keeps engine temps down in the summer but helps the engine maintain the optimum operating temperature in cold climates as well as providing heat for the passengers. Low coolant can cause overheating, especially in hot weather with a fully-loaded vehicle. Like motor oil, coolant is fortified with additives that enhance performance and inhibit corrosion. Most vehicles have a transparent “overflow” tank under the hood that allows for visual inspection of the coolant level. CAUTION: Never attempt to check engine coolant on a hot or warm vehicle. If you suspect the coolant is low or compromised, see a qualified service professional.
  • Windshield wiper fluid : Summer road trips offer several opportunities for bugs to smash into the windshield, and while it isn’t perfect, the vehicle’s windshield washer provides the only way to clean them off without making a time-consuming pit stop. Most vehicles have a warning light that indicates the windshield washer fluid level is low, but the fluid reservoir should be located in an easily visible place under the hood to allow for easy checks.

Windshield washer fluid resevoir

Keep Up With Routine Maintenance

Fluids are essential, but they are far from the only vehicle maintenance consideration. The following should be performed regularly, but are especially important before a long road trip:

  • Air filters : Most vehicles have two types of air filters. The engine air filter provides debris-free air to the engine, and the cabin air filter filters the incoming air to the passenger compartment. For the vehicle to perform as intended and for the people inside it to breathe freely, the vehicle’s air filters need to be replaced regularly. The engine air filter and cabin filters should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Barring that, every 10,000 to 15,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.
  • Belts and Hoses : Gone are the days when an average vehicle relied on three, four, or more individual belts to power all the accessories. Although there are exceptions, manufacturers now employ a single ribbed serpentine belt to drive the alternator, air conditioning compressor, water pump and other accessories whenever possible. Still, the belts wear and a quick visual inspection will reveal any cracks or fraying. While you’re at it, give the hoses a quick view noting any cracking sings of leakage at junction points.
  • Lighting : A vehicle’s headlights are an obvious source of light, but there are multiple bulbs inside the cabin that may occasionally need checking and replacement. There is nothing more irritating than trying to use an interior light after dark, only to find out that it has burned out. These are generally easy to replace, and most auto parts stores carry a wide variety of replacements saving you trip to the dealer.

Clean Your Car

Clean the Vehicle

Driving a clean vehicle doesn’t just make for a more pleasant experience behind the wheel; it can add up to a fuel economy penalty if there is enough added weight. In addition to a full vacuum and exterior wash, make sure to remove all the excess baggage—athletic equipment, laundry and the rest of the daily detritus—to remove any extra weight. As a side bonus, it will clear room for luggage and other items required for the road trip. Plus, the psychological benefits of hitting the road in a clean, well-organized machine will make the trip even better.

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Your ultimate checklist for an epic road trip

Travel Travel Inspiration Road Trips Epic Road Trip Tips

Road trips are one of the most fun ways to travel and explore a place. Think about it - wouldn’t you rather breathe in some fresh air and get lost in serene landscapes instead of waiting in long lines at the airport? Of course! Now, although road trips can be exciting, they can also get to you if you haven’t planned a few things out. We’ve put together a list of hacks and tips to make sure you have an epic road trip with fewer unpleasant surprises and many memorable ones!

27 Expert Tips For An Epic Road Trip

Below are the tips and hacks you're here for. Read on and thank us later!

#1 Budget the road trip (and stick to it)

Plan your budget beforehand so you can figure out how much you’ll need for the entire trip. Don’t underestimate your total budget because you don’t want to fall short of money. You’ll also want to account for unforeseen expenses, emergencies, and toll gates. Always carry enough cash just in case you can’t use your cards. If you’re traveling with other adults, decide on a budget together. Talk about how much you plan to spend each day and how much you need to set aside for different activities. It’s always good to plan these things out together and set expectations during the planning process.

#2 Alternate coffee with water to stay alert

Although coffee is widely accepted as the beverage that keeps you awake and alert, it’s not the best choice if you’re driving for long hours. the caffeine can make you very dehydrated and lethargic after a while, making things extremely uncomfortable, especially if you’re driving. caffeine acts as a stimulant but often works for a short duration. taking a few sips of plain water or snacking on water-infused fruits every now can really help you stay hydrated and alert for the whole journey., #3 get a thorough car health check-up before you hit the road.

The last thing you want on your road trip is to have your car break down. Head over to the closest garage or mechanic and have them check your car thoroughly. Check the tire pressure for any signs of a possible flat. Fill up the car with a full tank to skip the hassle of finding a station in the first few hours of your road trip. Always keep a spare tire or two in the car just in case you need it on the way, and of course, learn how to change a tire before you hit the road. You just might need it for those areas where road assistance is miles away.

#4 Let your bank know where you’re going

It’s a good idea to inform your bank about where you’re headed in case of any money-related emergency that can crop up on your holiday. Because you’ll be traveling to unfamiliar places, there’s always the chance of running into frauds, even if you’re extremely careful. Keeping your bank informed can ensure that all transactions made on your holiday are looked into and any action needed can be done almost immediately. Put yourself at ease and let your bank know your travel plans before you head out.

#5 Chart a rough itinerary

You don’t want to rely solely on spontaneity, and at the same time, you don’t want to plan every tiny aspect of the trip. What you can do is chart out a rough itinerary, including pit stops, places to visit once you reach, restaurants, and the like. Basically, a rough idea of all the things you want to cover on the trip. This gives you a lot to look forward to but also room for some flexibility. For instance, let’s say you had a long night and woke up too late for breakfast and sightseeing, that’s okay! If your plan is flexible, you can still make the most of the day and see what else you can do.

Travel Planner

#6 Carry cash and stash them carefully

Carrying a sufficient amount of cash on your road trip is absolutely essential. You just might need cash for places that don’t accept card payments, especially if you’re traveling through a small town or village. Maybe you want to grab a quick bite at a little food stall or food truck, maybe you get a flat and have to call for road assistance. Either way, keep some cash with you just in case. But don’t keep all of it in one spot. Carefully distribute it across a few spots and make sure it’s safe and hidden.

#7 Fill up gas using a Credit Card that gives cashback

Many banks have exciting cashback offers when it comes to expenses like fuel. You’ll probably need a full tank or three for your whole trip so why not save some money and earn some points/cashback while you fuel up. Call or visit your bank before you fuel up to see if your credit card is eligible for a cashback. If not, check with your road trip buddies to see if any of them have cashback offers. This is super helpful, especially if your journey is going to be a long one and you need to fill fuel more than a couple of times.

#8 Fill up gas every chance you get

Even if you have more than a half tank of gas, it’s always better to fuel up every chance you get. You never know when you might find the next gas station and sometimes it could be several hours before you do. Sometimes it might even be shut. So, even if you do your homework and figure out where all the gas stations are on your way and back, it’s always better to be safe and fill gas whenever you find a station, especially if you’ve used up half or more of your tank.

Travel Planner

#9 Opt for truck stops over rest areas

Because you’re traveling to unknown areas, your safest bet is to opt for truck stops instead of secluded pitstops. This is an especially useful tip if you’re traveling with women and children and want to be cautious. Truck stops aren’t just for truckers anymore. With adequate lighting, food, facilities, and a small crowd, it is definitely much safer than stopping at a remote area with no one around. Either way, be cautious about where you pull up and quickly scan the area to make sure it’s safe.

#10 Schedule exercise breaks every 2 to 4 hours

We all know how painful it is to sit in the same position for hours on end. You definitely want to avoid this especially while driving and stop for a quick stretch every 2-4 hours. Doing this will help keep the inevitable back pain and leg cramps at bay. Stop every few hours and stretch it out, especially if you feel your body starting to get stiff. Breathe in some fresh air, pop a few healthy snacks, and stay hydrated so your body is in good shape to get back on the road.

#11 Learn how to change a tire

No one really tells you the importance of knowing how to change a tire, but it is an extremely valuable skill to have. It’s easy to call someone to change your tire when you run a flat in a city, but what happens when you’re in the middle of nowhere? You may not find road assistance close by or they might be miles away and take hours to reach you. You’d rather take the time to learn how to change a tire yourself and save yourself time and money.. If you learn how to do it right, the whole ordeal takes just 10-15 minutes.

Travel Planner

#12 Bring a portable charger for your devices

We’re all pretty reliant on GPS, especially when we’re traveling. Your phone is precious in more than one way and you can’t have it drain out before you reach your destination. When you’re on a road trip, you usually rely on your vehicle’s power to charge your device. On the off chance that your car breaks down and you can’t charge your phone for assistance, it's good to have a backup charger. So carry one or two portable chargers for emergencies!

#13 Carry an offline/physical map for when GPS ditches you

Let’s be honest, we’d be pretty lost without GPS, and you can’t have your GPS giving up on you on a road trip! Backups are essential. Although the age of physical maps might be long gone, you never know when it’ll come in handy. You should also download offline maps before you set out in case you lose network and can’t access your GPS. Having all of this sorted ahead of time will save you from being stranded.

Travel Planner

#14 Preload your phone with playlists and podcasts

Road trips are always more fun when you have some fun tunes to hum along to. Remember that you’re probably going to be out of range for the radio to function, so put a few playlists together before you hit the road. You might also lose signal sometimes, so maybe download all the songs and podcasts just in case. That way you always have music and entertainment to keep you engaged through the long stretches. Although road trip games are fun, sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and listen to good music. Don’t forget to keep everyone’s taste in mind when you’re making these playlists.

#15 Get off the highway and take the road less traveled (sometimes)

Driving on the highway can get monotonous and boring. If you have a car that can handle a little bit of off-roading, why not take an alternate route or a short detour and go on a mini-adventure? You never know what you might find in the nooks of new towns, but we’re sure it’ll be worth finding out. That said, don’t take too much of a detour and lose your way completely! Make sure to check the maps before you hit the detour to see which roads will lead you back to the highway.

long road trip car tips

Ultimate Bucketlist Road Trips In The World

#16 book flexible attraction tickets in advance.

It’s important to have a loose itinerary in mind when you plan a road trip. Although planning and booking things in advance is helpful, you might change your mind once you’re actually there. Booking flexible attraction tickets gives you the option of canceling your tickets or rescheduling them without losing money. This is a great option if you and your buddies are more on the spontaneous side. Have some fun and be flexible with your plans.

Book last minute experiences on Headout , your one-stop digital marketplace for tours, activties and experiences across 100+ cities around the globe.

Travel Planner

#17 Snap pictures of informative signs when you enter a city/town and keep them handy

Just like how you might take pictures of where your car is parked in a massive parking lot, you probably want to take pictures of important signs on your road trip. Keep these pictures in handy in case you get lost and need to retrace your path. It’s also a good idea to keep these pictures in case of any other emergency that pops up when you’re on the road in unfamiliar areas.

Travel Planner

#18 Download a handy chunk of road trip friendly apps

Nowadays there are apps for pretty much everything. To find a toilet, to find the closest gas station, to chart your road trip itinerary and even to find the nearest parking. Before setting off on a road trip, make sure to download the few recommended road trip apps to help make your trip hassle-free!

#19 Stock up on emergency essentials (more than one of each)

Include emergency essentials on your road trip packing list. You always need to be prepared in case of accidents and emergencies, especially if you’re in for a long drive and help is far off. Some important things that need to be packed include a first-aid kit, road safety kit, car tools, spare tires and other car parts, a flashlight, blankets, and water.

#20 Travel insurance + Car insurance are an absolute must

There’s a reason why accidents are called that - because you never know when they can happen. Make sure you have car insurance and travel insurance and keep a copy or two of them in the car. You want to be prepared for anything when you’re on a road trip, especially when there are other people in the car with you. Insurance is a must when you’re heading out on a road trip..

#21 Know the road rules of the country

Get yourself familiar with the road rules of the place you’re going to visit. Sometimes each state has its own travel rules for the road. Do a bit of research and find tips for travelers from official travel and tourism websites. Whether it’s Europe, the United States, Australia, or Asia, you can find important information about road rules on their government or tourism sites. This little extra step can help reduce any tension when you’re driving and prepare you for the unexpected.

#22 Carry a foldable chair and portable picnic set

One of the most exciting parts of a road trip is finding beautiful spots along the way where you can enjoy the view, take some cool pictures, or better - have a picnic! Carry a few foldable chairs and a portable picnic set with you so you can have an impromptu picnic anywhere, anytime. Light food and beverages are perfect for a picnic, like sandwiches, juice boxes, chips, and whatever else you fancy. Having a small picnic in the middle of your road trip also gives you a chance to unwind and enjoy nature before getting back on the road.

Travel Planner

#23 Sunscreens for the windows are a blessing during afternoons

When you crank the air conditioner up, it can slow down your car or burn up fuel much faster. but when you roll the windows down, it can get loud with harsh winds. plus, the car usually gets quite heated up during noon, making it uncomfortable for passengers inside. a bunch of hot, sweaty, irritable people stuck next to each other for a long time inside a car can make things very uncomfortable. invest in sunscreens for the car windows so that even if you’re driving when the sun is at its peak, you can still have a pleasant drive., #24 cover distances during daylight, the best time to start your road trip is at 4 or 5 am in the morning, just before the sun rises. this way you get to beat the morning traffic and be out of the city in time to catch some sensational views of the sunrise. plus, without regular commuters on the road, your journey becomes less hectic and more enjoyable without being stuck in those annoying traffic jams. after all, you don’t want to start off your road trip in a bad mood. leaving early also helps you cover the majority of your distance during daylight when it's the safest to drive., #25 don’t use cruise control at night, as relaxing as it is to put the car on cruise control, kick back, and enjoy the ride, you don’t want to do this after the sunsets. using cruise control at night can be dangerous because it’s harder to see things at night and your reflexes need to be on high alert. the nighttime is usually when truck drivers tend to become more drowsy and little animals tend to set out on adventures, often ending up on roads. so stay off cruise control at night and be ready for anything unexpected..

Travel Planner

#26 Keep a close watch on the weather forecast and change plans accordingly

Weather can be so unpredictable sometimes. you most certainly should check the weather forecast while planning the trip to see what clothes to carry, what activities to plan, and so on. but, as accurate as weather forecasts are, there are times when the weather changes unpredictably. keep a close watch on the forecast every day of your trip, especially when you’re planning to cover long distances. have a rough backup plan in mind, in case mother nature decides to throw some weather hazards your way., #27 kit your car out and carry spare parts, even though vehicles are made of a gazillion different parts, sometimes even if one of those parts stops working, you’re going to have trouble. there are some essential parts to a car where it helps to have a spare, so you don’t end up having to ditch your car in the middle of nowhere. spare tires, car battery, water pump, jumper cables, and a timing belt. if you want to keep even more items handy, that’s perfectly alright, but you should at least have these few essentials just in case there’s a breakdown on your road trip..

Travel Planner

Lakshmi Menon

Born to parents bit by the wander bug, Lakshmi calls her love for travel "hereditary and habitual". Perpetually ensconced with a book in her hand and a mug of coffee in the other, she has been to over 15 countries in her 23 years of existence and is currently saving miles and money for her solo trip to Iceland. Always hustling towards the least trodden path, she has encountered some wonderful people during her escapades and if you ever meet her, she won't stop gushing about them.

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41 road trip essentials: what you need on your next road trip.

Add these items to your road trip packing list to help you travel more comfortably.

Road Trip Essentials

Road trip

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A road trip is a great way to see the country. Consider stocking up on these accessories before you go.

If you're planning a road trip, you're going to have a lot of work to do before you pack the car and head out of town. You'll need to map out a general itinerary, plan your overnight stops and create a list of must-see sights along the way. And don't forget about all the stuff you need to pack to ensure your family is safe, comfortable and entertained.

While you don't necessarily need a lot of things to make a road trip a success, U.S. News searched far and wide to find the best gadgets and gear that will make your time in the car the highlight of your trip. These are all items you'll want to consider adding to your road trip packing list.

As you pack your bags and get ready for an epic road trip, here are a few last-minute road trip essentials you might want to add to your arsenal, organized by category.

Personal care and hygiene

Entertainment, comfort and convenience.

The booster cables and discharged battery, cold winter day

Keeping a reliable flashlight stored in your car is a good rule of thumb for all drivers heading out on a road trip. In roadside emergencies, the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight can illuminate a distance of nearly 1,000 feet with a battery life of up to six hours. Its durable design makes it ideal for use in inclement weather, and its five settings include an SOS signal and a strobe light. Meanwhile, the Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp – which features a 400-lumen beam and red LED night vision – is ideal for when you find yourself changing a tire in the middle of the night. Both products earn rave reviews from consumers for their powerful light.

Portable power bank

Goal Zero's Sherpa 100AC power bank is a portable power bank you can use to recharge tablets, phones, cameras and laptops on the go. It features two USB ports, plus four cables are included and it's lightweight at just 2 pounds. Recent customers loved the power bank's versatility, but recommend charging it every two to three days for the best results.

Jumper cables

Jumper cables from AUTOGEN can easily fit in your trunk and could save the day if your battery dies and you're unable to start your car while out on the road. Many travelers also say you can't go wrong with these heavy-duty cables from Energizer. These 25-foot-long cables are perfect for any car type and come with a travel bag for easy storage – they're a must for any road trip packing list.

Portable tire inflator

A portable tire inflator can be a lifesaver if you find your tires have a slow leak during your trip. The AstroAl Air Compressor Tire Inflator is compact, so it won't take up much space among the other gear in your trunk, and it includes an LED flashlight with independent switch control. It is programmed to stop automatically once it hits the preset tire pressure and it comes with a 36-month warranty. Other travelers prefer the ViAir 88P - 00088 Portable Compressor Kit , noting it works well with a wide variety of vehicles. In addition to a 12-foot air hose and 9-foot power cord, the kit comes with alligator clamps that power your air compressor by attaching to your car's battery.

Jump starter

Picture this: You're having the time of your life on your road trip when your car battery dies in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, a high-quality jump starter is all you need to avoid this disastrous scenario. In addition to being water-resistant and compact, the NOCO Boost Plus GB40 comes with a built-in flashlight and a USB port for charging devices like smartphones and tablets. The Hulkman Alpha 85 2000A Jump Starter also comes highly recommended by travelers thanks to its easy-to-use design and powerful battery life (a single charge can hold up to 60 jump starts).

Waking up in the morning to an icy windshield isn't a pretty sight. Prestone AS244 Windshield De-Icer instantly melts ice upon contact, so you don't have to worry about waiting for your car to defrost when you're in a rush. As an added bonus, the can comes with a built-in scraper tool for easy ice removal. Recent customers have called this product a lifesaver during harsh winters.

Bringing a trusty multi-tool on your road trip is a simple way to make sure you're prepared no matter what situation you run into. Leatherman products impress consumers time and time again thanks to the company's high-quality and lightweight multi-tool designs. Customer-favorites include the Leatherman Bond and the Leatherman Wave+ , which offers 18 powerful tools like pliers and wire cutters.

Car charger

Frequent car travelers recommend always staying connected with the TECKNET USB Car Charger . Featuring four fast-charging ports, this adaptor can be used to charge smartphones, tablets and more. If you're hitting the road with the whole family in tow, or you simply want to charge more than one device at a time, travelers say this powerful charging adaptor is a must-buy. Pair it with an extra-long charging cable that can easily reach everyone in the back seat.

Dashboard phone mount

Keep your eyes on the road by installing a dashboard phone mount before your journey starts. The iOttie Easy One Touch 5 comes with a telescopic arm, a magnetic cord organizer and a strong-hold suction cup. Plus, its easy one-touch lock-and-release mechanism (a feature that is much appreciated among recent customers) makes taking your phone on and off the holder a breeze. If you don't like the rigidity of traditional dashboard phone mounts, consider choosing a phone mount with a flexible arm instead.

Document holder

Whenever you're hitting the open road, you want to prepare for the worst. In the event that you get into a car accident or are pulled over by the police, having easy access to your car's registration, insurance information and owner's manual is crucial. Recent travelers say that this Samsill car registration holder is great for keeping all your important documents organized.

Roadside emergency kit

To give yourself peace of mind while you're on the road, travelers recommend this STDY car roadside emergency kit from Amazon. Equipped with a tire pressure gauge, a utility knife, safety gloves, cable ties, a tow rope, tire repair tools, a raincoat and more, this compact kit has everything you need when life throws you an unexpected curve ball.

Group of mixed ethnic teens packing up a car ready to go on a road trip together. The camera is placed in the boot of the car. They are at holy island in the North East of England.

Extra-large body wipes

Extra-large body wipes from Busy Co make it easy to wash up when you can't take a shower. Cloths are suitable for dry, oily and combination skin types, and address a variety of skincare needs, including clarifying, toning, soothing and nourishing. Recent customers appreciated the large size of the wipes and said using them made them feel refreshed while traveling.

Lysol wipes

Disinfecting Lysol wipes are a must-have on your travel packing list. These cleaning wipes kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, so you can feel protected while on the road.

Disposable toilet seat covers

Disposable toilet seat covers from Amazon will help you avoid germs and stay clean when you stop for restroom breaks at gas stations, port-a-potties and campgrounds.

First-aid kit

A comprehensive first-aid kit can't be overlooked when packing up the car for your next road trip. Recent customers say this 298-piece kit from Amazon will get you the most bang for your buck, with bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, Band-Aids, pain reliever and much more. Although this will arm you with the basics of what you may need in a medical emergency, it's always a good idea to personalize your kit according to your needs.

Nausea Relief

Long hours in the car might sound daunting to anyone prone to motion sickness. In those cases, having preventative nausea medicine like Dramamine can be a lifesaver. If you prefer a drug-free alternative, Sea-Bands are anti-nausea wristbands that use acupuncture as a natural remedy to reduce motion sickness. Travelers say these bands are highly effective at reducing nausea.

Hand sanitizer

From gas pumps to ATMs, you never know what germs you may encounter on a road trip. Protect yourself against viruses like the cold and flu by adding a travel-size hand sanitizer to your road trip packing list and keeping it in the car during your trip.

If you'll be spending long hours in the car, it's important to remember to wear sunscreen. Sun Bum's SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray is broad spectrum, moisturizing and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. And if you'll be heading for the ocean on your trip, make sure you pack a reef-safe sunscreen like this one from Reef Repair to protect marine life and coral reefs from harmful chemicals. Although some customers reported a white cast upon application (due to the zinc oxide), many reviewers thought the trade-off was worth it to maintain healthy ocean environments.

Toiletry bag

This chic Sonia Kashuk Weekender Makeup Bag features two zipper compartments, a center organizer and carrying handles that make it perfect for transport. Customers particularly love that the bag is compact without sacrificing storage space. For durable, leak-proof travel bottles, check out this Getaway Travel Kit from Ban.do . It comes with four pearlescent bottles, two jars, a spatula, a funnel and a zippered pouch for storage. Plus, it includes a fun set of sticker labels so you can organize your toiletries in style.

[Read:  The Top Travel Toiletry Bags .]

Young women singing and having fun on road trip with convertible car.

Sitting in the car for hours can be painfully boring at times, but there are plenty of ways you can enjoy your time while road tripping. With the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite , you have access to thousands of books at your fingertips. The device boasts up to 10 weeks of battery life, adjustable warm light and a glare-free display, which recent reviewers said made marathon reading sessions a breeze. Meanwhile, kids can enjoy the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Kids , which offers a special font for children with dyslexia and comes with a two-year warranty.

Carefully curated Spotify playlist

Whether you prefer jamming out to tunes or listening to thought-provoking podcasts, having a Spotify playlist ready to go before you get on the road is a must. Take some time before your trip to curate a playlist or two so you can keep your eyes on the road and your hands off your phone while road tripping.

Audible subscription

Long drives call for catching up on all those books you've been saying you were going to read this year. With an Audible subscription, you can make the most out of traffic jams by enjoying some words by your favorite authors.

Vehicle fully packed for a hiking and camping trip. Dog bowl included.  Fishing rod and rifle included.

Choose a reliable duffel bag like the Eagle Creek Migrate Duffel for your next road trip. This bag is water-resistant, strength-bearing and perfect for when you need your luggage to fit in a small space. It also comes with lockable zippers and can be worn as a backpack or carried as a tote, a top feature according to recent reviewers. And if you're planning on hiking during your trip, travelers say the Daylite Duffel 30 from Osprey can fit everything you need with room to spare. This bag can be worn comfortably all day long and comes with a mesh water bottle pocket and functional harness straps.

[Read: The Top Rolling Duffel Bags .]

This YETI Hopper Soft Sided Backpack Cooler makes it easy to bring drinks anywhere without worrying about leaks. The cooler, which comes with a dryhide shell and a magnetic closure, can hold up to 18 cans (or 26 pounds of ice), and comes highly recommended by travelers thanks to its durable design. It's ideal for road trippers who plan to get out and explore, and need to stay hydrated or keep food fresh.

Rooftop Cargo Carrier

Save some space inside your vehicle by opting for a car roof cargo carrier. With an anti-slip mat and reinforced adjustable straps, the waterproof FIVKLEMNZ 15 Cubic Car Roof Bag Cargo Carrier from Amazon is suitable for any car type. Recent customers say that they had no problem getting it to stay in place even on high-speed roads.

Car organizer

A car seatback organizer lets you arrange road trip essentials on the back of the driver's or passenger's side seat, where they're within reach of small hands. Many buyers said this seatback organizer from Amazon.com took some of the stress out of traveling with kids, thanks to its multipurpose storage compartments, including a place for a tablet and plenty of other spots to store key items for your trip. You can also maximize your space by stashing your essentials in a trunk organizer. This one from Drive Auto comes with multiple storage compartments, waterproof lining and tie-down straps to keep items in place while you're driving.

Car trash can

There's no doubt about it – road trips can generate a lot of trash. Keep your car clean on your next adventure with this Hotor car trash can from Amazon. Complete with an adjustable strap, mesh side panels for storage and a leak-proof interior lining, this useful accessory comes highly recommended by travelers who find themselves frequently on the road.

Reusable bags

Whether you're stopping for snacks at a gas station or running into the grocery store for those last-minute essentials, a reusable bag is an easy way to reduce your plastic consumption. Recent reviewers said these versatile and water-resistant reusable bags can even be used as laundry bags, garbage bags or beach bags in a pinch.

A young elementary-age girl takes a nap in the back seat of the car on a long road trip. She is snuggled up with a blanket and a stuffed animal giraffe. Her brother is in a booster seat next to her watching a game on a tablet.

Electric car blankets

Electric car blankets allow you to stay warm on the road no matter the temperature outside. This Stalwart electric car blanket takes up very little space, is surprisingly lightweight and plugs into any vehicle with a 96-inch-long cord. While some travelers noted that this blanket alone won't be enough to keep you warm in extremely cold weather, many say it was a welcome addition nonetheless.

SleepPhones soft headband headphones let you enjoy the open road while listening to music, audiobooks, meditation, white noise or talk radio. These headphones are expertly padded, which reviewers say makes them more comfortable for long-term wear than earbuds. You can buy the classic version or a wireless version at SleepPhones.com.

Travel pillow

Pick up an ergonomic travel pillow from Cabeau if you need extra neck and shoulder support when you ride in the passenger seat. The pillow features supportive memory foam, a front clasp to ensure it stays put and a removable cover that you can wash. Recent customers also loved that the pillow comes with straps that can be attached to any headrest, making sure you don't fall forward while catching some shut-eye. For kids, this Cloudz plush animal neck pillow comes in a variety of colorful animal options, such as a unicorn, a ladybug, a dinosaur and more.

[Read:  The Top Travel Neck Pillows .]

A battery-operated mini fan from SkyGenius can help you stay cool and comfortable. This fan comes with a rechargeable and replaceable battery, and is ideal for the car and for camping. For even more cooling capacity, opt for a fan with dual heads like the XOOL Electric Car Fan from Amazon. Both mini fans earn glowing reviews from travelers thanks to their powerful airflow capabilities.

Shield your eyes from the sun by picking up a good pair of sunglasses before your trip. Choose sunglasses that protect against the sun's UVA and UVB rays, and are polarized to block glare. Travelers love that these Ray-Ban Aviator Classic sunglasses come in a variety of tints and can even be customized to fit your needs. For a more budget-friendly option, check out these SUNGAIT Ultra Lightweight Rectangular Polarized Sunglasses from Amazon, which recent customers say are very comfortable and perfect for road tripping.

Window shade

The sun beating down on your car all day can heat it up quickly. To keep your car cool, travelers recommend the EcoNour Car Windshield Sun Shade , which protects your vehicle from UV rays and helps maintain your car's interior temperature at a comfortable level. Pair it with these car window shades to protect your backseat drivers from UVA and UVB rays while you're on the road. The shades come in two different sizes and transparency levels, and previous buyers say they are very easy to install.

Travel towel

A travel towel is one of the most versatile accessories you can bring on a road trip. Whether you are cleaning up a spill or want to go for an impromptu beach day, having a spare towel on hand is always a good idea. This odor-resistant and quick-drying 4Monster travel towel from Amazon comes in several sizes and includes a compact EVA box, which recent reviewers say makes it perfect for travel.

Reusable water bottles

Skip the plastic bottles and opt for a high-quality reusable water bottle on your next trip. This 40-ounce bottle from Hydro Flask keeps drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for a full day. It also comes with a lid with a built-in straw, which consumers say makes it convenient for driving. For kids, a durable water bottle like this 12-ounce YETI rambler fits the bill – its stainless steel bottle is dishwasher safe and shatter-resistant, a feature that parents love.

Smiling girl enjoy reading book while sitting in car safety seat.

Cubcoats are two-in-one stuffed animals that transform into hoodies. Your child's furry friend (think bunnies, sloths and puppies) doubles as a soft, zip-up sweatshirt, and you get to save some space in your suitcase.

Inflatable car booster seat

If you're flying to another destination to pick up a rental car for your road trip, consider bringing inflatable car booster seats along. This BubbleBum backless inflatable booster is suitable for kids 4 to 11, and comes with a seat belt positioning clip for optimal comfort and safety. Recent buyers said it was portable and extremely easy to use.

Kids travel journal

A kids travel journal makes it easy for your child to document their road trip and all the fun things they see and do. This one from Peter Pauper Press includes world maps, puzzles, fun facts and more, and many parents said it made their kids' time in the car fly by.

Activity books

A family road trip means long hours in the car, and bored children are every parent's worst nightmare. Activity books can keep your kids occupied for long periods of time while you catch up on some much-needed quiet time.

Backseat travel tray for kids

If your co-pilot is constantly turning around to pick up toys or pass out snacks, a backseat travel tray is in order. The LUSSO Gear Kids Travel Tray comes with a safety strap that can be secured to any car seat, and includes a dry erase board table, a cup holder, a storage compartment for toys and a no-drop tablet viewing stand. Reviewers loved the tray's whiteboard area and said it was a great way to keep kids entertained on long car rides.

Detail of hand filling the fuel tank of the passenger car

Shop in bulk

Check out Boxed.com for specially curated bulk items that are perfect for road trips and other types of travel. From sunscreen, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to Fruit Roll-Ups and snack-size packs of Pringles, Boxed.com is a convenient site to order bulk hygiene and snack items in one place.

Bring spare cash

Debit cards, credit cards and mobile phone payments may be the way of the world nowadays, but you may still run into a few places on your journey that are cash-only (for example, some national and state park entrance fees must be paid in cash). Be on the safe side by keeping some spare cash on hand in case of emergencies.

Save on gas

It's no secret that sky-high gas prices can put a damper on your vacation. Save some money on fuel by using apps like GasBuddy , which will show you the cheapest gas prices in your area. Go the extra mile by signing up for a gas rewards credit card to get the most bang for your buck.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Travel Backpacks
  • The Top Sleeping Bags
  • The Top East Coast Road Trips
  • The Best Travel Insurance Companies
  • The Best Cheap Travel Insurance Companies

Tags: Travel , Vacations , cars , Road Trips , Travel Gear

World's Best Places To Visit

  • # 1 South Island, New Zealand
  • # 4 Bora Bora

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Home › Blog › 17 Crazy Smart Must-Have Road Trip Tips and Hacks

17 Crazy Smart Must-Have Road Trip Tips and Hacks

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By Christine Jerry

Published Apr 30, 2023

Traveling for the holidays or enjoying family vacation? Road trips with kids can get crazy. Use these must-have sanity-saving road trip tips!  We have found the must-have genius road trip tips to make car travel around town and long road trips with kids so much easier – and even fun!

If you’ve been a regular here at One Crazy House, I’m sure you’ve become accustomed to our lists of hacks.  Our goal with providing hacks and helpful tips is to help make it just a little easier for you.

17 Road Trip Hacks - One Crazy House e

Road Trip Tips To Make Traveling With Kids Fun

With the busiest travel days ahead of us, we figured it’s time to get prepared with a few road trip tips. As any parent who has ever ventured on a long road trip can tell you, road trips with kids can be a challenge – unless you use these tips!

1. Stay Organized with Front Doormats

Getting mud in the floor, or crumbs or all. the. things. is one of the things that both decreases the cleanliness of the vehicle, but also decreases the value! But, typical car floor mats don’t always fit or offer the coverage AND STYLE that we know you want!

Outdoor-front doormats to the rescue! They are easy to cut with a utility knife and you have custom and stylish car mats, that truly work to contain the mess.

Organize the trunk of your car

2. Make Sections with Shower Curtain Rods

Another genius tip we have to help you make the most of your trunk space is to use bins, totes, and a tension shower curtain rod to help make “sections” in your trunk. 

This part of your car becomes usable when it’s not a pile of items bouncing around.  Put the items you need occasionally towards the back of your trunk, and keep the easy-to-access space up front for things you need to grab quickly.

3. Plan Your Road Trip Like a Prep Pro

No matter where your road trip is taking you, preparation can make it stress-free and adventurous.  I love using a planning guide and this camping planner can help guide you through the process even if you never spend one night in a tent! The $7 spent on the Camping planner  is well worth it!!  Your sanity is worth it!!

3. Get Your Car Inspected

This is SO important. Nothing can derail your road trip plan faster than an unexpected mishap. Although we don’t have control over everything, we have to do our best to take preventative measures.

Road Trip Hacks & Tips - Get Your Vehicle Inspected

Before you hit the road and pack the car, make sure to get your tires checked and your vehicle inspected. You don’t need any surprises along the way if you can avoid them. There are many tire shops that are willing to do an inspection for free, so there’s no excuse not to take this preventative measure.

If the worst happens and you DO need some car repairs, you may be able to take care of them yourself! Here are 11 easy car repairs that you can do on your own .

4. Plan for Seasonal Conditions

This is particularly true if you’re traveling in the winter! You’ll want these winter car hack tips if you have to deal with snow. If you are like me and don’t deal with winter often, these hacks are essentials!

5. Pass the Time with Post-it Notes

Write down specific times on Post-it Notes stick them on the dash just below the clock. When the clock displays each time written down, give the kids a surprise. It will give them something to look forward to at regular intervals.

6. Get Crafty to Keep Toddlers Busy

This next idea from Kids Activities Blog would be PERFECT for toddlers since they are completely obsessed with clips and zippers. Check out their tutorial for this DIY Clipping Toy. Your kids will stay busy with clip after clip…

long road trip car tips

7. Save Tons on Eating Out

Eating out along the way can be very expensive, especially if you have the whole family in tow. Thankfully, meal prep for the road doesn’t need to be hard!

A good cooler will get you a long way on your meal planning goals. Fill it with bottles of water, and healthy snack foods such as:

  • hardboiled eggs
  • cheese sticks
  • baby carrots and/or cucumbers
  • pre-packaged containers of hummus
  • deli meat or shredded chicken
  • juice boxes
  • water bottles

Then, in a separate bin, keep food items that do not need to be chilled. I like to pre-package everything into small ziplock bags so all I need to do during the trap is pass them out to everyone. I put:

  • homemade trail mix
  • tortillas (these are great for a quick meal – just fill them with hummus and shredded chicken and cheese from your cooler!)
  • protein bars

I try to keep our food within the car fairly healthy and lower in sugar. It only takes a few hours with hyped-up children trapped in the car to clean up my diet! 

Pssst…don’t forget the napkins and eating utensils and an extra supply of wet wipes.

8. Buy a Car Trash Can – or Two!

I seriously did not realize how life-changing a simple car trash can would be for us! This is one of my favorite road trip tips! I recommend getting 1-2 smaller trash cans that can fit plastic grocery bags as the liner or use a cereal container. Whenever you stop for gas or to eat, simply grab the bag and toss it in the trash.

9. Turn Any Mug into a Spill-Proof One

We’re somehow always running out of travel mugs – thankfully, this simple hack will let you turn any cup into a spill-proof one!

10. Stretch Your Dollar

Get better gas mileage by using your cruise control feature and making sure your tires are inflated at the optimal PSI. I know it’s tempting to get to your destination faster, but keeping a steady pace will save you from filling up more frequently.

Silicone cupcake liners used to keep cup holders clean

11. Use Cupcake Liners to Keep the Cupholders Clean

This is one of my favorite car hacks of all time for cup holders. If you always end a road trip with sticky cupholders (bleh!), this is one of the road trip tips just for you! Line your cupholders with silicone cupcake liners . Once they get gross, simply take them out and wash them before putting them right back!

12. Make a DIY Car Sick Bag

Got a child (or adult!) who gets car sick? Make a car sick kit by gathering up plastic bags, Dramamine, an electrolyte drink, some saltines, and disinfectant. Keep them at the ready…just in case!

5 More Car Trip Tips to Try

  • Love this idea to stock up on shower caddies for the car from Grey House Harbor . An inexpensive shower caddy with a suction cup can be placed on the car window and act as an extra holding spot for toys and snacks. Genius!
  • Anyone who has road tripped with kids knows that the backseat is guaranteed to be filled with crumbs by the time you get home.  With this fun road trip hack from Lemon Lime Adventures , this problem in solved! Wrap duct tape sticky side out around your kids’ feet and let them play footsies to see who can pick up the most crumbs!
  • Keep your kids unplugged and entertained in the car with a printed sheet of license plates from each state from Living Well Mom . Once they have found it on the road, they can check it off and keep searching for the rest!
  • I love this idea from A Girl and a Glue Gun ! Use a tackle box to put together a portable emergency kit that can join you on all your road trip adventures.
  • I love this smart solution from HGTV that uses a shower caddy to hold food and snacks.

3 suction cup caddies on a car window with art supplies

I hope you found a few helpful ideas for your next family road trip. No matter what chaos may occur, remember you’re making memories and that’s the most important thing.

For more travel tips, make sure to check out our Traveling Tips to Make Your Next Trip a Breeze , it’s full of incredible tips and tricks you’ll definitely want.

They might not always seem fun at the time, but they will always be memorable. Happy travels!

long road trip car tips

Your Fast-Track To a Simplified Life!

Tired of feeling stretched thin & like you never have enough time for the things & people that matter most! This is the solution you’ve been searching for –get it FREE for a limited time!

Genius Ideas Travel Tricks & Tips

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Stuffed Suitcase

How to Pack for a Road Trip + Packing List (2023)

By: Author Kim Tate

Posted on Published: March 13, 2023

road trip packing pinterest image

One of the quintessential vacations is the classic road trip. If you’re getting ready to hit the road, you’re probably needing a road trip packing list and some tips for how to pack your car. After taking dozens of road trips over the years, here are my expert tips for things to bring on a road trip along with some organization tips for the car.

pin image for how to pack your car for a road trip

What to Pack for a Road Trip?

Planning and packing for a road trip can be both exciting and overwhelming. Whether you’re going on a short weekend getaway or a long cross-country journey, there are plenty of things to consider.

You’ll be putting together your car emergency kit, creating your ideal playlist, and loading up the trunk with all the road trip essentials . Here’s what you need to know about packing smart and preparing for any unexpected challenges when taking a road trip.

Affiliate links are included in this post, if you purchase from my link I may earn a commission.

What should an adult pack for a road trip?

girl on road trip getting bag from roof of car

As an adult, there are some of the best things you should pack for a road trip. What you choose to pack may be a lot different than what a child or an entire family chooses to pack. Here is a list of ten items to pack for a road trip to make sure you have a good time in the car.

1. Toiletries

Pack the essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrush, soap, razor, and other items you may need if you’re overnighting in a hotel. But also think about personal comfort/grooming on the road. Do you want to pack a hairbrush, lip balm, eye drops, hand lotion, etc?

2. Clothing 

Be sure to pack comfortable clothes for the weather you will be traveling in. Consider if you need a change of clothes for overnights or if you’re driving to a different climate than you started in.

Include a pair of slip-on shoes for the car but also a pair that is suitable for walking in case you decide to take a hike or explore somewhere new. I have a few ideas for great road trip outfits .

3. First-Aid Kit 

No matter where you are going, it’s always a good idea to have a basic first-aid kit handy in case of an emergency. Pack all your prescriptions, bandages, antiseptic creams, pain relievers, etc., so you can deal with minor injuries while on the go.

4. Electronics & Accessories 

Your smartphone, laptop, and camera should be at the top of your packing list because they’re essential for keeping memories and staying connected with family and friends during your travels. Don’t forget adapters, chargers, and extra batteries if necessary. 

5. Maps & Road Directions 

You never know when technology will fail you when looking for directions! Be sure to bring along a road atlas , physical maps, and/or a GPS device to help guide you on your journey safely and efficiently. 

6. Comfortable Blankets & Pillows 

Having comfortable blankets and pillows can help passengers stay comfortable and even take a nap. They’re also needed if you plan to take sleeping breaks in the car during a long drive.

7. Snacks & Drinks

Pack road trip snacks like granola bars or trail mix for an energy boost throughout the day, plus something refreshing like bottled water or cold drinks that won’t go bad after several hours in the car.

Make sure to include towels so you can quickly dry yourself off after a quick swim or even rainy weather! Compact travel towels are best since they don’t take up much space in your luggage/carrier bag(s).

9. Money & Identification

Bring along some cash just in case credit cards don’t work wherever you go, plus your driver’s license! Also, make sure to bring your passport if you’ll be crossing the border. And make sure you have your car registration and insurance packed as well.

10. Entertainment 

It’s always nice to keep yourself entertained, especially during long road trips! Consider bringing books, magazines, music, and/or movies depending on what type of entertainment suits you best! Audiobooks are a great option on long trips, you can often get a good deal with Audible or Audiobooks.com .

Kindle Paperwhites are also great for bringing lots of books without taking up a lot of space and can be read in the dark or bright sun. If you’re an avid reader, check out Kindle Unlimited . I have it and love that I can read unlimited free books continuously.

What should you pack for a child on a road trip?

kids leaning out of car window on road trip with mom and dad

Packing for a road trip with a child can be tricky. It’s important to make sure you have everything your little one needs, without adding unnecessary weight to your vehicle. Here’s a list of essential items that you should pack when taking a road trip with a child :

1. Car Seats 

When driving long distances, it’s important that children are safely and securely strapped into their car seats. Ensure your car restraints are up-to-date and suitable for your child’s age and size.

2. Healthy Snacks & Drinks

Try to avoid too many sugary drinks and snacks while on the road, as they can increase crankiness in young kids. Opt instead for healthy road trip snacks such as fruit, vegetables, and crackers that will fill them up without the sugar rush later on.

3. First Aid Kit

You should always carry basic medical supplies in the vehicle, especially when traveling with children. Items like antiseptic cream, saline solution, bandaids, and ibuprofen are helpful for travelers of all ages. Depending on what age group the kids are in, you might want to add child-safe versions of medications like Benedryl and pain relievers.

4. Clothes & Toiletries

Depending on how long the journey is it’s important to pack several changes of clothes including underwear and socks along with toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and shampoo, especially if you’re planning extended trips or staying overnight.

5. Favorite Toy & Blanket From Home

Nothing soothes a child more than familiar objects from home; it makes them feel safe and secure in an unfamiliar environment away from home comforts. Pack something small like their favorite blanket or teddy bear from home to take away some of the homesickness during times of restlessness on the road trip. A pillow can also come in handy for helping kids nap.

6. Activities & Games

Keep boredom at bay by packing some creative activities for kids to do while traveling in the car such as picture drawing books, travel games, or sticker collections! If space is limited, digital devices preloaded with fun educational apps, cartoons, or reading material can be just as beneficial!

When my girls were really young, I tried to plan for a new activity, toy, snack, or show for every 30 minutes of the drive. Taking frequent breaks to stretch your legs and let kids run around can also help break up the long drive.

7. Activity Board & Bin

Kids might be coloring or drawing and will need a flat surface for their work. An activity lap desk can come in handy for kids. You might also consider an organizing bin for helping them store all their activities. If your kid will be watching shows on a phone or tablet, a headrest mount might be useful.

8. Sun Protection & Insect Repellents

If you’re planning outdoor activities it’s always helpful to have sun protection like sunscreen and hats handy, often overlooked but equally essential are insect repellents which come in effective spray bottles compatible with any kind of climate!  

Packing may feel overwhelming initially but these road trip essentials will ensure your little ones travel safely and enjoyably along the way, stress-free!

Ultimate Road Trip Packing List

screenshots of road trip packing list printable over image of miniature car

Sometimes you don’t think about the individual items you may need on a road trip! This list of simple items is just as important as the big items! Use this list and my blog post of road trip essentials for all things you need on a road trip!

I’m including a printable road trip packing list you can sign up for at the bottom of this section.

Driver’s License

A driver’s license is an essential item for any road trip. It allows you to legally operate a motor vehicle while on the open roads, and also serves as a form of identification if needed at airports or other travel hubs. It is necessary for renting a car if that should be needed during the trip. Having a valid driver’s license before taking to the highways is always recommended!

Car Insurance & Car Registration

Car insurance and registration is an important element of any road trip, as it protects against unexpected damages or liabilities that may arise during your journey. Driving without the right coverage can leave you vulnerable to costly legal bills if an accident occurs. 

Car insurance can provide access to roadside assistance services if your vehicle breaks down, allowing you to reach your destination with minimal disruption. Having the right car insurance in place before hitting the open road is a must, as it can save time and money while providing peace of mind.

A spare tire is also an essential item to bring on a road trip. You never know when a flat tire may occur, and having the right equipment to replace it can save you time, money, and headaches. 

A spare tire also allows for greater flexibility if unexpected road conditions prevent your vehicle from proceeding safely. A spare tire can be beneficial in emergency situations where you need to get off the highway or drive through harsh terrain. Having a reliable spare tire ready at all times is important. 

Roadside Emergency Kit

Every road trip should include an emergency roadside assistance kit . Make sure you take a well-stocked kit with you that includes important road trip essentials like jumper cables, a tarp, bottled water, rags, plastic bags, gloves, flashlights and batteries, jumper cables, flares or reflectors, tire jack and tools to change a tire, and extra oil and fluids for your vehicle.

Having these items on hand can help you handle unexpected breakdowns or repairs quickly and confidently, reducing the hassle of being stranded on the side of the road. 

Car Phone Mount 

A car phone mount is necessary if you plan on using your phone while driving on a road trip. Not only does a car phone mount keep your device within easy reach, but also provides a secure place to store it so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. 

Car phone mounts come in a variety of styles and offer features such as adjustable positions for improved visibility, auto-clamping, gravity hold for easy use, and wireless charging capabilities. Having a reliable car phone mount will make your road trip much more enjoyable and safe. 

Car Power Adaptor

Car power adapters are available in different styles and allow you to charge phones, laptops, tablets, cameras, and other USB-connected devices while you drive. Having a reliable car power adapter eliminates the need for frequent stops to recharge, enabling you to focus on enjoying your journey without worrying about losing power.

Packable Cooler

Taking a packable cooler along on your next adventure can be extremely helpful. Not only does it keep food and drinks cool and fresh, but it also helps save on space. Perfect for camping trips, or just a day at the beach, these easily-packed coolers are great for any outdoor activity. 

They come in many sizes to accommodate different amounts of food and drink supplies, making them an ideal choice for those who need to bring snacks and refreshments along with them. You can even buy plug-in coolers to act like a mini-fridge for keeping snacks and drinks cool.

Trunk Organizer

A trunk organizer is a great way to organize your car’s cargo area. It allows you to maximize the space in your trunk while also keeping things tidy and easy to find. Trunk organizers come in many different sizes and styles, making it easy to find one that works for you. 

They are perfect for holding items such as sports equipment, groceries, emergency items, and more. With a trunk organizer, you can be sure that all of your items will be stored properly so they don’t take up too much space or get jumbled together. Just keep in mind how your suitcases will fit if you choose to use an organizer.

Travel Picnic Kit

If you’re looking for the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on the go, a travel picnic kit is an ideal solution. Whether you’re at work, on vacation, or exploring a new city, having a portable set of dinnerware, utensils, and food containers can make all the difference. Even just bringing a portable picnic blanket works well.

Not only does it save time by letting you eat wherever you are, without worrying about packing up leftovers, but it also allows you to create tasty meals that are healthier than restaurant food or fast food. Plus, with colorful designs and fun patterns available, a travel picnic kit adds a bit of style and personality to your meal-time experience.

Taking a travel mug with you on a road trip is an excellent way to save money and reduce waste. Making sure your car has adequate cup holders is essential. It’s always nice to have your favorite hot or cold beverage nearby while traveling, so don’t leave home without one!

If you’ve ever forgotten your sunglasses at home, while taking a road trip, then you know this was a huge mistake. Pack a few pairs of sunglasses, so you can protect your eyes while you drive or even sit in the front seat. 

Printable Road Trip Packing List (PDF)

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Apps You Need For a Road Trip

roadtrippers plus screenshots app for planning road trips

Google Maps

The most important app for any traveler, Google Maps allows you to easily plot out routes and check traffic in real time. You can plan your road trip with Google Maps to include gas stations, rest stops, attractions, and more. It offers spoken turn-by-turn directions that make navigating easier than ever before. 

If Google Maps isn’t enough for you, then Waze is worth looking into as well. This app provides crowdsourced reports on traffic conditions that allow drivers to make driving decisions based on where they are currently located. In addition, it has community alerts that notify drivers when there are police officers or road obstructions ahead. 

One of the essential road trip apps has to do with fuel; specifically finding affordable fuel quickly along your route. GasBuddy makes this happen by helping users find nearby gas stations with their lowest prices listed before they stop. No more worrying about running low while searching for cheaper fuel options,  this app will take care of it all! 

TripIt helps travelers organize every detail of their trip into one streamlined itinerary including flight times, hotel reservations, and car rental information. Plus, it keeps track of any travel confirmations that come through emails so you don’t have to waste time manually entering data from each confirmation email into another program or writing everything down on paper. 

Spotted by Locals

This unique app allows people to explore like a local wherever they go by providing authentic recommendations from local experts who live in the cities they’re visiting. Get off the beaten path and discover hidden gems that only locals know about: restaurants, bars, events, and more are at your fingertips with Spotted by Locals ! 

Roadtrippers Plus

One of my favorite apps for sightseeing road trips is RoadTrippers Plus. It’s an app that helps you find all the best attractions and restaurants along your route, along with reviews of the attractions. Sign up and use code BTR5QTP to get $5 off.

Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, SoundCloud

Don’t forget to load up your favorite music streaming service before taking off! Long trips tend to get boring without good tunes keeping everyone entertained during long stretches of driving, plus music can really set the mood while exploring new cities or playing silly car games to break up monotonous highway miles.  

Best Snacks to Pack for a Road Trip 

road trip snack ideas

When on a road trip, you probably get extremely hungry. That’s where your favorite snacks to pack for a road trip come in. You’ll want to add some munchies that each traveler. These are some road trip snacks you may want to consider. And don’t forget a few trash bags for easy disposal!

  • Granola Bars – A classic favorite made with oats, nuts, and honey that is easy to eat while driving. Make your own or buy some prepackaged ones.
  • Trail Mix – A combination of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and sometimes chocolate pieces that makes for a tasty snack on the go. 
  • Sandwiches or Wraps – Whole grain bread filled with lean meats make great portable meals that can be eaten quickly at rest stops.
  • Homemade Muffins – Perfect for a sweet treat on the road; these handheld snacks can be filled with wholesome ingredients like quinoa and chia seeds.  
  • Beef Jerky or Pretzels – Classic salty snacks that have been around for years! Searching for organic versions may even be possible in gas stations these days! 
  • Cereal – Dry cereal can make an excellent road trip snack. Some of our favorites are cheerios and chex.
  • Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds provide a good source of protein and healthy fats to keep you full while on the go. 
  • Gummy Bears or Fruit Snacks – These will appease your sweet tooth cravings in a somewhat healthier way depending on which you choose.
  • Applesauce or Yogurt Smoothie Pouches – Easy to eat and pack; these make a great snack for anyone in the car.  
  • Popcorn – Pop some before your trip or buy any of the popular bags sold in most grocery stores. 
  • Fresh Fruits or Vegetables – Carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices, oranges, and grapes are light enough to not weigh down your stomach after a long drive, plus they’re healthy!

How to Pack Your Car For a Road Trip 

Whether you’re embarking on a short road trip or a long one, packing your vehicle correctly is important. To make sure everything goes smoothly, here are some tips for getting your vehicle ready for a road trip.

  • Make a List – Before you start packing, make a list of all the items you need to bring with you. Consider the type of trip you’re taking and include clothing, toiletries, snacks, maps and emergency supplies in your list.
  • Pack Smartly – When it comes to loading up the car, pack heavier items first and closer to the back of the vehicle. Place lighter items such as blankets and pillows near the front and above heavier items so that they are easy to reach during the drive. Make sure everything is securely fastened down with bungee cords or straps so that it doesn’t move around while driving
  • Clean out Your Vehicle – Before leaving on your trip it’s important to give your vehicle an interior clean out. This includes taking out any unnecessary items like empty water bottles or old takeout containers that won’t be needed during your journey.
  • Consider Comfort – During long trips comfort should be the top priority when it comes to packing up your car. Bring along a small pillow, blanket, or set of headphones to help make the ride more comfortable if there will be multiple people in the car at once.
  • Leave Space – Don’t overpack! Remember to leave some space in case you need more room for souvenirs or something else while on your journey
  • Double Check Everything – Before getting behind the wheel of your vehicle, double-check that all maintenance has been taken care of so your car is ready for the trip. Items such as spare tires and jumper cables should also be checked off before leaving home just in case something unexpected happens while driving. 

First, I suggest that each person (including kids) pack a small bag or tote of their favorite toys/activities. This will be kept nearby and contain things that will keep you busy.

For adults, this might be magazines, books, or electronics. Kids might pack some books, coloring books or journals, electronic toy(s), printable activities/games, dolls, or legos.

A food bin is a big must for any road trip. I like to use a small box to store all our road trip snacks .

I make each of our girls their own plastic container of special snacks, this was learned after one too many, “but Mom, she already had two granola bars…”. If each child starts with the same number of “fun” snacks, they can’t argue if they eat all of theirs.

We also pack some general snacks that everyone enjoys, but the special snacks — like granola bars and fruit snacks — are limited.

Following these simple steps can help ensure that both you and your car are safe for whatever journey lies ahead!

Diagram to Pack for a Road Trip

Diagram for Packing Your Car for a Road Trip

1 – Passenger Seat

This is where the main passenger (usually me) keeps their stuff. I like to pack magazines, my iPad, and my purse in a narrow tote. I’ll also store some lip balm and eye drops in my bag

2 – Main Console

We keep electronic chargers here along with many of our road trip essentials. Depending on how your car is built, what you can store in this space might be limited.

Some essentials that should be stored nearby the front seats are paper towels, wet wipes, kleenex, dental floss, hand sanitizer, lotion, and a travel first aid kit .

See my full list of road trip essentials we bring on our road trips and figure out where best to store them in your car. Keep in mind what you’ll want to access easily while driving and what can be stored in the back for use at stops.

3 – Garbage

We have a special car trash can that loops around my seat belt latch and has an elastic opening so things don’t fall in or out accidentally. You can also use a plain plastic grocery bag looped around the gear shift.

I recommend each row of passengers have its own trash bag. If you’re traveling with kids you might even want to give each kid a garbage bag they can keep near their seat.

Having easy access to garbage bags will be a huge help in keeping your car clean and organized during your road trip .

4 – DVD Players

We’ve always had dual DVD car screens that we bought at Target, but now that our girls received tablets for Christmas, we like these  tablet headrest mounts .

Our girls love watching some of their favorite movies while on a road trip. Of course, you may decide to skip this. One of my big tips, if you are buying DVD players for multiple kids, consider buying a set that offers independent playing options.

As our girls got older sometimes they’d want to watch the same movie, but other times they didn’t and our players let them watch their own movies or they can watch the same one.

kid watching dvd movie on road trip

5 – Kid Bags

Each of your kids should bring a bag of personally selected items for the road trip. It could include a book or journal, or a special activity/toy. Our girls use their school backpacks.

If you’re wanting to keep things off the ground, you might consider a  backseat organizer that lets kids store misc stuff in pockets on the back of the seat. We’ve also used one of these middle seat organizers for the girls to share (see #7 below).

You can also consider packing a plastic lidded bin that is placed below your child’s feet. Just make sure it’s easy for the top to be removed while seated.

Related Post:  Best Kids Travel Bag Activities to Pack

6 – food.

This is where we keep all the road trip snacks. We often use one of these clever crates and place it in an easy-to-reach location for each person.

For kids, I recommend making them each their own snack bag or box so that there are no arguments about who’s had too many of one kind of snack. Each kiddo should get the same amount of fruit snacks, granola bars, etc. Make sure you remember wet wipes & napkins.

Another tip is to bring lidded/sippy cups for young kids. They work great for sharing a bottle of juice or water, and no spills!

For adults, consider a thermal mug if you’re a coffee drinker. Your hot drinks will stay much warmer than those disposable cups from the store. Bring reusable water bottles, too.

road trip snack bin packed in car

7 – Kids Activities

This is normally another bag and carries more kids’ activities and games. We normally have a blanket for each kid in this space too. If the road trip isn’t too long, this could be the only space you store kids’ activities. We’ve used boxes and this backseat organizer for placing between the girls’ seats.

8 – Luggage

Bags and stuff you don’t need to access while driving go in the back. We often have one hotel stop on our main road trip drive, so we pack one overnight bag with all of our stuff for that hotel night so we don’t have to bring in each person’s luggage.

Another tip is to keep some extra snacks/treats or special drinks and such back here so you can dole them out when you stop. You can also store some of the other road trip essential items back here.

trunk packed for road trip vacation

FAQs for What to Pack for a Road Trip 

What should go in a car emergency kit.

A car emergency kit should include a first aid kit, jumper cables/battery starter, flares or reflective triangles for safety if your car breaks down on the side of the road, a flashlight with extra batteries, an emergency tool (like a hammer or a window breaker/seatbelt cutter combo). It should also include blankets and warm clothing in case you are stranded in cold weather. 

Don’t forget water, energy snacks, and basic tools like screwdrivers and wrenches. It’s also good to keep items such as windshield washer fluid, fuel line antifreeze, and deicer spray in your vehicle in case the weather turns bad.

What should you pack if you’re traveling through a cold state?

If you are driving through a cold state, it is important to pack winter road trip items such as warm clothing and blankets, as well as a winter car kit. This should include items such as jumper cables, windshield washer fluid, de-icer spray, fuel line antifreeze, and an emergency tool (like a hammer or window breaker/seatbelt cutter combo). 

Consider packing snacks that contain healthy energy sources like nuts and fruits. Bring along extra batteries for your flashlight and any other electronic devices you plan to use on your trip.

What type of shoes should I pack on a road trip?

When packing for a road trip, it is important to choose shoes that provide comfort and support. Depending on the nature of your journey, you may want to pick shoes with features such as waterproofing or ankle support. The best shoes to pack are:

  • Running shoes – Athletic shoes are great for long days of driving, as they offer plenty of cushioning and shock absorption. I prefer slip-on loafer sneakers for road trips.
  • Hiking boots – These sturdy boots provide support for walking around during stops and exploring in unfamiliar territory.
  • Sandals – For warmer climates where days might be spent primarily outdoors, sandals can be comfortable and stylish. Try to avoid slide sandals as they aren’t great for driving in.
  • Rainboots – In the event you encounter bad weather during your travels, rainboots can protect your feet from wetness and mud, but it might be easier to pack a pair of water-resistant sneakers or hiking boots.
  • Ballet flats – When space is limited, ballet flats are easy to pack away but still provide comfort during walkabouts in town or at a rest stop along the highway.

What should I pack for a 12-hour drive?

If you’re embarking on a 12-hour drive, packing the right items can make all the difference in having a comfortable trip. Making sure your car is stocked with essential items will help ensure that you don’t run into any unexpected issues along the way.

  • Snacks: It’s always a good idea to pack some snacks for your journey. Choose nutrient-dense snacks such as fruits, nuts and granola bars that will give you lasting energy along the way.
  • Drinks: Whether it’s water or a caffeinated beverage, make sure you have enough drinks to stay hydrated throughout your journey.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents and injuries can happen, so make sure you pack a first aid kit in case of emergency.
  • Cash: Have some extra cash on hand in case you need to use toll roads or if there’s an unexpected stop along the way.
  • Entertainment: Bring along some books, magazines, or music to keep you occupied during your drive.
  • Blanket and Pillow: Make sure you have a comfortable blanket and pillow to help make the journey more bearable.

By packing these essential items for your 12 hour drive, you can have a more comfortable and enjoyable journey. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that your trip is as stress-free as possible.

What are 3 tips to prepare for a road trip?

1. Plan your route – Make sure you have a good idea of the route you’ll be taking and plan out stops along the way if needed. Consider alternate routes in case of traffic congestion or detours, too!

2. Pack light – When packing for a road trip, consider bringing only the essentials so that you don’t have to lug around too much luggage. This will make the journey more comfortable, and you can always stop to pick up items if needed.

3. Bring entertainment – Make sure you have some form of entertainment such as books, music, or games for both adults and children in the car so that everyone stays busy during the drive. This will help make the journey fly by!

Bonus Tip: Have your vehicle inspected. Before you head out on a road trip, make sure to get your car checked for any potential issues. This will help ensure that you don’t have any problems during the drive and can get safely to your destination without any surprises!

Whether you’re a road-tripping expert or spending several long hours in the car for the first time, with these packing guides and road trip tips, you’ll be ready to head on a family road trip any time of year!

Check out my full list of road trip tips .

pin image for road trip packing list printable screenshots plus essential items to pack for a road trip

Share and Save This Post:

Thursday 6th of May 2021

This is amazing. Thank you.

Catherine Brady

Sunday 15th of March 2020

Love all of the practical tips in this post!! Also, the related spin off posts are super useful as well-especially the one on organization and the first aid kit!

Susan Summers

Thursday 5th of December 2019

Thanks for the tips. We're planning on doing our first road trip in France next summer. Can't wait!

Friday 6th of December 2019

Great, Susan! Hope you have a fabulous trip!

15 Brilliant Road Trip Hacks – Two Frugal Moms

Sunday 16th of July 2017

[…] 10. How To Pack Your Car For A Road Trip […]

Erica Gilbert

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

Nice tips and love the visuals! Glad you’ve mentioned the first aid kit. It’s important to check this before the trip and keep it where it’s easily accessible, especially when you’re traveling with kids. I usually keep a travel size pain relief oil, since it works for multiple situations. Also, a roll of toilet paper comes in handy to quickly clean up any spills or to wipe something.

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5 Must-Do Tips Before Heading on road-trip

Planning a road trip soon? This video covers essential tips such as vehicle maintenance, route planning, packing an emergency kit, entertainment for long drives, and sharing your itinerary for safety purposes.

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Cruising in Comfort: The 12 Best Cars for Long Road Trips

Posted: June 9, 2023 | Last updated: June 9, 2023

We’ve curated a list of the 12 best cars built with long journeys at the heart of their design philosophy. Whether you’re in the market...

Subaru Outback

Known for its impressive off-road capabilities, the Subaru Outback is great for road trips due to its spacious interior, smooth ride, and advanced safety features. Its standard all-wheel drive and high ground clearance make it a good choice for weather or terrain.

<p>The Honda CR-V is a reliable and fuel-efficient compact SUV with a spacious interior, a large cargo area, and advanced safety features. It provides a comfortable and quiet ride, and its high-quality cabin materials add to the overall driving experience.</p>

The Honda CR-V is a reliable and fuel-efficient compact SUV with a spacious interior, a large cargo area, and advanced safety features. It provides a comfortable and quiet ride, and its high-quality cabin materials add to the overall driving experience.

<p>The RAV4 is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in its class. It features a large cargo area, a comfortable and spacious interior, and advanced safety features. Its all-wheel-drive option makes it a good choice for road trips in various weather conditions.</p>

Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 is one of the most fuel-efficient SUVs in its class. It features a large cargo area, a comfortable and spacious interior, and advanced safety features. Its all-wheel-drive option makes it a good choice for road trips in various weather conditions.

<p>This large SUV is great for long road trips, with its powerful engine, spacious seating for up to nine passengers, and vast cargo area. The Suburban also offers high-tech features like a Wi-Fi hotspot and the latest infotainment system, keeping you connected on your travels.</p>

Chevrolet Suburban

This large SUV is great for long road trips, with its powerful engine, spacious seating for up to nine passengers, and vast cargo area. The Suburban also offers high-tech features like a Wi-Fi hotspot and the latest infotainment system, keeping you connected on your travels.

<p>With its robust towing capability, roomy seating for up to eight people, and vast cargo area, the Ford Expedition is a versatile vehicle suitable for road trips. It also offers a smooth ride and has the latest tech features for entertainment and safety.</p>

Ford Expedition

With its robust towing capability, roomy seating for up to eight people, and vast cargo area, the Ford Expedition is a versatile vehicle suitable for road trips. It also offers a smooth ride and has the latest tech features for entertainment and safety.

<p>If you’re looking for a luxury vehicle for your road trip, the E-Class from Mercedes offers superior comfort, a roomy interior, and high-tech features. It has advanced driver-assistance systems, excellent fuel efficiency, and a smooth, quiet ride that makes long drives enjoyable.</p>

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

If you’re looking for a luxury vehicle for your road trip, the E-Class from Mercedes offers superior comfort, a roomy interior, and high-tech features. It has advanced driver-assistance systems, excellent fuel efficiency, and a smooth, quiet ride that makes long drives enjoyable.

<p>The Telluride is a spacious, comfortable, and well-equipped SUV. It offers seating for up to eight people, a large cargo area, and advanced safety features. The Telluride also provides a smooth ride, and its powerful V6 engine ensures you have enough power for all your road trip needs.</p>

Kia Telluride

The Telluride is a spacious, comfortable, and well-equipped SUV. It offers seating for up to eight people, a large cargo area, and advanced safety features. The Telluride also provides a smooth ride, and its powerful V6 engine ensures you have enough power for all your road trip needs.

<p>This luxury SUV provides a potent combination of performance, comfort, and technology. The Q7 has a plush, roomy interior with first-rate materials and a state-of-the-art infotainment system. Its smooth ride and advanced safety and driver-assistance features make it a top choice for road trips.</p>

This luxury SUV provides a potent combination of performance, comfort, and technology. The Q7 has a plush, roomy interior with first-rate materials and a state-of-the-art infotainment system. Its smooth ride and advanced safety and driver-assistance features make it a top choice for road trips.

<p>Like the Outback, the Forester offers standard all-wheel drive and a spacious interior. It stands out for its excellent fuel efficiency, large cargo area, and advanced safety features, making it a solid choice for road trips.</p>

Subaru Forester

Like the Outback, the Forester offers standard all-wheel drive and a spacious interior. It stands out for its excellent fuel efficiency, large cargo area, and advanced safety features, making it a solid choice for road trips.

<p>This minivan is a great option for road trips, especially for larger families. It offers seating for up to eight people, a vast cargo area, and a comfortable, quiet ride. The Pacifica also has various family-friendly features like an onboard vacuum cleaner and a rear-seat entertainment system.</p>

Chrysler Pacifica

This minivan is a great option for road trips, especially for larger families. It offers seating for up to eight people, a vast cargo area, and a comfortable, quiet ride. The Pacifica also has various family-friendly features like an onboard vacuum cleaner and a rear-seat entertainment system.

<p>The Odyssey is another excellent minivan for road trips. It offers a spacious, high-quality interior, a smooth ride, and advanced safety features. Additionally, its Magic Slide second-row seats and available rear-seat entertainment system are particularly convenient for long journeys with the family.</p>

Honda Odyssey

The Odyssey is another excellent minivan for road trips. It offers a spacious, high-quality interior, a smooth ride, and advanced safety features. Additionally, its Magic Slide second-row seats and available rear-seat entertainment system are particularly convenient for long journeys with the family.

<p>This luxury SUV offers a potent combination of comfort, safety, and technology. The XC90 features a high-quality, roomy interior, a comfortable ride, and a wide array of standard safety features. Its fuel-efficient engine options and advanced infotainment system make it a great choice for road trips.</p> <p>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://mycarmakesnoise.com/general/the-best-cars-for-long-road-trips/">MyCarMakesNoise</a>.</p>

This luxury SUV offers a potent combination of comfort, safety, and technology. The XC90 features a high-quality, roomy interior, a comfortable ride, and a wide array of standard safety features. Its fuel-efficient engine options and advanced infotainment system make it a great choice for road trips.

This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise .

<p>From the birth of the American muscle car to the introduction of compact European wonders, the 50s sculpted the automotive design and performance roadmap. <strong><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/classic-cars/drive-back-in-time-the-classic-cars-that-defined-the-1950s/ss-AA1chUj2?ocid=social-peregrine&cvid=1a9bb1e62e26468d91ad6ac1c0a588a0&ei=10" rel="noopener">Read More.</a></strong></p>

Drive Back in Time: The Classic Cars That Defined the 1950s

From the birth of the American muscle car to the introduction of compact European wonders, the 50s sculpted the automotive design and performance roadmap. Read More.

<p>In this article, we will explore 10 affordable sports cars that bring the thrill of performance driving within reach of the average driver. <strong><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/sports-cars-on-a-budget-10-affordable-options-for-the-average-driver/ss-AA1c2lCM?ocid=social-peregrine&cvid=1a9bb1e62e26468d91ad6ac1c0a588a0&ei=14" rel="noopener">Read More.</a></strong></p>

Sports Cars on a Budget: 10 Affordable Options for the Average Driver

In this article, we will explore 10 affordable sports cars that bring the thrill of performance driving within reach of the average driver. Read More.

<p>Join us as we journey through the annals of automotive history, exploring why these vehicles are not just the best of Ford but are among the best the world has ever seen. <strong><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/from-mustangs-to-thunderbirds-the-10-best-ford-cars-of-all-time/ss-AA1c2Es1?ocid=social-peregrine&cvid=1a9bb1e62e26468d91ad6ac1c0a588a0&ei=17" rel="noopener">Read More.</a></strong></p>

From Mustangs to Thunderbirds: The 10 Best Ford Cars of All Time

Join us as we journey through the annals of automotive history, exploring why these vehicles are not just the best of Ford but are among the best the world has ever seen. Read More.

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The 12 Best Beginner Motorcycles For Long Road Trips

Starting off and want to jump into the deep end? These motorcycles need to be on your list for the long journey ahead.

Read update

Road trips, in general, can be tough if you don't have the right motorcycle along for the ride, especially if you are a novice rider. Given that, we have updated this list to include a few more entries of motorcycles perfectly suited for the job.

It's easy to romanticize the idea of setting off on a long road trip, especially when it concerns doing it on two wheels . It's a chance to revel in the freedom the open roads give you, explore, and, quite importantly, get to know the vehicle enabling this experience. Given that, though, it's critical to get the right kind of machine along for this trip.


This is especially true if you're a rider devoid of a lot of seat time. The last thing you want to do is bring someone's sportbike along because while it may have a lot of power and consume miles rapidly, it's something you'll tire of rather quickly because of the compromised riding triangle. Luckily, this list should help you get through that selection process. It features beginner-friendly motorcycles you can legitimately rely on for long road trips by the likes of Suzuki , Harley-Davidson , Yamaha , and even Ducati, among others.

How we got our model selections: To compile this list, HotCars made a list of all the appropriate motorcycles on offer that enable long trips. While power was considered a criterion to narrow the list down, the motorcycles also needed to be beginner-friendly, meaning priority was given to motorcycles with comfortable ergonomics, impressive fuel tank capacity, and easy-to-handle curb weight figures. It should be noted that this list is a mix of motorcycles currently in production and those that have been discontinued but can be readily found in the used market. Also, the motorcycles have been organized in increasing order of the current market values.

Top 10 Beginner Motorcycles Under 500cc

12 suzuki boulevard s40, used price range: $2,000-$6,000.

Suzuki's cheapest Boulevard doesn't leave you wanting for much. The 652cc engine is strong but not too strong for the bike's weight. It's not quite as long as other cruisers, which is nice for a beginner, and it's got a fairly affordable used price range, too. The seating is relaxed, with handles a little closer to you.

The newer ones come in a cool street-color gray and a classic blue. The way it features less chrome with a blacked-out engine and black finish on the wheels makes it look sporty and simple. A single speedometer over the gas tank is analog, and it has plates on the sides for saddlebags if you need cargo space.

2019 Suzuki Boulevard S40 Specs

(Specs sourced from Motorcycle Specs )

11 Harley-Davidson Iron 883

Used price range: $2,000-$10,000.

This Harley-Davidson gets 833 America-made ccs of power and goes for well under $10k in the used market. It's one of the best Harleys to start with, and you won't get kicked out of a biker bar for owning one. The Iron 883 has a V-Twin engine. If you don't know, this is a cool thing to have if you wear a leather jacket with patches unironically.

Admittedly, you don't get quite as much for your investment as an Indian Scout Sixty, and both will always be less reliable than a Honda or Kawasaki, but there are some things that just don't compare, like the trademark Harley rumble! Plus, with motorcycles, there's always less to fix than with cars so that you can do a lot of the work yourself.

2008 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 Specs

10 yamaha v star 250, starting msrp: $4,699.

The Yamaha V-Star 250 is one of the very best for uneasy beginners looking to road trip . A new one costs just $4,699, and it gets 78 MPG. That means 195 miles between stops, which is pretty decent for a motorcycle. If you haven't figured it out, most of the time, the numbers by the name represent the ccs in a bike, so this has 249 (thus, 250). That means it's a very comfortable beginner's bike that won't scare you but can still get up to cruising speed faster than most cars. It also means the bike is lighter and easier to control.

It has a decent rear seat for passengers and a good base for saddlebags and packs. The speedometer is analog, and the styling is classic, so you might get confused if you park by any V-Star from the past 40 years. Despite the timeless look, the bike holds up to aging well and won't feel rough or uncomfortable on a long trip.

2024 Yamaha V-Star 250 Specs

(Specs sourced from WebBikeWorld )

These Are The Best Cheap Beginner Motorcycles From Japan

9 ducati scrambler sixty2, used price range: $5,000-$7,000.

The Scrambler Sixty2 is a 399cc sportbike marketed more towards women. It weighs less than any on this list at just 403 lbs, which is great for people worried about laying it down on accident. It may look like a "naked" (a sportbike with no fairings or extra body covers), but this bike gets just shy of 250 miles of range, and even though the seat is a little more aggressive and won't hug your buns, the way it's shaped actually is relaxing and won't rub your behind the wrong way like a dirt bike (for men and women).

This bike won't be able to hold saddlebags, but the Sixty2 makes a great road trip bike for someone who won't spend more than three days riding in a row and wants a good in-town motorcycle the rest of the time. Surprisingly, for its size (but not for Ducati's standards), it can go up to 100 mph, so you'll never be left wanting more power on the freeway.

2018 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 Specs

8 bmw g 310 gs, starting msrp: $5,890.

The BMW G 310 GS is an adventure bike , meaning with some knobby tires, it makes a decent dirt bike for trails as well. With an adventure bike, you get way more travel (7.5 inches) for smoother rides, a more comfortable seat than a dirt bike, and a more upright seating position than dirt or bullet bikes. The 310 GS is one of the cheapest Beamers you can buy new for just $5,890. That being said, it is a Beamer. This won't win any awards for reliability.

The 310 GS makes a comfortable 313cc that won't get you up any hill climbs but will easily take you up to 90 miles per hour. With 71 MPG, it has a range of 213 miles. The digital display shows gas, gear, and speed in bold fashion, and the LED light makes for a great off-road light in bright mode.

2024 BMW G 310 GS Specs

7 honda rebel 500, starting msrp: $6,499.

The Rebel 500 is an affordable and comfortable bike that will last you your whole life. It has 471ccs, which won't let you do any wheelies but does get you up to cruising speed sooner than you need. To keep yourself from locking up your brakes (a significant factor in motorcycle crashes), you can and should get the ABS option. The blacked-out bike may mimic a Harley, but the low seat height makes it ideal for women and the height-challenged. It is also surprisingly fitting for full-height people.

The Rebel has been around for years, so used ones aren't hard to find, and a new one will run for just $6,499. The digital cluster is simple and includes a fuel gauge (not included on all motorcycles). Honda’s slip/assist clutch makes shifting easy for the uninitiated, but sadly, this doesn't come with an automatic transmission. The manual is very forgiving, easy to learn, and worth it, in our opinion. This bike is ideal for beginners who don't plan on switching bikes for years to come.

2024 Honda Rebel 500 Specs

These are the best beginner motorcycles money can buy, 6 kawasaki vulcan s, starting msrp: $7,349.

According to their official website, Kawasaki advertises the Vulcan as being able to fit a wide range of people. The 649cc engine has a good kick at low to mid-range for city stops, but it can also get up to 100 mph. For $7,349, it will feel sportier and quicker than other bikes, but it's also reportedly fun to sit on on the freeway! It has one of the most natural seating positions of any bike under $10,000, probably because it's adjustable.

It may look nothing like a beginner's bike, but it is what Kawasaki offers as their entry-level cruiser . If you're not worried about the bike weighing a little more, it is a very forgiving and comfortable ride. ABS is available, features like a windshield and back support are easy to add, and they are a massive plus on long rides.

2024 Kawasaki Vulcan S Specs

5 honda nc750x, starting msrp: $9,499.

If there were a contender for the bike on this list that you could buy with your eyes closed, the Honda NC750X would be right up there at the top of that list.

It's easy on the eyes, great for beginners in terms of the riding ergonomics, is affordable enough, has a great ride, and the DCT on it is the cherry on the icing. It even includes riding modes, a windshield, and a low seat height. That the NC750X often gets discounted is a puzzle.

2024 Honda NC750X Specs

4 triumph tiger 660, starting msrp: $9,695.

The star of the show here is, of course, Triumph's lovely 3-cylinder engine, but the Tiger 660 is no one-trick pony. This is about as close to ideal for beginners to get on and go on a long trip .

Tack on luggage and load it up, and the excellent tractability of the motor will still pull you along comfortably. You can even add optional extras that will make the journey more comfortable, like additional lighting and heated grips. Hard to fault the Tiger 660, really.

2023 Triumph Tiger 660 Specs

10 best beginner motorcycles money can buy, 3 bmw f 750 gs.

BMW's GS motorcycle lineup is legendary . The F 750 GS is a natural at completing longer journeys in absolute comfort. One of the most important factors is, of course, the seat, and the F 750 GS makes do with one that's ideally suited to road trips.

At 32.1 inches, it's much lower than you'd expect for a bike this size, but if that's not enough, BMW will also sell you a suspension lowering kit and soft seat, bringing the seat height down further to 30.3 inches. In addition to that, it also gets dynamic traction control, ride modes, and adjustable brake and clutch levers, among others. For the money, it's quite a deal.

2023 BMW F 750 GS Specs

2 indian scout sixty, starting msrp: $11,749.

The Indian Scout Sixty is one "beginner" bike that will earn you a lot of respect . It starts at $11,749 and is pretty long and wide but isn't necessarily heavy. The wider handlebars give you better in-city control around corners, and ABS is an option. The engine is 1000ccs, the most of any on this list, but not something an average-fit person couldn't handle easily.

While this is more of a luxury option, it allows for things like a windshield (don't discount how useful one of these is after just two hours of 60+ mph wind in your face) and genuine leather saddlebags. The seat is wide, which benefits the narrow-waisted as well as larger people.

2024 Indian Scout Sixty Specs

1 energica eva esseesse9+, starting msrp: $16,110.

This electric bike warrants some cautionary tales: First, do not listen to music until you are comfortable with traffic flow and riding defensively! Cars cannot hear you at all, and they can't see you too well either. Also, its range is 143 miles combined, which is not the best for long trips but is still passable with some planning.

With that out of the way, you get an 80% charge in 40 minutes with a fast charge! All you need to do is stop for a meal by a power station, and you're as well off as any ICE bike. The EsseEsse9 has a nice, upright position , but you're also working with a lot of torque, so make sure you take it slow, or you can pop a wheelie. Otherwise, unlike combustion bikes, it's small and simple and won't have any mechanical issues to stump you. The gauge is simple and can tell the range so you won't be left without power.

2020 Energica EVA EsseEsse9+ Specs

(Specs sourced from Bikez )

  • Source for features: Respective manufacturers' websites
  • Source for technical specifications: Motorcycle Specs, Bikez, WebBikeWorld
  • Source for used prices: Cycle Trader


  1. Stay Safe and Have Fun on a Long Road Trip

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