Planning a road trip can be difficult. As busy as we can get, it’s easy to understand why a trip may not go as planned, no matter how tiny the forgotten details may be. That’s where we remember some of the road trip travel tips passed down to us from our parents, who took us on road trips when we were younger.
Road trips are all about experiences along the way, not just once you arrive. It’s literally about the journey and not the destination. From planning to driving to lodging to eating, the details of a road trip all come together to create the unique-in-all-the-world experience.
Here are some road trip travel tips to help you have a pleasant experience on your next trip.
Download entertainment onto your devices. We’re well beyond the days of just having the radio for entertainment. Now we can download music, audiobooks, podcasts, and more onto our phones or tablets, and connect them to our car stereo systems. This gives you custom content for your road trip, listening to whatever you and your family enjoy. And depending on your phone’s data plan, you may just want to stream certain content, like your favorite radio station 2,000 miles away, or your favorite Spotify playlist.
Get connected to a roadside service. The last thing you want on any road trip is to be stranded on the side of the road, helpless and nervous about the area around you. Consider joining AAA or signing up for a roadside service. But make sure you download their app before you leave and set it up. This way, you can figure out how it works and how to use it should the need arise.
While we’re on the subject of roadside services, download your favorite gas station apps. You can use those to pay for your gas once you’re at the pump (which avoids possible credit card skimmers), and some of them will give you a discount on your gas purchases. For example, the BP app gives a $.05 per gallon discount, up to 100 gallons per month. That may only be $5 in savings, but the alternative is just giving BP the extra $5.
Get other useful road trip apps like RoadTrippers, GasBuddy, and iExit Interstate Exit Guide, which tells you what amenities are up ahead on the next interstate exit. If you’re not sure where the next gas station or McDonald’s is, iExit can tell you. GasBuddy helps you find nearby gas stations and tells you what the current prices are. And Roadtrippers will help you find interesting stops along the way to your final destination.
Clean your car before and during your trip. Some people naturally keep their car clean, but many overlook the messes that they’re used to. A small amount of clutter may not mean much, but if it grows, it can be problematic for the trip. Your mind gets cluttered, and you start feeling the stress of little things that are not going your way, like slow traffic or poor weather. Before the trip, take some time to clean the car out. And then clean out all trash with every stop and wash the windshield each time you’re at a gas station. Not only will you have more space in the car, but it will feel cleaner, and you’ll have one less thing to stress you during your road trip.
Have your vehicle serviced. You’re about to travel hundreds, if not a couple thousand miles, so you want to make sure your car is in the best shape possible. A week before your trip, take your car in to get serviced by a mechanic. Have them check the brakes, tires, fluids, lights, and anything else that can be a cause of concern during your trip. Giving a week’s time will give your mechanic time to work on the car and have it ready for the trip. (Or you can avoid the problem by renting a car instead. It will still be new and problem-free.)
Don’t stay on the highway, but stay clear of the blue highways.
Highways serve a purpose for road trippers, for sure. They are great for interstate road trips, but if traffic is building up and getting heavy, getting off might be the better way to go. Unfortunately, traffic does not only show up on highways.
Blue highways are roads that stretch across town. They are not the backroads that have you cut behind neighborhoods and all. For instance, in Orlando, East Colonial drive stretches from west Orlando to Cocoa Beach, and that drive can take a few hours because it’s one of the busiest streets in Orlando. The traffic on blue highways can be unbearable and long-standing, especially if they are away from highways and toll roads. So take the state highways, but not directly through a city.
What are your road trip travel tips? How do you make a cross-country car trip more enjoyable? Share your suggestions with us on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.