As I write this, I’m in the passenger seat driving through the middle of Oklahoma with my sister to visit a friend in Amarillo. They say it’s a midwest thing, but when a destination is less than 11 hours away, I prefer to drive instead of fly. While Ashley and I were planning this trip, we realized that with a little extra driving we could see a lot more places, so we turned it into a little Texas road trip.
This isn’t anywhere near my first rodeo on the whole road trip thing — they are actually my favorite kind of trips to take! So today I wanted to share how I plan road trips + what I do to get the most out of the journey.
First things first, your route
The first thing you have to do when planning any road trip is to get a general idea of the route. During this step, we are talking about basics only. Pull up google maps, put in the final destination and start noting all the places that could be fun to stop at.
Next, consider your timeline. If you have a week, start thinking about what you want to do each day, where you want to end up each night, and how long the drives are in between each city. During the planning process, google maps will be your best friend!
One thing to consider at this point the process is when things are open. While I was planning Ashley and I’s trip to Texas, I originally planned to do Waco on Sunday. Well, turns out all of Magnolia is closed on Sundays! We obviously want to do all the fun Magnolia things, so we flipped the days and decided to go on a Monday instead. Not a huge deal, but would’ve been a bummer had we not realized!
Once you have a basic outline of your route, you will want to start booking a few things. I love the spontaneity of road trips, so I only book the important stuff in advance. Usually this just means campsites that I think might fill up or hotels in cities that I think would be more expensive last minute. I don’t book a place to stay every night, just because you can usually find a last minute hotel. This way I can leave the itinerary open ended.
Pro tip: During the planning phase, it might pay to download the Google map for your destination, so you can use it even if you don’t have service. While you are at it, download a couple podcasts and some good music too.
Packing for your road trip
My favorite type of packing is road trip packing because you can bring as much as you want. Huge bottle of dry shampoo? Extra pair of shoes just for fun? Toss it all in. What you pack depends on where you are going, but there are a few things I like to bring on every trip.
The biggest thing here is food. Priorities, ya know?! 😉 I love having plenty to snack on during the drive. Road trips also tend to bring you to the middle of nowhere, meaning there are fewer restaurant options. I love to pack peanut butter and jelly for this, just because it is so easy. That, a bag of chips, maybe some fruit, a big jug of water and you are set!
Other than food, it’s a good idea to toss in a pillow, blanket, and a good book if you are traveling with someone else. I would grab a skillet, some matches, cooking oil, a deck of cards, and a portable speaker if you are camping,! Most importantly, make sure you bring some cash, especially if you will be taking toll roads.
I never worry about having every single thing I’ll need when I’m packing for a road trip, but I make sure I have enough to eat in a pinch and a few things to stay entertained on the drive! Other than that, I wing it as I go.
Before you leave, be sure to check the weather for each of your stops. Not only will this help with packing, it will also help you know what you can do in each spot!
While you on your road trip
Once you are all planned and packed, it’s time to actually get out and start exploring!
The biggest advice I can give for your trip is to not sweat the small stuff. Rarely do things go perfectly when you travel. Stuff takes longer than you thought, there are sometimes unexpected expenses, roads might be closed… Anything can happen. Don’t let the little setbacks ruin your day or your trip! Go in with the mindset that it’s all part of the experience.
Remember the point of a road trip is to be spontaneous! Some of my favorite travel moments, like skydiving in Lake Tahoe, happened because of a last minute decision on a road trip. Embrace the spontaneity. If you see a sign for a national park, go! If you can let go of having a plan, road trips will give you some of the best memories!
Are you planning an epic road trip?! Let me know in the comments! 🙂
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