The Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Road Trip

The Beginner’s Guide to Planning a Road Trip

Are you planning a road trip? Confused on what to do to be prepared? Do you need a checklist to go through before walking out the door?

Planning a road trip may seem like an easy task. Grab a few clothes and necessary items and take off. Being spontaneous can be a fun and exciting way to live, but it can bring some major downfalls.

Plan your trip to ensure that everything goes smoothly, and that you have everything that you need to make it as enjoyable as it sounds. If you are a free spirit that likes to ‘go with the flow of things’ you can still plan the main aspects of the trip and still allow for those exhilarating decisions along the way. Here’s your guide to planning a road tip for perfect fun and memories.


Plan your route on your smart device, or on a map. The shortest route to your destination is not always the best route. The whole point of a road trip is to take in the sites. It is perfectly acceptable to zig here and zag there. This simply means that if your route weaves up and down on the map that it is perfectly fine. It is suggested that you take in the sights on one part of the map (such as the northern areas) on the trip there, and then see the other areas (such as the south) on the way back. It is your trip, though, so plot the route any way that you see fit.


As stated above, plan for any stops along your route. states that you need to pack any items that you may need for the day in a separate bag, to prevent the need of unpacking at every stop. If you are planning to stop for a swim, set aside your swimsuits. If you are going for a hike, have your boots handy. Planning stops will not only allow you the benefits of having items ready, but it will ensure that you have packed what you need.


You will obviously have a destination in mind. If it will take you three days to get there you will need to plan for the other two nights. If you have more than one person that is able to drive you can keep on going, but you may miss locations at night that you would normally like to stop and see. Each point that you plan to stay over at should be considered as a destination point. Plan them all out and stay on course.


Before leaving on a road trip you need to give your car a good check. Give it a tune up if it has been a while. Change the oil if it is needed. Check the status of all the other fluids, such as the transmission and window wash fluids. The tires should have plenty of tread, and you should have a spare, with the jack and wrench easily available. Do not forget car insurance and registration. Make sure that the registration papers are in the glovebox, along with your proof of insurance. If you do not have insurance, or the proper amounts, go to a car insurance compare site and get the best deal for your dollar. If your vehicle is not in great shape, check into renting a car for the length of the trip. It is always better to play it safe, rather than taking the chance of breaking down along the road.

On the Road

Traveling can be exhausting when you are going a long distance. You will want to have some drinks, and snacks, available for everyone in the vehicle. Entertainment options are also a bonus for the passengers, especially if your children are going for the ride with you. It is highly suggested that the driver stays focused on the road, rather than trying to watch the movie playing on the portable player. During the last 12 months the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications states that 1,142 people died on the roads. One of the top leading causes of death while driving is distracted driving. So, for your sake, and the sake of others, keep your eyes on the road and concentrate on the task at hand.

Ahead of Time

If you plan to camp out under the stars, you will need to have the proper equipment to cook and sleep. If you are staying in a motel or room, you will want to have it reserved ahead of time. It is never a promising idea to assume a room will be available when you get there. Many trips have included a night in the car due to refusing to plan ahead. Detail every phase of your trip out, leaving room for last minute side trips, and enjoy everything that a road trip has to offer.

These are the basic five steps that you should follow before you leave, and while traveling. They do not have to be completed in the order given, and there is room for you to add things that you feel are important. The main thing to remember while planning for a road trip, is to have everything written down on paper, or in your note application on your phone. Reference it on a regular basis. Keep on track and on time.

If you have a set timetable that you need to follow, allow plenty of time for the trip back. Getting back to work, or school, needs to be an aspect of the planning that should be at the top of the priority list. It is a good idea to allow at least a day extra for things that may come up. As an example, if you have two weeks off, plan a trip for thirteen days, allowing one entire day to unpack and rest. And of course, if you get sidetracked while driving, you will have the extra 24 hours to allow for it.

The bottom line is simple. Plan out your road trip, in every aspect. Get out of the house and get going. Enjoy your time off with a well thought out drive through the parts of the country that have been calling your name.

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