The idea of a spontaneous road trip, undefined by either a plan or a destination may seem romantic but you’ll likely have a more successful and enjoyable time with a little bit of planning. Budgeting, planning where to spend the night, and making the perfect road trip playlist are all things that add a little structure to your adventure and take some of the stress out of it!
Some things to think about when you begin planning are: where will I sleep each night? What do I want to see along the way? What is the best route for me? You’ll also want to make sure your car is prepared for the journey so take it in for a check-up before you head out and make sure everything is in good shape. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the guide to the perfect summer road trip, one you can take alone, with a partner, or a group of friends. Here’s to the open road!
Where to stay
Where you sleep on a road trip depends on a few factors such as your budget, what part of the country you’ll be driving through, what supplies you have, and personal preference. If you have a tent or are willing to sleep outside, camping can be a fun and free alternative to a hotel room. If you do choose to camp, make sure you bring the necessary supplies for a night in the wilderness including sunscreen, bug spray, a sleeping pad, and plenty of water. If you choose to pay for accommodations be sure to schedule your stays ahead of time so you can make sure you stay within your budget. Choose whatever works best for you but if you’re going to be on the road for a while we suggest a mix of both so you can stay in budget and have a place to shower every once in a while.
Budgeting isn’t the more glamorous part of planning a road trip but it will save you a major headache and probably some cash. There are many ways to budget for a big expense but one of the easiest is to create a spreadsheet with your ideal budget and filling in all of your planned expenses. Don’t forget to account for the price of gas, food, and anything sparkly you come across at the many rest stops on your route. Below is a list of what to bring on a road trip, so go through it, see what you already have, and then budget for the items you’ll need to buy before heading out!
What to Pack
The perfect road trip perfect packing list depends on where you’re going and how many pairs of shoes you feel like you actually need to have a good time but we’ve created a basic list to start with!
If you camp:
- Tent (or hammock)
- Sleeping pad
- Camping food
- Camping stove
- Supplies for s’mores
- Bug repellent
- Multi-tool or camping knife
- Enough clothes for each day you’re on the road plus an extra set just in case!
- Comfortable shoes (plus an extra pair)
- Roadtrip snacks!
- The perfect road trip playlist
- Hand sanitizer and rubber gloves
- Water and refillable water bottles
- Phone charger
- A book or games for when you have downtime
- Any vitamins or supplements you take such as CBD
For your car:
- A physical map (yes those still exist) incase GPS fails you
- License, registration, and insurance
- Roadside emergency kit
- Garbage bags
What to do
Whether you want to see the world’s biggest ball of twine or are just trying to spend some time in nature, there’s practically an endless list of road trip possibilities. You may already know what you want to see but if not here are a few options:
- The world’s biggest ball of twine in Kansas
- Any National Park
- Dinosaur World in Kentucky
- Roswell New Mexico
- The Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
- The Upside Down Whitehouse in Wisconsin
- Try forest bathing wherever you end up!
- Never let your gas tank get below half full, especially if you’re traveling through a remote area
- Bring extra snacks. That second bag of chips may seem frivolous but when you’re on your 7th hour of driving through the prairie you’ll be happy to have a pick me up
- Plan your bathroom breaks carefully. The fact is, you know your bladder best so think about your coffee and water intake carefully and decide how often you feel comfortable stopping.
- If you’re taking to the open road alone, designate a safety buddy who you can make a contact plan with. Let them know when you stop for the night, where you are on your route and when you plan to arrive at your next destination.
Ultimately, the perfect summer road trip is the one that works the best for you! Have fun, make memories, and be sure to tag us in your road trip pics, happy adventuring!