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How To Plan The Perfect Road Trip

February 4, 2015

Filed in: Travel

Decide Where You Want To Go

This may seem pretty obvious, but it actually can be quite a daunting task. There are so many beautiful places in this world, it can be hard to decide where you want to go first. I personally have a list that I keep in my journal of all the places I would like to visit. It seems to grow daily!

So think about where you might want to head off to. Are you looking to soak up some rays in the sun on a sandy white beach? Or maybe you are like me and crave green – national forests, lush trees, and random waterfalls on the side of the road…ahhh I can just picture myself in it now.

Determine Your Budget

Here comes the tough part, the budget. This can make or break a trip. When you don’t have enough money, it can limit what you can and can’t do. So make sure a road trip is really something you can afford right now. Although, in my personal experience, you can have fun on pretty much any budget, you just have to get creative.

Decide The Length Of Your Trip

This will depend on your work schedule, paid time off allowance, your budget and other people who may be coming with you on the trip. Deciding the length of your trip will take a little coordination among everyone. Make sure you can get the time off work first. You don’t want to plan this grand adventure only to have your boss tell you those days will not be available to you. Trust me, it happens sometimes. So check and double check! Keep in mind, that you have to add additional days off to accommodate for the travel time in the car to your destination.


I first discovered this website when Josh and I took our road trip to Oregon last fall. It was so useful when trying to plan everything out. It uses Google Maps to lay out the route and calculate fuel costs, time and distance of the trip. They now have an Roadtrippers App available that you can download on your iPhone or iPad, that has the same functions as the website, as well as the ability to drop pins on potential places to eat, sleep and visit. There are a lot of other apps too, but this is the only one I have tried so far.

Decide Where You Will Sleep

Think about how and where you want to sleep at night. There are so many options nowadays – a tent, hostel, hotel, BnB? You don’t have to stick to only one type of accommodation either, mix it up a little. It feels so good to take a nice hot shower in a hotel after roughing it in the wilderness in a tent for a few days. It all just depends on what you are looking to get out of your trip.

Make Your Itinerary

I am a big fan of making plans, even if that plan ends up changing, it is nice to have a starting point. Your itinerary should be a reference that you can look at for a general idea of what to do, see or where to eat. Try not to make it so specific that you feel confined to the list. Allow for spontaneity, and the freedom to deviate from the plan.

Pack, Clean and Organize. 

I despise packing. I really do. I am super indecisive (libra horoscope -blaming it on that!) so it takes me forever to decide on what to bring. Half the clothes in my closet end up in the must bring pile before I realize most of them won’t even fit!

One of the things that I have been trying lately, is to make a road trip checklist. I write down all the basic essential items that I need and pack those first. Then, if I still have leftover room, I can add in a few extra outfits just in case I might need them.

A few days before the road trip, I’ll wash my car, inside and out. There is nothing worse than smelling hints of leftover food or seeing dust all over while you’re driving. Even though your car will most likely get dirty again during the road trip, it’s always nice to begin with a fresh start.

After the car is washed, and I’m done packing, I put everything but my toothbrush and outfit for the next day in the car. That way, when I wake up, I can just pull on the clothes, grab my toothbrush, get in the car and start driving! The more prepared you are, the better.

Just Go

You’ve dreamed about and planned your road trip for weeks. Now it’s finally time to just go! The open road awaits. Get out there and start exploring. There is so much to see and do, the possibilities are endless. Even if you are just taking a couple of days to go the next state over, you will feel so inspired by the change of scenery.

Most importantly, don’t rush. Put on some music and take your time. The journey is half the fun in getting to your destination! Remember to always travel with wonder and gratitude. Keep an open mind and be ready for whatever life gives you.

Tip : Don’t forget to bring a camera and a notebook to document your daily adventures. 

Safe travels!

comments +

  1. Looks like you love to travel. Plan a road trip to Northern California and Lassen National Park. If you find yourselves up here photographing a wedding or just playing please stop in at the St. Bernard Lodge.

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