Plan Your Route
Sounds easy enough, hop on to Google Maps and enter your starting point and destination and off you go! But wait before you head off to the car take some time to look at where you will be headed. Google Maps is insanely detailed and you can discover some hidden gems just by zooming in and taking a closer look at your route. Find something interesting that you want to add? You can insert a destination into your route or add an attraction to your “favorites” and now it will pop up any time you have Google Maps open.
Not sure where to start looking? Head over to Roadtrippers.com and put in your route there. This website and app will help you find interesting places to check out along your route.
When you are planning your trip don’t forget to save an offline copy of your Google Map to your phone. This will save you big time if you encounter an area without cell phone data service or if you are traveling to another country and don’t have phone service. Here are some quick instructions on how to do this.
Next you need to think about how much gas it’s going to take to get you to your destination (and back!) If you are terrible at math like me, you are in luck because GasBuddy is here to help you out! It will do all the calculations for you and take into consideration how much gas is priced along your route.
Before You Leave
You are so eager to hit the road, but there are a few things you should do before you head out.
First things first, make sure your car is up to date on it’s maintenance. No weird lights going off, that oil has enough life left in it, and your tires have tread and are pumped up.
Next, double check your insurance and registration are current and that you have copies with you.
Finally, clean that car! You are going to be spending quite a bit of time together so treat it to a nice wash and vacuum and for goodness sake, throw out all the empty La Croix cans and old Starbucks cups!
What to Bring With You
Tire Inflator – I keep one in my car at all times and it has saved me!
Jumpstart Kit – Jumper cables are a necessity and some don’t even require another car for help.
First Aid Kit – For minor oopsies.
Cooler – Stop less for snacks and make sure you pack some food from home to save money on the road.
Water bottle – It’s always cheaper to fill up your own and it helps the environment.
Umbrella – Be prepared for bad weather.
Ice scraper – Same reason as the umbrella.
Travel trashcan – Looks way better than a random bag and can be used multiple times.
Neck pillow – Recommending my favorite travel pillow, works great on both long plane rides and long car rides.
Wet wipes – Because I have yet to see a car with a sink, this will help with any messes.
Pocket knife – Honestly, just handy to have.
Flashlight – For when you drop your phone in between the seats and other emergencies.
Dashcam – Seems silly until you are in an accident and need to see exactly what happened.
Seat organizer – Because there’s simply not enough places to stash things.
Device charger – Because no one likes a dead phone.
Towel – “Is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value.”
How to Pass the Time
Make a road trip playlist on Spotify, make sure you make it offline compatible for when you hit those dead spaces on the long road.
Download some podcasts or an audiobook from Audible.
Check out these books of games to play on a long car ride.
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