The Best Tips For A Road Trip - Experts Roundup

21st May 2019
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What makes up a good road trip? Is it the music, the people, the preparation? Here at YourParkingSpace.co.uk we asked well-seasoned travel experts what advice they had when it comes to planning, and having, the best road trip ever! 

Let's go! 

 

#1 Make sure your car is in good condition

fullsizeoutput_139My top piece of advice is to make sure that your car is in good condition. When you take it in for an oil change, the mechanics will also check to make sure all of the vital systems are working properly and can alert you to any repairs that may be needed.
 
Having your car in working order is especially important if your road trip takes you through a remote or rural area. It's not fun to deal with a breakdown even in a city. It's even less fun and more expensive if you breakdown in the middle of nowhere.
 
Next, I would say plan breaks and have multiple drivers in the car. This will help you stay alert while driving and enjoy the trip more.
 
- Alice Stevens, Content Management Specialist, BestCompany.com
 
 
 
#2 Plan ahead!

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Plan ahead! Not only can you save money on things like RVs, which offer early bird discounts, you can also snag the best campsites that sell out 6 months in advance. Keep an eye on your favorite camp ground and make note of when the reservation window opens. Or, let experts plan for you (hint: Tracks & Trails)!

Utilize your phone while on the road. There are many apps that can benefit you – like GasBuddy,which can help you find the cheapest and nearest gas station (bonus, it helps you find diesel!), or Roadside America to point out all the weirdest, or coolest, stops along your route. 

 - Ashleigh Rudolph, Marketing Manager, Tracks-trails.com

  

#3 Stock up on supplies before leaving 

fullsizeoutput_128Tip 1: Stock up on supplies before leaving. Pick up everything you'll need for the road so that you don't have to make unplanned stops later. Don't forget snacks, paper towels, entertainment (cards and games), water and other necessities. 
Tip 3: Plan your drive from attraction to attraction not from town to town. Always have the next fun goal in mind. This makes the trip itself feel like a quest and helps it not become stressful or routine. 
Tip 4: Shorter distances are better.  If possible break up very long driving days into two - both for the sake of the drivers and the passengers. 
Tip 5: If possible give yourself a rest day. Spend two nights in the same location exploring a town on foot. That rest day in the middle of your trip really helps you get ready for the rest of your road trip. 
Tip 5: Plan to see something new every day. If your road trip is a loop, plan on taking one road there and a different road back. Stop in different attractions along the way.
 
- Viktoria Altman, Travel Blogger, Gotraveltipster.com
 
 
 
#4 Find a great half-way spot to take a break
 
fullsizeoutput_132When I am planning a long road-trip, I love to look for an awesome halfway point to take a break. Sometimes it's a retro roadside diner, other times it's a short hike. Either way, it gives me something to look forward to and it's a great way to break up a long drive and make it more manageable.
 
Offline google maps have saved my road trip multiple times. I'm very dependent on my phone for directions, so it's nice to know that when I lose cell reception I can still navigate to my destination. Even when I'm sure I'll have good cell reception, I still download offline google maps so be sure I'm covered in case I lose service.
 
Finding a really great podcast for your road trip is a great way to pass the time quickly. I've binge listened to a bunch of podcasts during my many road trips, and it almost makes you forget that you're cooped up in a car. My favorites are true crime podcasts like Serial and Up and Vanished, but I also love business podcasts like How I Built This and The Pitch.
 
- Gabrielle Small, Travel Blogger, Jackandgabexplore.com
 
 
 
#5 Build a skeleton of your trip
 
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We’ve taken many road trips over the years including the US cross country, Pacific Coast Highway, East Coast of Australia, Italy, the UK and Iceland amongst many other destinations.My biggest tip for a successful road trip is to build a skeleton of your trip. Have an idea of where you want to go and the route you will take. But don’t lock in every stop. Afford yourself some flexibility to stay longer in a destination, or move on if it’s not quite doing it for you. This worked well for us visiting Monument Valley. We had just one night planned, however the Valley had been closed. We extended an extra day until the park reopened. Had we not had the flexibility we would have missed the best it had to offer.
 
- Jeff Miller, Travel Blogger, Ourpassionfortravel.com
 
 
 
#6 Plan for quick pitstops to stretch your legs
 
fullsizeoutput_124Here are my tips for road trips: When setting our route, I plan for quick pit stops to stretch our legs that aren't too far out of our way. The best are county and state parks, where a short walk in nature can be reinvigorating. When it's too wet or cold to take a walk outside, I'll have my family stretch our legs by walking the aisles of a big box store. 
 
- Kim Reiner, Writer, Ohmyomaha.com
 
 
 
 
#7 Download navigation and listening apps
 

fullsizeoutput_135What makes a road trip is the people and the journey. Obvs. Get the vehicle serviced before going and pack a safety kit (for the car and people). Download navigation and listening apps (eg Waze and Spotify). Camping gear is good to have when there aren’t other options. A small cooler can be used for food that’s not from a gas station or fast food. A payment app, (eg Paypal or Venmo) so family/ friends can send funds for emergencies. Check the weather (I’ve been stuck in a remote town for 2 days b/c of snow).

- Sarah Emery, Writer & Founder, Sarahwithasmile.com

 

#8 Download offline maps or carry a paper map

fullsizeoutput_12aDownload offline maps or carry a paper map for the route you are going to take as well as your destination. This avoids panicky situations when your phone GPS fails or battery runs out on the phone when you are navigating. Mark your points of interest on the paper map and stick to the routes you marked. Take care to mark the visitor information centers along the way so that if you are ever in doubt, you can make a stop there and ask for more information for your journey.

 - Priyadarshini Rajendran, Travel Blogger, Glorioussunrise.com

 

#9 Use a roadmap (yes real fold-up detailed maps!)

fullsizeoutput_137Use a roadmap (yes real fold-up detailed maps!). They are FREE at tourist info centers for each province (in Canada). Look for points along the route and random icons - circle them and go. The long way is usually WAY more scenic (e.g., coastal/river drive vs. highway) and the reason to be there - you will get lost! But lost in the great sort of way.
 
There are countless epic spots... that are all different. From huge lakes, quaint towns, forests of all types, sand dunes, 55+ foot tidal changes, turquoise blue water, lakes and rivers all to yourself, bustling cities, cute cities, and lots more.
 
Get outdoors to our national or provincial parks - we have a lot more than you think (... the country is massive and diverse). And at minimum two that you never heard of! Whether a cabin in the woods, a little ski chalet out of town, quaint cottage or a tent along a river in the middle of nowhere. Choose the home base for you.
 
 
- Jared Nusinoff, Chief Adventurer, Outheretravel.ca
 
 
 
#10 Camp for free on public lands 
 
fullsizeoutput_12cCamp for free on public lands - Did you know that it’s free to camp on any Bureau of Land Management or National Forest land? When we're road tripping, we use camping apps like iOverlander, AllStays, Boondocking, and Campendium to find the best campsites all over the country. They’ve led us to incredible places to stay right outside the most popular National Parks. And most of the time we get the view all to ourselves!
 
- Emily Scott, Travel Blogger, twodustytravelers.com
 
 
 
 
#11 If possible, avoid driving at night or during busy periods
 
fullsizeoutput_13fBe prepared - depending on the trip, bring along what you need. Highway driving is quite different to a long off road trip. Bring adequate supplies, especially food and water. Fatigue is a big issue to manage. Having a good night's sleep before the drive will help, plus having a break every couple of hours does too. Also, if there are multiple people in the car, share the driving load. If possible, avoid driving at night or during periods of poor visibility. It's the time where animals are out, but you should be asleep. Make sure your car is serviced properly. You want to avoid the chance of a breakdown if possible.
 
- Anthony Bianco, Travel Writer & Blogger, thetraveltart.com
 
 
 
 
#12 Find a fun activity on the way to your destination
 
fullsizeoutput_142I'm a family travel writer and we love to plan road trips. One of the best tips we've found is to find a fun activity or attraction that's on the way to your destination so that you can stop part-way through your trip.  Whether it's just for a few hours or a full day, it's a great way to break up the trip, stretch your legs and have something for the kids to look forward to before the final destination. We have stopped at candy factories, state parks and children’s museums on the way to our vacation spot. 
 
- Lori LeRoy, Family Travel Writer, mapsmemoriesandmotherhood.com

 

 

#13 My number one tip: Podcasts

fullsizeoutput_12eAs someone who grew up in the U.S. midwest in the 1980s, road trips were a way of life. My family drove from Minnesota to Florida, Colorado, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and all around the Great Lakes states. As a teen and adult, I’ve carried on the great road trip tradition – covering at least 20 U.S. states, half the South Island of New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Iceland. Along the way, I’ve learned plenty about what makes a road trip happier and more fun for me. My number one tip: Podcasts. Yes, I’m a podcaster, so I’m admittedly partial. But I’ve found that even the non-podcasters I know these days queue up at least a dozen podcasts before each road trip. Podcasts provide a great entertainment during long stretches, great information on destinations you’re heading to (if you pick the right one), and great company no matter what. Check out one of my podcasts if you’re looking for a place to start! Tip number two: If you have kids, have them help you plan the trip. Look at maps with them, let them do some research on foods or attractions, and allow them to say, “let’s pull over and look at that!” once you’re on the road. Doing so will help them to take ownership and pride in the adventure – and make things more fun. Tip number three: Talk to the locals. At each stop, ask what store merchants and petrol station attendants like to do in the area. These kinds of tips have led us to a field of resting seal pups in New Zealand and outstanding BBQ in the Carolinas. And these tips are rarely in guidebooks. Above all: Enjoy the journey as much as the destination.  

- Kristen Meinzer, Writer, Author of "So You Want To Start A Podcast", kristenmeinzer.com

 
 
 
#14 Always bring or buy a cooler!
 
fullsizeoutput_146We get asked all the time for our road trip tips and without question they are: Always bring or buy a cooler, this saves so much time and money. Download podcasts! Sleep in the small cities to save money on hotels in larger markets - and enjoy more nature! Look for loyalty deals or programs that can combine airline points/discounts to offset the road trip costs. Never go below 1/3 tank of gas! 
 
 
- Jeff Johns, Co-founder, 'What Doesn't Suck?', whatdoesntsuck.com
 
 
 
 
#15 The key is spontaneity!

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 I think the key to a great road trip is spontaneity. Have a general plan, of course, but don't make an itinerary so rigid that you can't stop for an awesome, unexpected place! Some of my favorite experiences from road trips have been unplanned, spur-of-the-moment, stops along the way! See a random sign advertising an activity or spot that looks cool? Go check it out! These kinds of things also help break up a long drive.
 
- Chelsea Bancroft, Blogger, onechelofanadventure.com
 
 
 
 
#16 If in doubt, go solo
 
fullsizeoutput_14aMore often than not, road trips involve many hours driving in a small cubicle and spending most of the day with your travel companions. Hence, my number one tip for a memorable experience would be choosing who you are traveling with beforehand. Your mates can make it or break it and once you are on the road, it will be difficult to readjust the passengers. If in doubt, go solo. It's always better to be alone than in bad company. 
 
- Inma Gregorio, Travel Blogger, aworldtotravel.com
 
 
 
 
#17 Always check the road rules of the country you're about to drive in
 
fullsizeoutput_14dLast year I took a road trip from my home country of England, to Champagne Ardenne in France taking advantage of the EU pet passport and took my beloved dog with me. Before heading off I researched the trip and I was surprised how many different rules there were for driving between the two countries. For example if you want to drive in France you’ll need headlamp converters and a GB sticker but also high viz vests (for each person travelling in the car!), spare bulbs, warning triangles and even a breathalyser! If you’re not carrying these with you, you can face instant fines of up to €135, yikes! 
 
- Becky Moore, Travel Blogger, globalgrasshopper.com
 
 
 
 
#18 Research local driving laws 
 
fullsizeoutput_151Our best tip for a great road trip is to research local driving laws that may differ from your home country. While on the road in another country with a car rental, you are subject to all traffic laws, just like the locals! 
 
In Argentina, we were 'warned' by the car rental representative to always use daytime lights while driving at any time. Naturally, we forgot, and we got ticketed on the highway within our first hour. In the second hour, we stopped to take a photo, got back in the car and forgot to use the daytime lights. 
 
Within a half hour, we got ticketed a second time. This surely put a damper on things, as we tried to lighten the mood in other ways, but we suggest always looking up (and sticking to) local peculiar driving laws and regulations!
 
- Becca Siegel, Blogger, Co-owner halfhalftravel.com
 
 
 
 
#19 Have your car stocked full of snacks! 
 
fullsizeoutput_154The making of any great road trip starts with proper snack purchases. Have your car stocked full of every kind of easy-to-eat-with-one-hand goodie known to mankind, from beef jerky to chips or crackers, and of course a bag or twoof candy or mixed nuts. For me, it’s the perfect time to throw caution to the wind with my diet and feel like a 5-year-old with $50 in a gas station. 
 
- Lindsey Puls, Travel Blogger, have-clothes-will-travel.com
 
 
 
 
 
#20 Amazing road trips are a combination of conversation, reflection, silence, and music. 
 

fullsizeoutput_157Extended road trips are a lost art.  We can take the easy way out by flying but what makes a road trip is the potential bonding. There should be playlists to keep you energized during long stretches, reminiscent music to get your fellow passengers to sing along or share memories with, and perhaps a chill playlist during times of traffic or stress. Podcasts and audio books are also always good options.  Amazing road trips are a combination of conversation, reflection, silence, and music. 

- Tricia Wolanin, Author, unfoldyourbliss.com

 

 
 
 
 
 

Katherine Rowland

Digital Marketing Executive 

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