16 Road Trip Tips To Make Your Journey a Breeze!

With international travel grounded to many regions worldwide and domestic plane travel simply too hectic for many people, travelers opt for road trips during the holiday season and beyond for a less stressful way to travel.

They say life is about the journey, not the destination, which is true with road-tripping. But a poorly planned road trip filled with boredom and preventable hiccups can easily ruin your road trip holiday.

So if you plan on hitting the road. Here are some tips to make your road trip a breeze:

  1. Give Your Car A Tune-Up
  2. Know Your Limits
  3. Listen To Audiobooks
  4. Document Your Journey
  5. Connect With Your Travel Companions
  6. Get Comfortable
  7. Choose Your Drive Time And Routes Carefully
  8. Don’t Miss Out On Fun Roadside Attractions
  9. Clean Out The Car At Every Stop
  10. Let The Kids Have A Say
  11. Decide How You’re Going To Get Food
  12. Be Aware Of Other Drivers On The Roads
  13. Don’t Let Strangers Know You Are Traveling Solo
  14. Bring A Phone Charger And A Power Bank
  15. Bring A Map And A GPS Device
  16. Never Forget Your Driving Essentials
Road Trip Tips

16 Road Trip Tips: How To Survive & Have Fun (Explained)

If you’re going on a road trip it’s important to be well-prepared. Here are a few travel tips to perfectly plan and survive a long road trip:

1. Give Your Car A Tune-Up

Before hitting the road, it’s important to ensure your car works properly. Consider visiting your local mechanic or checking the following items yourself.

Motor oil: Depending on the miles you’ll be driving, getting an oil change before you leave may be a good idea. At a minimum, read your dipstick to determine the current oil level. If the oil is below the add line, consider adding the oil recommended for your car.

Tires: Driving a car is one of the most dangerous things you do regularly. Tires play a key role in keeping you safe. Before going on a long road trip, check your tire pressure and inspect your tires for cracks, bulges, or objects stuck in them. In addition, make sure you have adequate tire tread.

Tire tread is important for pushing water out from underneath you so that you can maintain control of your car. Poor tire tread can lead to hydroplaning.

Windshield wipers: Windshield wipers are often neglected regarding routine maintenance. Yet, like tires, they’re essential to keeping you safe. Windshield wipers take a beating from the elements.

The last thing you need is to be caught in a torrential downpour with poorly working wipers. Consider replacing them every six months.

Brakes: If your feet experience unusual pulsating when you press the brake pedal or hear squealing or squeaking, it may be time to change them. Brakes may last 20,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on your drive and other conditions.

2. Know Your Limits

If your kids haven’t made the two-hour trip to Grandma’s house without screaming, this may not be the best summer for that cross-country trip to some big destinations.

Start small and build up over time. Figure out what time of day is best for driving–early morning, overnight, or afternoon?

By knowing your limits–how many hours you can drive each day without a total meltdown–, you can plan a more enjoyable road trip!

3. Listen to Audiobooks

If you like the idea of books but find reading too much effort, you may want to give audiobooks a go on your next road trip. Listening to a great book is a great way to pass the time during a long drive, especially if you go solo.

You want to stick with a genre you enjoy, whether it’s an autobiography, mystery, or sci-fi. More importantly, it may be the narrator since an annoying voice or someone you can’t understand clearly can turn even a good book into an unpleasant listening experience.

While some audiobooks use a single narrator, others feature a larger cast of characters that play out more like a theatre with added sound effects to set the scene. Some of the best audiobooks feature the voice of notable celebrities, some of which may be reading your memoir.

Choose an appropriate length of audiobook that will allow you to finish or at least get you hooked during your road trip so you’ll be enticed to finish it later.

Be sure to listen to excerpts to get a feel for the book before you commit, and maybe use the opportunity to choose a classic title that you’ve always wanted to read but maybe found a bit too difficult to tackle in written form.

4. Document Your Journey

We’re often so busy or tired while traveling to remember to document our experiences. Passengers on road trips can use the drive time to reflect on the previous day’s experiences by writing a travel journal or organizing, editing, and labeling digital photos taken.

You can also use easy-to-use video makers to combine your various MP4 clips into a single-quality video. It’s often much easier to put together great videos when all the clips you shot are still fresh in your mind and can be located easily.

When writing a travel journal, be sure to include not only the things you saw and did but attempt to describe your experiences. Jot down details like smells, sounds, and emotions you felt to create a vivid picture that will allow you and others to recall the trip with greater clarity later.

You may also want to consider starting a travel blog, using your drive time (if you’re a passenger) to write up post drafts. You could also work on writing a travel book or guide.

Please write down the names of places you pass through, along with various landmarks, so that you may research them later to add a bit of history and interesting facts for your readers.

And while documenting your travels on a road trip while in the car is more easily done by passengers, you can still make it work while in the driver’s seat by utilizing a voice recorder to record your travel experiences and then later transcribe them into a written diary or digital record of your experiences.

5. Connect with your Travel Companions

We often live such hectic daily lives that we can easily overlook having important discussions with our family and friends.

Being stuck in a small vehicle with others during a long drive can be used to tackle important issues that haven’t yet been dealt with or to inquire if anything is bothering anyone in your family.

You can talk with your kids about goals they have for themselves, work through past problems, or give them advice. Driving in a car for hours at a time allows you the opportunity to remove other distractions that may usually be present so you can hopefully have more meaningful conversations.

And remember that connecting with your family or friends doesn’t always have to be a serious affair. You can have fun with word games or start a friendly and respectful debate about something to get each other thinking about certain topics and to gain insight into how each other views the world and various issues.

If you are taking a solo road trip, maybe use this time to connect with yourself. Returning to podcasts, many focus on things like self-help and dealing with various personal issues.

Some podcasts focus on spirituality, health, wellness, navigating relationships, coping with pregnancy, and other issues you may be dealing with. Learn tips on managing issues like overcoming phobias, reducing stress and anxiety, or becoming a better version of yourself.

6. Get Comfortable

Comfort is key to enjoying a road trip. Being confined to a car for long periods isn’t the best comfort for many, but there are many ways to improve things.

It starts with choosing loose-fitting clothing that won’t restrict your movements during drive days. You want to wear clothes you can relax in but, at the same time, something you won’t be afraid to wear in public when making road trip stops.

Easy slip-on, slip-off shoes are great if you want to give your feet some air as a passenger. Pack some pillows and blankets to get some rest. Sadly the driver is more restricted regarding comfort, but you can do regular driver swaps when road-tripping with others.

If you have back troubles, getting some memory foam seat cushions may be a good idea. You should also pack a bag or tub full of essential items you may need regular access to while driving, such as tissues, water, chargers for your electronics, etc.

Wearing sunscreen is another good idea, as speaking from experience, you can get sunburned in the car, even through the windows.

You may also notice that your skin tends to dry out on long road trips thanks to blowing ac/heating air vents or air rushing through open windows. Pack some moisturizer for your face and hands and some lip balm.

7. Choose Your Drive Time and Routes Carefully

Another important tip for enjoying a more relaxing road trip is carefully planning your route and drive times. You want to avoid driving in peak traffic times, avoid construction, and keep clear of unsealed roads if you are in a low-lying non-4WD vehicle.

Some people have difficulty driving at night, whether due to vision troubles or becoming sleepy and nodding off. So, if this is the case for you, plan your driving time to avoid driving at night.

You should also avoid driving early morning and late evening in instances where the rising or setting sun will be shining directly in your eyes, which can be dangerous and cause headaches from trying to stay focused and squinting for long periods.

Monitor the local weather to avoid driving in heavy rain or storms. Have a plan B if weather or other circumstances force you to stay put instead of moving on to your next road trip destination.

8. Don’t Miss Out On Fun Roadside Attractions

Road trips are all about being spontaneous and having adventures. And if your road trip takes you on highways and byways, you’ll find many quirky roadside attractions. A lot of these are inexpensive and sometimes even completely free.

Stop by any roadside treasures you find to ensure your journey is packed with various fun and exciting experiences for the whole family.

travel tips for road trip

9. Clean Out The Car At Every Stop

After a few days on the road with your family, you’ll notice how quickly unwanted rubbish can accumulate inside your car.

Road trips mean a lot of time inside the car, so removing any trash you may have collected at each stop is important. This will help you drive with a clear mind and make your family trip all the more enjoyable.

10. Let The Kids Have A Say

Giving kids a chance to have a little bit of control can help keep crankiness at bay. Let them pick their snack, which radio station they’ll listen to, or where they’ll eat.

When kids can make some of their own choices, they’re less likely to engage you in a power struggle.

11. Decide How You’re Going To Get Food

Your food and water supplies will have to be restocked eventually, and you don’t want to spend all your time on the road eating only granola bars and other snacks.

If you plan to camp and cook your food, ensure you have the necessary equipment and enough food to cover at least two meals daily, preferably three.

If you’re bringing perishable food, ensure you have a cooler to keep the food in.

12. Be Aware Of Other Drivers On The Roads

Always keep your distance. If a large truck doesn’t see you and starts to switch lanes, you’re the one who’s going to come off worse.

If you see a car swerving or moving erratically, slow down and give yourself plenty of distance.

13. Don’t Let Strangers Know You Are Traveling Solo

If you go out to a bar or a public place and meet people, sure, have a great time. But don’t let on that you’re traveling alone.

As harmless as someone might seem, you’re highlighting yourself as an easy target. Plus, if people know you have a car, they can easily ask you to drop them off along your route.

14. Bring a Phone charger and a Power Bank

When going on a road trip, it is a smart idea to bring along a phone charger as well as a power bank so that you will always have a method to charge your electronic devices in the event of an unexpected situation or if you need to use your phone for navigation or other reasons while you are traveling.

Ensuring the power bank is completely charged before you leave the house is also a good idea. This will ensure that you have an alternative source of power if the battery on your phone goes low.

15. Bring a Map and a GPS device

If you are going on a road trip, it is smart to bring a paper map and a GPS device or download offline maps before you go. This will ensure that you always have a reliable means to navigate and find your route, even if you lose phone service or the physical map breaks.

If your technological devices malfunction, you should have a physical map as backup. Regarding navigation, a GPS device can provide turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates.

However, it is important to note that GPS devices might lose their signal in remote places or under particular weather circumstances. Because of this, it is recommended that you have a hardcopy map as a backup in case your GPS device fails.

16. Never Forget your Driving Essentials

You’re going on a road trip because you have a car that lets you smoothly drive from place to place. That means, whether you drive your car or have a rental, you must have these car essentials:

  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance Information
  • Car Registration
  • Extra Car Key
  • Car Manual
  • Spare Tire with tools and a tire jack to replace a flat
  • Water Resistant Flashlight (if car troubles at night or in the rain?)

Of course, dealing with a car breakdown is undoubtedly the last thing you want on your road trip. However, to make your adventure incident-free, you need to be prepared. In short, only leave your home with an emergency kit. 

More Travel Tips:

Tips For First-Time TravelersTravel Tips For Introverts
Simple Self-Care Tips While Traveling

Final Thoughts

Road trips are exciting adventures that can help you explore different cultures, cities, and landscapes. But they also require careful planning, resourcefulness, and resilience in the face of unexpected setbacks.

If you’re looking to embark on a road trip with friends or family, it’s essential to do your research and ensure you are prepared for anything that comes your way. With the tips mentioned above, you will enjoy the trip with your friends or family.

That’s all for today’s travel tips guide. Thanks for reading.


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The Editorial Team

Optimos Travel is a travel blog to help you travel the world, and explore different lifestyles, traditions, foods, and everything in between.