While I love a nice quick flight to my destination of choice just as much as the next person, the good old classic American road trip is still an experience worth taking. My best tips for road trips will give you some practical, and hopefully useful advice for heading off into the great unknown of this vast country we live and exploring all it has to offer!
A big thanks to Dulles Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep for helping make this post possible by sponsoring the content.

Once you’ve dusted off your traveling shoes, quell that wanderlust by taking a road trip of epic proportions. Just don’t forget a few little things to make it an even more spectacular trip with no regrets.

The Six Best Tips for Road Trips – And Some Must Have’s for Your Trip!

tips for road trips what to pack

Must-Have Items on My List (read more on these picks below):

1. Have a Loose Plan

I understand that you may want a little spontaneity and simply go where the open road takes you, but trust me, after driving all day while taking in sight after sight you are going to want to know where you will be crashing your head. One trip with a screaming 2yr old long past her bedtime confirmed the fact that searching for hotels before the next exit comes up is not the best idea in the world.

Have an idea of where you want to be at the end of the day so you can keep track of when you need to stop sight-seeing and start hitting the road. 

On the other hand, don’t over plan. Delays are probably going to happen so if you plan to be at a certain location at a certain time, it is almost inevitable you will hit road construction and be delayed. 

2. Take Scenic Byways

Why are you on a road trip but for to see the sights and experience this amazing country? Get off the interstate and take some back roads. Use an actual road map (non-GPS variety) and try your hand at navigating. Do be sure to have a plan to get back to the main road should the need arise. It can sometimes be difficult to find things to do, or places to sleep after you’ve been winding around lonely country roads for a few hours. 

3. Consider a Satellite Radio Subscription

Most vehicles now come equipped with the ability to subscribe to a satellite radio service, which I will say we absolutely love having on road trips. It avoids the whole scanning scenario where you finally find a song you like and then it’s over after 10 seconds and you are scanning all over again. Just play what you like with satellite radio, find a weather station in a snap, or even listen to various news programs.

If your car doesn’t have a satellite radio you can get vehicle kits that will work in any vehicle or even a portable version with an MP3 player that will probably just plug right into your car anyway. 

4. Divide and Conquer

You know what you are good at and what you are not great at. I’m pretty good at reading a map, but I could not tell you which direction I’m facing to save my life (without a compass). Know who does what well and divvy up jobs to your traveling companions so everyone can take part in making your trip run smoothly. Someone great at meal planning? Have them plan out when and where meals will be, especially if you are bringing along a cooler full of your own ready made food. 

5. Have Your Documents

I cannot stress to you the importance of having your driver’s license and insurance information with you, especially if you are traveling across state lines. You could be in a world of hurt if you are pulled over for any reason and do not have the proper information with you – and ignorance of laws in other states is no excuse, so it may be a good idea to brush up on traffic laws. 

6. Don’t Leave Home Without It

Okay, so some of these things are really about preference, but there are definitely items on any traveler’s list that you want to be sure to have at your disposal. Here is what’s on my best tips for road trips list:

Travel Blankets – I’m often much colder in the vehicle than anyone else, so a nice thin blanket is just the trick. Plus it comes in handy should we find ourselves in a precarious sleeping arrangement at any point in time. 

A Great Camera – Who goes on a trip without taking pictures? Take pictures your friends will be jealous of by using an amazing camera. I have a Canon 80D DSRL, but you don’t even have to go that fancy – an inexpensive DSRL has an auto function that works well even for the most novice of photographers.

Some Good Walking Shoes – While I may want some cute shoes for a night out, shoes I can walk, run, and hike in are a must. If I’m exploring, I’m not wearing something fancy pancy – I need sturdy shoes!

A Good Cooler – We typically pack a cooler full of snacks and pre-made food to keep us adventuring longer without having to find a place to stop for food. Simply restock when you run low at the next gas station or grocery store you come to.

Water Bottles – A good Nalgene water bottle is your best friend. You do not want a bunch of empty plastic water bottles littering up your vehicle, plus that can get expensive on a long trip. Grab a good refillable water bottle and you may be surprised — water is free pretty much everywhere you go!

A Book or Two – While keeping your traveling companions occupied in conversation is great, especially the driver, there may be times when there isn’t much to say on a long road trip. Bring along a book that you’ve always wanted to read and use that down time to get lost in imagination before you get lost on those back roads. 


Do you have any best tips for road trips to add to this list? Let us know!