Road Trip Tips

In honor of my best friend and I leaving for a road trip today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite road trip tips!

In general:

  • Take advantage of every moment! Don’t waste time sleeping in or sitting at your hotel (or wherever you’re staying) when you could be experiencing the city you’re in and all it has to offer! The last time my friend and I took a road trip, we had nonstop activities planned for the four days we were there, and we absolutely loved it. We got to experience so much of the city (we were in Knoxville, Tennessee) and it was great knowing that none of our time had gone to waste.


  • Go with good friends. When you’re in the car for hours, you want to be with someone you can have great conversations with and jam out to your favorite music! You don’t want to be with people you don’t know well or don’t particularly get along with. Although a long road trip could be a good way to get to know someone, going with a good friend is the best option in my opinion.


  • Look for free activities. You’ll be shocked by how many free activities there are available. My friend and I are basically broke college students, so we thrive on free activities. Plus, spending the majority of your time on free things allows you to save money for something really cool. For example, we went ziplining while we were in Knoxville. It was expensive, but totally worth it–and we could actually afford it because we had spent the rest of our time exploring the city and saving our money.


  • Pack for every type of weather. Pack outfits that you can layer depending on the weather. It’s also a good idea to check the forecast for your destination a couple days beforehand so you’re more prepared.


In the car:

  • Bring CDs. I can’t stress this enough. When you’re driving through different states, your usual radio stations aren’t going to be available. At some points, you won’t be able to stream Pandora either. CDs will save you–and they usually contain some great throwback songs.


  • Switch drivers each time you stop for gas. This way, nobody will get completely exhausted from driving. The last time I went on a road trip, my friend drove for ten hours straight and actually started hallucinating … so switch drivers frequently, both for comfort and for safety.


  • Know how to use cruise control. This one’s pretty obvious, but cruise control is definitely a lifesaver when you’re driving several hours at a time.


  • Pack a variety of snacks. Sweet, salty, sour … you’re going to want all of them at some point during your trip. It’s also a good idea to buy bottled water, protein bars, and some energy drinks. Gum is also a good investment.


  • Stretch your legs when you stop for gas. You’ll probably be going inside to use the restroom anyway, but take advantage of the stop and walk around a bit. Your leg muscles will thank you.


  • Don’t let the gas fall under a quarter of a tank. Just to be safe, you’ll want to stop and get gas whenever you’re at this point. You never know how far away the next gas station will be, and it’s just nice to know that there’s no chance of running out of gas. 


  • Have a designated trash bag or trash can. Trash builds up when you drive for a long time, from empty water bottles to candy bar wrappers to tissues to other miscellaneous items. If you don’t want a mess in your (or your friend’s) car, designate an area for trash disposal. You can dump it out when you stop at a gas station.


  • Depending on where you’re going, drive through the night. This is a way to add an extra day to your vacation! You should arrive early in the morning, sleep until noon or so, and then have the entire day to enjoy your destination. Another reason I prefer to drive through the night is because there’s much less traffic to deal with, so your trip is shorter than it would be during the day.


Do you have any road trip tips? Let me know in the comments below!


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