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February 27, 2024

4 Practical Tips for Planning an Epic Summer Road Trip

A person in the passenger seat of a vehicle pointing at an open road map, presumably navigating a summer road trip

What could be better than a summer road trip? The wind in your hair as you travel down the open open road, and enjoying the freedom and flexibility of exploring new places.

The warm months are ideal for taking off on an adventure and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you go solo or take a crew, careful planning with room for spontaneity will ensure you have an epic (yet safe and affordable) summer road trip.

Here are 4 tips for planning a summer road trip 

1. Chart your course

The first step of planning any trip is deciding where you want to end up. Once you know where you’re going, you can plot the route you want to take and what to do along the way.

Consider your interests

Are you a nature enthusiast, a history buff or more of an adventure seeker? How about the people you’re travelling with? The perfect road trip looks different, depending on your interests so when choosing your destination and stops, pay attention to preferences and tailor your activities to match. For example, if you’re dreaming of a peaceful nature trail, then perhaps skip the travelling carnival. If you’re hoping for an adrenaline rush, look into things like white water rafting or rock climbing. 

Discover hidden gems

Road trips are way more fun when you can go off the well-worn path and do something unique to an area. Ahead of your trip, do some research to try and discover what locals and seasoned travellers recommend as unique, lesser-known sights and experiences. This approach allows you to avoid overcrowded tourist hotspots while still making the most of your time in the area. 

Plot key stops

As you plan your trip, identify scenic pit stops and must-see attractions so they’re built into your journey. Knowing which landmarks, museums, national parks, local markets and hidden gems you want to see ahead of time will help you develop daily itinerary as you map your route. A road trip planner may be a helpful way to develop your ideal trip! 

Leave room for spontaneity

It can be tempting to plan every second of every day, but a road trip is no fun if you’re feeling rushed all the time and constantly stressed out trying to stay on schedule. Allow space for spur-of-the-moment detours and unexpected delays. Often the most memorable moments are the ones you did not expect to happen so allow yourself to be a bit spontaneous every now and then.

2. Set a budget

Road trips can be a cost-effective way to travel if you can plan ahead and budget both your money and time. You’ll want to make sure your funds will cover the length of your road trip and that you have enough time to accomplish everything you set out to. 

Consider transportation and fuel

Historically, fuel prices rise during the summer travel season and prices tend to be higher in cities. In addition to budgeting for the cost of fuel, also incorporate costs like road tolls, ferries, parking and any other forms of transportation you’ll require.  

Pre-book accommodation

Depending on how you travel, accommodations can be one of the largest costs. For example, if you plan on camping, then booking campsites ahead of time is a good way to save money (and ensure there’s space). Pre-booking in hostels or other budget-friendly lodging is also a good way to cut costs. Of course if you’re able to couch surf then that makes things even cheaper, but friends and family tend to appreciate a heads up so it’s still a good idea to call ahead. 

3. Practice safety first

Hitting the road is exciting, but planning ahead is essential. In order for your trip to be at maximum-level enjoyment, safety should be a top priority

Have your vehicle inspected

Before setting off, take your vehicle in for a servicing or tune up. You’ll want to check things like brakes, tires, fluids and lights. Also take a few minutes to confirm you have the necessary tools for any type of vehicle emergency, such as a flat tire. 

Pack an emergency kit

Clothes, books, games and snacks are not the only things to pack for a summer road trip! Pack an emergency kit that includes first-aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, a portable charger, jumper cables, blankets, bottled water and contact information for roadside assistance. You never know when or where there will be an emergency, so prepare ahead of time. 

4. Create memories

It’s impossible to prepare for every scenario you may face while on your trip, but we hope you’ll be able to create memories filled with laughter, fun, and experiences you’ll love looking back on. 

Capture the moment

Invest in a good camera or use your smartphone to visually document some of what you see. That said, also take time to put down the camera and immerse yourself in the present moment. It’s all about balance.

Document your trip 

Think about how you want to remember your trip. Whether you prefer writing, scrapbooking, filming or something else, have some way of recording the events. Try and set aside time each day to reflect and keep a log of everything you’ve done. 

Planning a summer road trip can be exciting and it feels rewarding when everything comes together. To make the most of your vacation, a little bit of planning can go a long way!

Robyn Roste

Robyn Roste is a professional writer with blogging, marketing and tourism experience. She also has a bachelor of journalism and diplomas in media and communications and biblical studies.

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