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Hitting the road is the easy part. On the other hand, planning can be easy if you follow these 7 steps. Happy planning!
Step 1: Let’s Answer Some Basic Questions:
First things first, you’ll need to ask yourself the below questions to plan the perfect road trip.
When am I planning to go?
The period of your trip will help you determine the destinations, activities to do, and your planning. Is your trip happening in the summer? Or in the Winter?
What’s my budget?
Here again, what are you thinking in terms of budget? Defining a budget will help you narrow down accommodation and trip mileage.
How long am I/my partner willing to drive in total? Per day?
You need to remember that you’re on vacation, so you don’t want to lose all your energy on driving. You or the designated driver(s) need to answer this question.
Am I or the designated driver willing to drive during the night?
This is important for planning as well. If you’re comfortable driving at night, you might want to leave the night before to travel farther.
What’s the length of my trip?
Is this a 3 days trip? Or a week’s trip? Is my answer in line with the previous ones?
Who Am I traveling with? Am I traveling with friends, my family, or just my partner?
If you’re not traveling alone, you need to be mindful of others and make sure everyone is comfortable. If you’re traveling with your family, you might want to account for additional stops or shorter drives.
Step 2: Pick a destination
Based on your bucket list, Instagram, Pinterest, or travel blogs, you should have an idea of your destination. However, you need to be sure it’s in line with the answers you have for the questions of the first step. For example, if your destination requires a 10h drive back and forth, are you willing to drive that long? Are the people accompanying you ok to be in a car that long? Will you be able to make the number of pit-stops needed to reach your destination? Will it leave you with enough time to explore your destination?
Step 3: Map your route and plan an itinerary
My go-to tool for mapping a route is Google Maps. I start by adding the starting point and the end destination. I will plan stops along the way because I prefer not to drive more than 4 hours in one shot. Depending on the length of the trip, I might plan an overnight stay at one of the stops. You might want to check the Road Trip I planned from Montreal to Toronto for ideas.
Step 4: Book Your stay
Now that you have your itinerary ready, you’ll need to book your stay (if you’re not traveling in a trailer or RV). I usually use Airbnb or booking.com to book my stay, depending on how many we are. In my case, if it’s just my husband and myself, we’ll book a hotel. If it’s not just the 2 of us, Airbnb makes it more fun.
Step 5: Get your car ready or rent one
If you’re renting a car, make sure to rent it in advance, you don’t want to end up paying a hefty fee. If you’re taking yours and have a long drive, I recommend having it checked by a mechanic just to be safe. Also, make sure to have your CAA or AAA (if you’re in the States) membership just in case.
Step 6: Plan Car entertainment
That’s the fun part! Well, at least you want to make the drive fun. Pick a game such as the I spy game to play with your friends/family. Download a podcast or an ebook. Create a playlist on Spotify. You name it.
Step 7: Packing
If you’re at this step, it means your road trip is about to begin yay! (unless you’re like me and tend to pack ahead of time, LOL). Here are the must-have items to pack to enjoy a stress-free road trip (aside from your clothes and activity-specific items):
- Snacks (arguably on the top of the list)
- Water (a reusable water bottle is better for the environment and saves on space)
- First aid kit
- Car phone charger
- Toilet paper (you never know if the gas station you’ll stop at has any)
Happy Road Tripping!
Let me know if you usually do any additional steps in the comments sections.