10 Things to Do Before Going on a Road Trip

Planning a road trip can be an exciting adventure. Whether you're exploring new places or revisiting old favorites, the open road offers endless possibilities. But before you hit the highway, there are a few things you should do to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.


5/5/20243 min read

yellow Volkswagen van on road
yellow Volkswagen van on road

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1. Plan Your Route

The first step in any successful road trip is planning your route. Start broad by adding places you know you want to visit and then go in and add the small details. Take some time to research the best roads to take, the attractions and landmarks along the way, and any potential detours or alternate routes. Mapping out your journey will not only help you stay on track but also allow you to make the most of your time on the road. You can use mapping tools like Roadtrippers or Roadie or to help with this.

2. Check Your Vehicle

Before embarking on a road trip, it's crucial to ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. Schedule a maintenance check-up with a trusted mechanic to inspect the tires, brakes, fluids, and other essential components. Taking care of any necessary repairs or maintenance ahead of time will help prevent any unexpected breakdowns or delays during your trip.

3. Pack Smart

When it comes to packing for a road trip, less is often more. Be mindful of the limited space in your vehicle and pack only the essentials. Consider the weather, the duration of your trip, and the activities you'll be participating in. Don't forget to bring a first aid kit, snacks, and plenty of water for the journey.

4. Research Accommodations

If you're planning to stay overnight during your road trip, it's essential to research and book accommodations in advance. Look for hotels, motels, or campgrounds along your route and make reservations accordingly. This will help you avoid any last-minute scrambling for a place to stay and ensure a comfortable night's rest.

5. Create a Playlist

No road trip is complete without a killer playlist. Take some time to curate a collection of your favorite tunes that will keep you entertained and energized throughout the journey. Include a mix of old favorites and new discoveries to keep things interesting. My current favorite artists if you're looking for new discoveries are Taylor Swift (not sorry), The 502s, and Noah Kahan.

6. Download Offline Maps

While GPS and navigation apps are incredibly helpful, they can sometimes fail in areas with poor signal or limited data. To avoid getting lost, download offline maps of the areas you'll be traveling through. This way, you'll have a backup plan in case your internet connection drops.

7. Check Travel Restrictions and Requirements

Before hitting the road, it's crucial to stay informed about any travel restrictions or requirements that may be in place. For the US, be sure to check the latest updates on national park permits and guidelines, and any other regulations that may impact your journey. Being prepared will help you avoid any unnecessary surprises or complications.

8. Pack Entertainment

Long stretches of driving can sometimes get monotonous, so it's a good idea to pack some entertainment options. Bring along books, podcasts, or audiobooks to keep you engaged during the journey. If you're traveling with others, consider bringing some classic car games to play along the way.

9. Prepare for Emergencies

Even with careful planning, emergencies can happen on the road. Make sure you're prepared by packing an emergency kit that includes a spare tire, jumper cables, a flashlight, and basic tools. Someone also once recommended getting a tire compressor so that might be something to look into as well. It's also a good idea to have a roadside assistance plan (think AAA) or contact information for towing services in case you need them.

10. Enjoy the Journey

Finally, remember to enjoy the journey itself. Road trips are not just about reaching your destination; they're about the experiences and memories you create along the way. Take the time to appreciate the beautiful scenery, try local cuisine, and embrace the freedom of the open road. Cherish the moments and make the most of your road trip adventure.

By following these 10 steps, you'll be well-prepared for an unforgettable road trip in 2025. So, start planning, pack your bags, and get ready to hit the road!