travel, travel tips, road trip, road trip tips, travel blog

12 Tips to Make Your Next Road Trip Unforgettable

With the end of winter hopefully around the corner, it’s time to start making plans for grand adventures this year! One great way to get out and experience the world is to simply get behind the wheel of your vehicle and drive – whether you’ve planned out where you’re going or just letting the road guide you. These are my top 12 tips for making your next road trip the best experience ever!

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Often when we discuss the topic of travelling, our minds immediately jump to exotic locations, all-inclusive resorts, cruises and air travel. However, some of my greatest travel experiences were so much simpler. My husband and I love to hop in the jeep (with the dogs of course) and explore our corner of the world. In fact, I’ve road tripped out to the west coast, down into the United States, and all over Ontario.

This past weekend we took a day trip road trip up to the Toronto area and back home. The original purpose of the trip was for school-related stuff for me, but that wasn’t going to stop us from making the trip far more fun. We took the pups with us, scouted out breweries and ‘must see’ stops as well as parks for the pups along the way, created our road trip playlist and we were on our way.

While I don’t believe that you necessarily have to plan exactly where you’re going or time your trip out for a successful road trip, in fact, I would encourage you to set a loose plan at most and let the road guide your way, I do think that there are steps you can take to make sure that this is going to be a memory you’ll never forget. Before you pack up the jeep, check out these 12 tips to make your next road trip unforgettable:

#1 – Don’t Over-Plan

If you over-plan and organize your trip, you’re going to spend more time worrying about hitting deadlines and sticking with the schedule then you are enjoying the experience. There’s also the chance that you’ll hype yourself up over something that leaves you horribly disappointed or that you’ll miss out on checking out a stop that you would LOVE simply because it’s not on your list. Instead, leave your options open. The best part about road tripping is the feeling that your sense of time is thrown out the window as you just enjoy the here and now.

#2 – Make A Road Trip Playlist

I don’t know about you, but I firmly believe that music can make or break the atmosphere on a road trip! Sit down and put together a playlist that will set the mood you’re looking for. Heading out with the girls? Let’s pull together all those fun, upbeat women’s anthems! Taking a relaxing road trip with your spouse? Maybe you’d prefer some laid-back country tunes. Find what works for you, but make sure you make it long enough! It’s going to take more than just a handful of songs… Not sure where to start? Check out the playlists available on Spotify

#3 – Apply For A Gas Card

A lot of companies have loyalty or reward points programs now, including many of the more popular gas stations. You’re going to be spending a pretty penny on gas anyway, so why get rewarded for it? The key, however, is to not only apply for the card but also to remember to pull it out each time you fill up!

#4 – Pack A Good USB Charger

In today’s modern society, let’s be honest, your electronics are going to have a roll in your trip. From relying on navigation apps like Waze to keep you on the right track to documenting all of your adventures on Instagram. Rather than fighting with limited space, expand the number of devices that you can charge with a USB multi-port car charger.

#5 – Carry Cash for Toll Stops

Depending on where you are travelling, you may find yourself hitting toll booths along the way. Before heading out, gather up your change so that you aren’t fumbling. Personally, I like to take a bunch of change and keep it in the center console in a Ziplock bag so that’s its always on hand and easy to grab what I need. Don’t let something as simple as a toll charge add stress to your trip!

#6 – Tuck A Spare Key In Your Pocket

Okay, this one may sound like I’m going a little over the top BUT you don’t want to know how many people have found themselves in this situation! Make sure that you always have an extra key for your vehicle on your person to avoid the likelihood of finding yourself locked out. While you likely can’t eliminate all little hiccups from your trip, being prepared will at least ensure they are just a momentary set back that you can laugh at and not a source of high stress.

#7 – Limit Social Media Time

I won’t say shut out the world of social media altogether, I know how much fun it can be sharing those fun little photos and videos on your Instagram stories. However, if you allow yourself to spend the entire trip glued to your screen, you’re going to miss out on all the fun along the way. Set a limitation on how often you’ll allow yourself to be on social media and hold yourself to it.

#8 – Ask A Local For Recommendations

One of my favourite parts of road tripping is the ability to step off the beaten path and explore the ‘real’ world rather than just the areas that are designed to attract tourists. One of the best ways to do this is to ask the locals for recommendations. Getting gas before heading out in the morning? Ask someone at the gas station for the best local café for your morning coffee. The same can be said for lunch and dinner spots. Some of the best food I’ve enjoyed has been in a ‘local dive’ that I would have totally overlooked.

#9 – Pack Snacks

Depending on how long your trip is, you may want to avoid having to stop at every gas station and fast-food restaurant along the way. This is especially true if you’re hoping to stick to a healthier eating plan while on the road. There are many great snacks that are totally portable, so create yourself a ‘to go’ back of crackers, fruit, granola bars, trail mix, etc. Worried your snacks may go bad along the way? There are a number of great coolers that can keep your snacks cold without having to fight with ice along the way, plugging into your car to maintain their temperatures. Many of these also double with the ability to warm your food up. It’s a win/win!

#10 – Remove ‘No’ From Your Vocabulary

I’m obviously not talking about issues of personal safety, don’t go hopping in with the first sleazy person that offers you a ride at the local hole in the wall diner. However, when it comes to trying new things, stopping to check out things that catch your eye and generally experiencing life, don’t hold yourself back! I can remember on one road trip with a friend we were intrigued by a sign announcing a ‘Dinosaur Park and Chocolate Garden’ and ended up discovering some of the most delicious truffles I’ve ever tasted!

#11 – Take the Back Roads

Unless you’re on a tight timeline, try avoiding the highways. Sure, they are often the fastest way to get from point A to point B, but are you looking for the fastest? Travelling the back roads will give you the opportunity to see more, experience more and leave the hustle and bustle of life behind you. Remember, it’s all about escaping time and enjoying the moment!

#12 – Document the Raw Truth

Don’t just take those ‘Instagram worthy’ shots where everything looks perfect, instead, document the memorable moments regardless of how ‘pretty’ they may look. This can be done through photo and video on your phone or by keeping a travel journal along the way. One day you’re going to look back on this trip, and these ‘less pretty’ moments are the ones you are going to want to remember.

travel, travel tips, road trip, road trip tips, travel blog

Do you have any road trip tricks and tips that you swear by? What was your most memorable road trip? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

34 thoughts on “12 Tips to Make Your Next Road Trip Unforgettable”

  1. Such great tips! We often embark on family road trips around the UK. There’s always disagreement when it comes to music, so we have a whole load of playlists! We also love sampling local cuisine. This year I’ve invested in a huge hamper to store all our snacks (I was tired of the kids complaining they had no snacks). I love this post. xxx

  2. Lots of great trips here. My best road trip was last summer along the US West coast. I did implement most of these but we did get caught out by the occasional toll sadly, the spare key is a good idea too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Some helpful tips here. I plan on doing a road trip soon around Canada so I will definitely bookmark this for future reference


  4. These are great tips! I haven’t done a true road trip. This past summer, I went to South Carolina which was like a 10-hour drive. I definitely want to do some more road trips this summer and these tips will definitely be something I come back to when I’m planning!

    ? Alexx | Aesthetics by Alexx

  5. This is a great post, full of things that everybody needs to know beforehand. Lol

    It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve been on a road trip or gone anywhere that wasn’t more than 30 minutes to an hour to get there! I actually miss it. My butt and legs don’t, but I always looking out the windows and seeing the nature nearby, plus the good music we’d usually have playing in the car!

    1. My butt and legs aren’t a fan of being cooped up in one spot in a vehicle either hahaha – I make my husband stop probably twice as often as he would if he were travelling alone just so I can get out of the vehicle for a few moments.

  6. These are some great tips. I love road trips and use most of the ideas here already, except.keeping change! I’m terrible at that and often get stuck at a toll booth or a car park without it. I’ll have to use your Ziploc bag idea.

    1. It’s so much more fun doing it that way! Sure, the destination is the end game, but why not enjoy the journey too?

  7. I agree with basically all of these and definitely swear by a loose plan. This is what I did when I recently went to the coast, I had an idea of somewhere we might possibly go, but on the way there we threw the idea out of the window and it’s the best choice we made. It meant we had the time to just enjoy everything else a little longer without stress or added pressure.

    This post is making me crave a road trip so bad now! Rain or shine, I don’t care – I just need to get on the road now and explore the world!

    1. I was getting the same itch while writing it hahaha – Told my husband halfway through that we needed to plan a road trip soon!

  8. Great post! I slipped up once on number 5, my husband and I almost had to turn back off the toll. Luckily a great guy who saw what happened decided to help us out. 🙂

    1. Glad to hear someone stepped up for you! We had a similar situation but managed to count enough change just barely hahaha So I learned that lesson the hard way

  9. Thanks for the great travel tips. I especially liked the ones about not saying no and telling the whole story, not just the attractive parts. Very useful list!

    1. Thank you – There is something to be said about just enjoying life, regardless of what may come your way lol

  10. These are such great tips! I went on a week long road trip up the California coast last year and now that I think about it, a gas card would have been a damn good idea! Aside from that we pretty much followed everything on the list and went with the flow and to be honest it was such a great road trip. Never quite knowing what we were about to get into but knowing it would be fun 🙂


    1. It’s amazing how much more enjoyable road trips are when we let go of the schedules and expectations to a degree, isn’t it? It takes so much stress out of it all!

  11. Thank you for such nice tips. I have a plan to go to Africa next summer so your tips are useful for me. Love seeing these tips.

    1. Where in Africa are you looking at going? We’ve been to Tanzania and it was one of the most memorable trips I’ve taken!

  12. Chris Kosto |

    I found out about #6 the hard way, so I always carry an extra key now.

    I definitely need an USB charger though, great tips!

    1. That one made the list because I learned it the hard way too haha – Hopefully this will help others avoid the same frustrations lol

    1. For sure! A playlist can make or break the mood, especially if you find yourself in a frustrating situation (like endless construction) lol

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