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How to Plan a Road Trip // Tips and Tricks to Have the Best Road Trip Yet

Road and pine trees at Sandia Crest Albuquerque New Mexico
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Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will recieve a small commision at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!


Road trips are one of the best ways to travel, in my opinion. Even though there might be long stretches of road with nothing to do for several hours, you get to see so much more than you ever would have been able to by flying, and you are sure to stumble upon something that you could never have imagined.
Driving across the country may seem much more daunting than simply jumping on a plane, but I guarantee you that it isn’t. You’ll thank yourself endlessly for choosing to drive instead of fly. Not only that, but it is so much cheaper!
If you’re still a little unsure, though, take a look at these tips on how to plan a road trip. Then get busy fueling your wanderlust!

Choose Your End Point

You could definitely set out on the road with absolutely no destination in mind and a simple longing for adventure. But without the last stop in mind, you might not know where to start! Take into account how long you have for your road trip and what sorts of things you’d like to see and then pick a point on the map to be your final destination.
Road leading towards a mountain at Mojave Desert National Preserve
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Plot Out Your Route

With Google Maps and a million other GPS tools, it is easy to leave your route planning up to the satellite gods. When you’re stuck without reception, though, you may come to regret that, and it’s also important to note that the most interesting route may not be the fastest. Before setting off, take a look at the different ways that you can get to your destination, and weigh the pros and cons of each one before deciding which way to go.
In addition to planning out your route ahead of time, you’re going to want to have at least some idea of where you’ll stop for the night each time. You don’t have to go as far as making hotel reservations, as you may end up being too tired to keep going or want to keep on driving for another hour, but it’s definitely good to have at least a faint idea of where you’ll end up at the end of every day.
Addie overlooking the Grand Canyon Mather Point Addie
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If we had simply followed Google Maps to our endpoint on our recent road trip, we never would have made a detour to the Grand Canyon. And that just would have been tragic.

Research, Research, Research

If you don’t see at least one world’s largest item on your drive, did you really take a road trip? Everyone knows that a good road trip is filled with tons of fun stops and kitschy attractions, and while sometimes the best way to find out about those is from signs on the side of the road, there are other gems that are well documented and you really don’t want to miss. Whether you use a travel guidebook such as Road Trip USA or your favorite internet sources, make sure to do some research on the best stops along your route.
500 Different Soda Flavors POPS Arcadia
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500 different soda flavor options is definitely a road trip worthy stop!

Narrow Down

During your time researching, you’re going to come across ten times as many things to do as you’re possibly going to have time for. Take a look at your list and pick out the things that you’re most interested in doing and put them on a shorter list of must-dos. Don’t throw out your complete list of items just yet, though, as you may well come across an extra bubble of time and need something to fill it with.
Petrified Forest National Park
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Petrified Forest National Park wasn’t ever at the top of our list, but it surprised us by how cool it was!

Throw Your Plan Out the Window

No matter how much planning you do you’re going to come across at least one thing that throws your plan completely off course. There’s no need to freak out, though. Spontaneity is what road trips are all about, and as long as you remember this you’ll be just fine. Embrace every little bump in the road, and feel free to veer right when you were planning to go left if something amazing presents itself to you. Enjoy your journey!
Road and pine trees at Sandia Crest Albuquerque New Mexico
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What are you waiting for? It’s time to get on the road!
Road and pine trees at Sandia Crest Albuquerque New Mexico
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MY FAVORITE TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

Booking Flights: The first place I turn when I’m searching for flights is actually just Google Flights - it’s great to figure out what sort of routes are available. Then, I check Skyscanner and Kiwi for deals. I also love Kiwi for its destination: anywhere feature!

Transportation: I love Omio for figuring out the cheapest way to get from one place to another, and Trainline for booking train tickets within Europe.

Accommodations: I absolutely love Booking.com for finding great hotel deals. After you stay a certain number of nights, you get Genius discounts! For hostels, Hostelworld is my go-to, and I use Airbnb occasionally as well (click here for $40 off your first booking!)

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Travel Insurance: I knew that I shouldn’t travel without insurance for the longest time, but I really learned my lesson when I got an infected cut in Bali. Thank goodness I had travel insurance! I use and love World Nomads for their extremely comprehensive coverage.

Tours: I always check Urban Adventures for great day tours of cities first–I’m obsessed with them! GetYourGuide and Viator are also great options. For multi-day tours, I highly recommend Intrepid.

Camera Gear: I use a Sony Alpha A6300 camera with an 18-105 mm lens and a 35 mm lens. My tripod is the MeFoto Backpacker Air and I loooooove it! I also use a DJI Mavic Air and a GoPro and which allow me to capture everything my regular camera can’t.

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