Today, I’ve got another fantastic Guest Post to share with you. This one is from Jojo of Jojo’s Cup of Mocha and it’s the perfect post for the New Year! It’s all about planning a road trip.
Jojo writes a travel blog filled with tons of tips for fellow travel lovers along with own personal experiences and vacation advice.
So, if you’re looking to do some road tripping sometime in 2022, this is for you! Keep reading for Jojo’s 10 steps to planning a road trip you’ll adore.
Tips for Planning a Road Trip Itinerary
Road trips are a popular way to travel, especially since the pandemic has made flying more complicated. It’s also a great way to explore places you wouldn’t have normally thought of.
This Fall, I recently took a road trip through New England and it was amazing! I got to see a lot of beautiful Fall foliage while driving and exploring new areas.
However, going on a road trip requires a carefully mapped out itinerary. With the right planning, research, and a positive mindset, you can create your perfect road trip.
Related Read: Vacationing as a Couple: 5 Tips to Make Your Vacation Together Great
Steps to Planning Your Perfect Road Trip
1. Figure out why you want to go the trip
The first question you should ask yourself is why you want to go on a road trip. Taking a plane, train, or bus is easy and probably faster than driving yourself. So, what is it about a road trip that’s appealing to you?
Knowing why you want to take and plan a road trip in the first place will help you create a great itinerary.
2. Create a general list of places you’d want to visit
One of the most fun things about planning a road trip is outlining your wish list.
To start, just jot down some ideas of places you’d like to visit. You can draw inspiration from your interests or destinations you’ve always wanted to visit. It could be anything.
This isn’t going to be your end all, be all, list. These are just ideas. But, at least this will give you an overall idea of where you want to go.
When I was creating my road trip itinerary, I decided I wanted to do a road trip through New England. I really wanted to visit Vermont and New Hampshire as I’ve never been to those states before.
3. Create a list of activities you’d like to do
Another fun component of planning a road trip is creating a list of potential vacation activities. This is such a fun and creative process! What is it that you’ve always wanted to see or do? Can this activity be done in your chosen destination?
Have fun with this part of the road trip planning process.
4. Decide when to take the road trip
Next, you’ll want to decide when to take your road trip.
For example, since I wanted to take a road trip through New England to see the Fall foliage, I knew I’d have to plan a trip for the Fall. If you’re taking a road trip through some southwestern states to visit the national parks, then you may want to consider going during the spring or summer.
Whether you’re chasing a particular time of year or month, you’ll have to decide when to travel. Then, do some research to ensure the conditions are suitable for a safe trip.
5. Decide on a time-frame
When planning a road trip, you need to determine a time frame to complete the trip. How long would you like to be traveling for? A week? Two weeks? A month or more?
Only you can decide what’s right for you.
Just remember to take into consideration the places you want to visit, things you want to see and do, and whether you’d be able to complete it all in the time you’re on the road.
I recommend giving yourself a few extra days, if you can, when on a road trip. You never know what’s going to happen – either with yourself, the car, or the location.
So, it’s better to have some allotted time just in case.
Related Read: Vacation Essentials: The ABC’s of Packing so You Never Forget Anything Important
6. Narrow down your lists
Now that you’ve created your lists of places to visit and activities to do, you’ll need to narrow it down.
This isn’t to say that you can’t do all your desired activities. But, after considering where and when you want to go along with what you want to do while there, you can determine if it’s feasible.
Some things to consider: how long it’ll take you to drive to your first destination, what the distance is between each place, and whether the activities or places are open during certain times.
Depending on these factors (and more), you may have to cut a few things from your list.
Even though you’re traveling at your own pace, you might not be able to fit everything into your itinerary. I went through this when planning my New England road trip.
Although Maine is part of New England, geographically speaking, there simply wasn’t enough time in my 9-day road trip to drive through it, so I had to cut that. Maine is a huge state, so there was no way I could’ve included it.
I also decided not to travel through Rhode Island since I want to visit that state at a different point in time. Plus, I felt that it was best to concentrate my time and efforts on visiting states best known for their Fall foliage.
7. Start researching
Once you have all your ideas down, it’s time to start your research! This is probably the most time consuming and tedious part but it’s crucial to a successful road trip. A lot of time and energy goes into this.
For road trips, it’s important to look at several factors, including:
- Information about your desired destination
- Weather conditions
- Cost of food
- Distance between locations
The more information you have on hand, the better off you’ll be for your road trip.
8. Make a budget for the road trip
With all the information you’ve accumulated from your research, now it’s time to budget your road trip. If money is no option, then you don’t need to worry about this. But, if it is, you need to consider how much money you’ll need.
Consider the food, activities, lodging, and gas. And, if you decide to take toll routes, don’t forget the cost of tolls.
I made a rough budget for my New England trip, but I also tried to make it as flexible as possible. You never know what’s going to happen or what additional things you might need. Even if you’re super prepared, things can and do happen. So, it’s better to budget a bit more than you expect to use.
9. Create your final (but flexible) itinerary
Now that you’ve done your planning and research, you have all the information you need, now you need to put it all into an itinerary. This phase of the planning is awesome because your road trip starts to take shape and you get all excited for your adventure. At least, that’s what happened to me.
When drafting your itinerary, ensure that it’s somewhat flexible. As travelers know, unexpected things can happen, so it’s best to give yourself some wiggle room.
10. Buy Accommodations ahead of time
Finally, when everything is just about done with planning your road trip, purchase your necessary accommodations. Lodging, is a big one. But also, some activities or places tend to sell out fast. To prevent any delays or problems, buy them ahead of time.
And with that, you’re all set to create an itinerary that you’ll love and be proud of!
A huge thank you to Jojo for writing this! Make sure to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter. And, if you’re interested in writing a guest post, you can find more information here.
Are you planning a road trip for 2022? Do you have any other travel tips to share? Let me know in the comments below!
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It is definitely good to book accommodation well in advance as it is also cheaper.
Very true – if you wait until the last minute, sometimes they charge you more.
Great tips! I’ve never been on a road trip but my partner and I would love to go on one in his really nice car and enjoy the roads in another country and do some stops along the way!
Road trips can be a lot of fun – sometimes I get carsick, but if I’m prepared ahead of time I can get through it OK.
These are great tips. I can’t wait to go on a road trip. Going to start planning it now. Thank you for sharing.
So glad to hear that it was helpful!
These are all great tips! Especially having a budget and an idea of what one is going to do/visit. There’s nothing worse then arriving and not knowing what to do or see.
Thanks for sharing!
Oh, absolutely! I always try and have a loose itinerary so that I have a general plan of what to do on vacation.
Great tips! One day I’d love to do a road trip from Seattle to San Diego.
That would be a really fun road trip!