How To Plan The Ultimate Road Trip

Are you travelling by car during the festive holidays? If so, then following this comprehensive road trip planning guide is a good idea as there are many factors to consider to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. From mapping your route and packing essentials to driving tips and vehicle servicing, we have your road trip planning needs covered!

Key Points In Our Road Trip Planning Guide

  • Make a list of the things you need for your road trip and make sure you pack everything properly.
  • Create a travel budget and find places to stay when on the road trip so you don’t overspend or run out of money.
  • Take a map of the area you are travelling through and familiarise yourself with the route so you know where to find things while on your trip.
  • Bring snacks, drinks, entertainment options, and anything else you might need while away from home.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and roadworthy before embarking on long distance trips in the UK or Europe.
  • Be aware of traffic conditions, weather changes, and other drivers on the road when travelling.
  • Get the right insurance and make sure you have breakdown cover from organisations like the AA, RAC or StartRescue.

Planning The Perfect Road Trip

To plan the best road trip, the first step is to map out your route, considering factors like rest stops, scenic routes, potential detours, and driving time. If your road trip planning involves a long drive, like from London to Edinburgh, you should think about breaking up the drive into different days. A great way to do this includes creating a road trip itinerary of the landmarks or attractions you want to see.

By mapping your route properly with a final destination in mind, you will have added peace of mind knowing where you are going. Once you have a general idea of where you are going, make sure you find accommodation and budget for meals along the way. Booking accommodation in advance is often cheaper and less stressful than searching for somewhere when tired after driving all day. Consider using or Airbnb.

Road Trip Planning Using Google Maps

When you plan a road trip, Google Maps can be a helpful tool. You can use it to find the best route between two points, get directions and estimated travel times, plan rest stops, or even see nearby attractions.

How To Use Google Maps

  1. Download and install the Google Maps app to your phone or tablet
  2. In the search bar, enter your starting point and destination or destinations. You can also use the “My Location” icon to automatically find your current location.
  3. Since you are using a vehicle, choose driving as the transportation type and find the fastest route with fewer tolls.
  4. Once you’ve entered your destination and preferences, Google Maps will generate a route for you with step-by-step instructions and estimated travel times.
  5. You can find out what’s nearby (tourist attractions, restaurants, services) by clicking on any point along the route.
  6. If you are planning to be in an area with limited internet access, you can save your route for offline use to you can access it without a connection.

road trip planning on Google Maps

Detours, Delays And Weather Conditions

Always check local traffic reports before embarking on your journey so you can be aware of any potential issues that may arise along the way. Make sure to plan for potential delays or detours as weather can have a significant impact on your route and driving speed. If you encounter bad weather, you may need to take alternate routes or make extra stops along the way.

Staying alert and prepared can help you get to your destination quickly and safely. Taking the time to plan for potential detours and delays will ensure a smoother, more successful journey. With proper road trip planning, you can ensure a more enjoyable, relaxing and safe experience!

How To Set A Road Trip Budget

Once you have a destination in mind and a basic route mapped out, it’s time to start planning your road trip budget. Take the following steps to create a travel budget:

  • Calculate the average cost of fuel for the route you’re taking. If you drive an electric vehicle, you would need to plan where to stop to recharge.
  • Estimate the cost of lodging along the way.
  • Estimate the amount of money you will need for food. Consider packing your own meals or researching restaurants along the route that offer affordable options.
  • Make a list of activities you want to do during your trip and the cost of each activity.
  • Check your vehicle’s insurance policy to determine if you are covered for road trips.
  • Include an additional amount to cover any unforeseen expenses that may arise while you’re on the road.

Recommended: 5 Best Route Planner Apps of 2022

Packing List For Road Trips

Packing is part of any road trip planning process and here is a list of the most essential items that should be included:

  • A roadside emergency kit with items such as a window breaker, high-vis jacket, emergency poncho, battery booster, mobile tyre inflator, tyre pressure gauge, spare tyre and jumper leads
  • First aid kit with bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any other items you might need in case of an emergency
  • Extra toiletries and hygiene products
  • Plastic carrier bags
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Maps and GPS
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Water and snacks
  • Extra set of clothes to account for weather changes
  • Music or entertainment (travel games), especially for long road trips and when travelling with kids
  • Extra cash
  • Snow shovel and ice scraper when driving in winter
  • Bug Spray if travelling through areas where you may need it

Pack Your Car Like a Pro

how to pack your car for a road trip

When it comes to road trip planning, packing your car can be tricky. To make sure everything you need fits in the vehicle, start by making a list of all items you’ll be bringing along. This will help you stay organised and eliminate any unnecessary items that take up too much space.

Once your list is complete, break down the items into categories and separate them accordingly. Put large items such as suitcases in first, followed by smaller items such as coolers and blankets. Make sure to evenly distribute the weight throughout the car for a more balanced ride.

For extra room, use vacuum-sealable bags for clothing or other soft items. This way, you can compress bulky items and store them in tight spaces like the corner of your boot or underneath the seats. When travelling with pets, bring their favourite bedding, food/water bowls, leash, toys and treats.

Road Trip Food Ideas

No road trip is complete without snacks! Whether you’re looking for healthy options or indulgent treats, here are some great ideas for food to take on your next journey:

  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Chocolate chips or mini marshmallows
  • Veggie sticks for a healthier option (carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks with your favourite dip or hummus)
  • Breakfast bars, snack bars or energy bars for protein to help keep you feeling full
  • Biltong is a classic road trip snack high in protein and full of flavour
  • Popcorn or potato chips
  • Fruit like apples, oranges, and bananas
  • Pre-make sandwiches with your favourite
  • Make smoothies ahead of time and store them in insulated bottles
  • Biscuits and cookies

Top 3 Road Trip Planning Mistakes

A big mistake you can make when planning a road trip is not mapping out your route in advance. Knowing where you are going and how long it will take to get there can help prevent getting lost or running into unexpected delays on the way.

Another mistake many travellers make is forgetting to pack the necessary supplies. Be sure you have enough food, water and any other necessities you might need on your journey. As the saying goes: “It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have”.

For effective road trip planning, make sure you allow extra time for unexpected delays or changes of plans along the way. This can help ensure you do not end up running out of time and having to rush through the last leg of your trip.

Also Read: Driving Habits That Waste Mileage

Road Trip Planning And Vehicle Preparation Checks

checking tyre pressure before a road trip

The best way to prepare your vehicle for a road trip is to do a complete check of all the systems and components. Here are some of the most important things you should check:

  • Make sure the tyres are properly inflated, are in good condition and that the tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm (preferably 3mm or more)
  • Check the brake pads and discs for wear and damage and get them replaced if necessary
  • Make sure the steering is responsive and in good condition
  • Check that the engine is running smoothly and that there are no oil or coolant leaks
  • Test all the lights, indicators, and switches to make sure they are working properly
  • Make sure your car air con works as it should and book a recharge if needed
  • Check that there are no issues with your suspension and exhaust

Car Servicing And Road Trip Planning

All in all, planning a road trip can be an exciting experience if done correctly. Taking the time to plan your route, pack necessary supplies and allow extra time for unexpected delays can help ensure you have an enjoyable journey and a safe return back home.

The most important thing is to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and that means regular servicing. At Elite Garages, we provide services for petrol, diesel and hybrid cars as well as Electric Vehicles. You can also book a free vehicle safety check at any of our branches to ensure your car is ready for the trip.