Road Trip: Tips For Before You Drive
Planning a road trip? Need some road trip tips?!
I have driven from Southern California to Vancouver, Canada 3 times by myself. I have driven to Vegas by myself. I’ve driven around Vancouver Island by myself. I’ve driven to Seattle and Portland by myself several times. I did a road trip with my girlfriends in college across Canada. It’s obvious that I love road trips! I wanted to share some helpful road trip tips with you before start yours!
On the open road!
Helpful road trip tips!
- Make a plan! Have an idea of the route and stops you want to take before you start. Research must see places or beautiful vistas. I will often seek inspiration or recommendations from friends, Instagram, and other travelers.
- Download map apps like Google Maps, Waze, Gas buddy, AAA roadside assistance
- Don’t forget your driver’s license and double check its expiry. Make sure your car registration and car insurance is up to date. Have registration and insurance papers in the glove box. Perhaps make an extra copy for online in case of emergency.
- I always buy travel insurance when I travel.
- Very important: Have your car serviced before you leave so it’s safe to drive. Get an oil change if necessary. Check tire pressure, top up fluids, get new wiper blades, etc.
- Make sure you have a spare tire and the tools to change a flat tire
- Bring a spare set of car keys and carry them on you in case you get locked out of your car or lose your keys.
- Pack a basic first aid kit and emergency kit.
- I have a Goal Zero wind-up/solar lamp that also powers up my phone for those moments when power is unavailable
- Start your days early so can see when there is still light out. I can’t tell you how many times I have not been able to find accommodation addresses because it’s too dark!
- Be mindful of speed limits. I got a $220 speeding ticket on the Oregon Coast because I was 15 miles over the limit. The policeman doesn’t care if you have never gotten a speeding ticket in your life and couldn’t see because it was pitch black.
- Have charging cables and other accessories within reach. I needed a cable for my phone, GoPro/camera. I use a car mount for my phone which also serves as my navigation system. Click here for my road trip packing list.
- Have your phone battery full at all times.
- Have roadside assistance – I have AAA. If your car is older, consider getting the option for a further tow. Some stipulations only include 10 miles or less to a service garage
- Make music playlists or download podcasts and audio books. Bring a CD or have an offline playlist for when you have no cell service.
- Bring water and healthy snacks. Prepare and have good healthy snacks and drinks in the car. I have in folding insulated cooler and ice packs to keep me refreshed and full.
- If you don’t have access to a freezer for your ice packs, go to a gas station store or 7-11 and fill up on ice from the fountain drinks or buy ice.
- Plan out your drive so that in case you don’t get service in certain places you know where you’re going
- Let people know your plan and check in with friends or family
- Stop when you are getting tired or drowsy. So many accidents happen when people start to fade and fall asleep at the wheel. It happens, so stop for safety’s sake.
- When you stop for a bathroom break, stretch your legs and do some stretches
- As a female solo road tripper, I make sure to stop well before it gets dark. That hasn’t been the case every time, but I try to start earlier in the day to get a good full day of driving in.
- Try to eat healthy on the road. I don’t ever want to resort to fast food on the road so I look for health food stores or sushi restaurants where I can pick healthier things to eat. It’s not always possible so look for grocery stores if you don’t have time to have a sit-down meal. I look for natural food stores, Whole Foods or even Trader Joes along my drive.
- I have these in my car at all times: Kleenex, paper towels, Clorox wipes, Advil, pocket knife/scissors
- Bring postage stamps in case you want to send a postcard!
- Don’t forget your medications or things like contact solution
- Bring sunscreen and sunglasses
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
- Bring a blanket (if you have a passenger) and pillow (for hotel / rental)
- I like to carry a spork, can/bottle opener, spices and condiments for when I pick up food
- Pack a scarf. I can never get my car’s temperature settings right so a scarf helps.
- Write down emergency phone numbers on a piece of paper and keep in my wallet – in case your phone dies or gets stolen.
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