Road trips are a staple of summertime. Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway in a nearby city or a longer journey, planning for a road trip is exciting and an opportunity to prepare yourself for anything that might come your way (and try a few fun DIYs in the process). Here are some tips and tricks to set yourself up for the smoothest, most stress-free trip possible!

Plan and Pack Ahead of Time

The last thing you want before a long road trip is to be up all night doing last-minute packing – sleep deprivation negatively impacts awareness when driving and can lead to dangerous situations for you and anyone else in your vehicle. Reduce distractions by planning ahead and making sure to get enough rest before your departure. 

Start making a packing list a few weeks in advance and add to it whenever you remember something you might need. Looking up some vacation or road trip packing list templates is also a great way to make sure you have factored in all the essentials. Pack everything that you won’t need to use before you leave and make a plan to pack the rest as soon as you can. For additional peace-of-mind, keep your packing list and duplicate it so you can be sure you don’t forget anything when you pack up to come back home at the end of your trip. 

If you are traveling with kids, planning ahead is even more important. Make sure everything that they need is accounted for, including anything to keep them happy and occupied during the drive. Simple snacks, a drink in a sippy cup or closed-top bottle to prevent spills, and activities in case they get bored are great places to start. If a car seat is needed, test and make sure that it’s safe and functional before the drive. 

Prep Your Vehicle 

Before leaving for a long drive, take your car in to make sure it’s in good condition and is up to date on any servicing, like oil changes or brake checks. Don’t forget to check your tire pressure and fill up your gas tank!

Fueling up once or twice (or more!) is inevitable on a road trip, and with gas prices soaring, that can add up fast. Finding the lowest prices on gas wherever you are is majorly helpful. Try an app like GasBuddy, which automatically finds gas prices near you so that you can make sure you’re getting the best deal. 

Emergency Essentials

Though it may not be the first thing you want to think about when planning a fun vacation, accidents do happen, and making sure that you have some basic supplies for those situations can make a world of difference. 

  • Try to ensure that you have physical maps for your route in case you get turned around and can’t get cell service. 
  • Watch a video tutorial on how to change a flat tire, and make sure you have a spare and the tools to get the job done. 
  • Pack a first-aid kit with bandages, pain reliever, antiseptic, and an emergency blanket. For more helpful items to include, check out the Mayo Clinic’s first-aid supplies recommendations list.
  • Pack some long-lasting snacks or nonperishable foods and water bottles. If your car breaks down, it can take a bit for emergency services to arrive depending on your location and nobody wants to be in an unfamiliar location without transportation and food. 

DIY it

Among the most helpful life hacks on the internet are hacks for road trips and vacations. Some of our favorites are:

  • Using shower caddies for mealtime in the car – genius for keeping food contained and in one place!
  • DIY car sickness bags, add a few supplies to a bag to prevent and help alleviate car sickness. This can make the difference between a smooth journey and a big mess. 
  • Use a plastic cereal container as a car trash. This will help keep trash neat and prevent it from spilling.
  • Over-door shoe organizers placed on the back of the front car seats to keep essentials organized and accessible. 
  • Use your maps app to keep track of your car in unfamiliar cities. Drop a pin to mark your car’s location when you park and skip wandering around the parking lot or streets trying to find your car when you come back. 

Get even more ideas and hacks for your trip with this list of Pinterest road trip hacks!

Happy traveling!

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