Planning a highway journey is usually a lot of enjoyable. In reality, I believe it’s nearly as enjoyable because the journey itself, as a result of within the planning phases it may be something you need it to be.

Whether or not you’re new to highway journey planning or an skilled highway tripper, you’ll wish to make sure you take into account every of those steps earlier than you’re taking off on an journey by automobile.

Planning a road trip, silver car on wooded road

Editor’s Observe: This text was up to date in Could, 2022.

This publish could comprise affiliate hyperlinks. Please see my disclosure for extra data. As an affiliate, I earn a small fee each time you make a qualifying buy by way of certainly one of my affiliate hyperlinks (if relevant).

CONTENTS: On this article, you’ll study the important steps and choices to make if you’re planning a highway journey, together with:

Methods to Select A Vacation spot 

Magnifying glass and car keys on map

One of many greatest challenges to planning a highway journey is determining the place to go. With the world of prospects round you, it may be arduous to slim down your decisions!

There are a couple of methods you are able to do this. Listed here are some concepts.

A method is to plot a radius round your place to begin. You are able to do this by twisting a math compass set to the gap proven on the map’s key.

Or, you should use an internet map radius device like this one. To study extra about the right way to map a radius, read this article.

Mapping a radius is admittedly useful if you realize you solely wish to drive so many hours and/or miles in a day or are on the lookout for a handy day journey.

As an illustration, if you wish to take a day journey restricted to an hour-and-a-half of drive-time, you possibly can plot a radius of 90 miles out (freeway), then take into account your choices.

In fact, you’ll must account for backroads and delays, nevertheless it provides you with a normal thought of what’s inside vary.

One other manner to decide on a vacation spot to your highway journey is to base it in your bucket record. Have you ever at all times needed to see the Grand Canyon or see New England’s vibrant fall foliage? Go for it!

A 3rd manner to decide on your vacation spot is locate journey inspiration by way of consultants, equivalent to travel bloggers and by doing on-line analysis. You’ll be able to study a wealth of details about routes and sights from those that have already been there.

No matter the way you resolve you wish to decide your highway journey vacation spot, you’ll need to bear in mind the next:

  • Resolve on the period of time you wish to spend en route
  • Think about the price of fuel and actions
  • Decide whether or not your highway journey will embody in a single day(s) otherwise you’ll return the identical day

After you have picked a vacation spot factoring these pointers in thoughts, you possibly can start planning the route of your highway journey.

Associated: You should definitely review these pros and cons of traveling by car earlier than planning your highway journey.

Planning a Highway Journey Route With Stops

There are variety of methods you possibly can plan your route.

1. If You Need to Get There Quick

When you merely wish to get from Level A to Level B, Google Maps is a straightforward, no-nonsense option to map out your route. You’ll be able to even embody a number of stopping factors and let Google Maps do all of the heavy lifting for you. The one stops you would possibly plan listed below are pitstops.

Alternatively, Waze helps map out your route and guides with turn-by-turn instructions as you drive–even providing you with real-time site visitors data and detours. You’ll be able to modify the filters to keep away from highways or tolls.

2. The Multi-Cease Itinerary

In case your journey relies in your bucket record stops, merely join the dots and plan out the route in bite-sized chunks as you from one cease to a different.

The identical is true you probably have a number of pals and family members who would possibly welcome your go to. This has the benefit of gaining an area’s perspective of every area, and if they’re open to in a single day company, it could possibly be a budget-friendly choice, too.

3. A Nostalgic Journey

Once I deliberate my road trip from Boston to Nova Scotia, we principally opted for the acquainted driving route my dad and mom traveled every summer season.

This allowed my mom to relive a few of her nostalgia. We loved listening to household tales and it made my mom joyful to see acquainted milestones alongside the way in which.

4. Take The Scenic Route

When you’re on the lookout for extra of a scenic route, take a look at to construct your itinerary. When you enter an space to their Highway Journey Route Planner app, you possibly can discover loads of stops on the way in which.

This would possibly incude common sights, open air & recreation stops, leisure & nightlife, eating, and different factors of curiosity.

Additionally, make sure you journey alongside some lovely scenic byways when planning a US highway journey. This scenic route-planning site is a strong useful resource, mapping out scenic routes in america:

  • By state
  • All-American
  • Nationwide
  • Parkway
  • Nationwide Forest
  • BLM Black Nation byways
  • Different scenic routes

All of the work is finished for you!

Planning Tip 1: When you’ll be driving alongside the coast, equivalent to on a highway journey alongside California’s Pacific Coast Highway, work out which aspect of your automobile you wish to face the ocean…driver or passenger?

Keep in mind, a highway journey doesn’t must be all about attending to your vacation spot. You’ve the chance to benefit from the surroundings and websites alongside the way in which so plan accordingly.

And if you happen to plan to journey through RV, then it’s possible you’ll wish to take into account joining the Good Sam Club.

The Good Sam Membership provides members the next advantages:

  • Reductions of as much as 10% at related campgrounds
  • Financial savings of as much as 10% at sure out of doors retailers (Like Tenting World
  • Free delivery on orders of $49 or extra
  • Reductions on diesel gas
  • Entry to on-line journey planning providers
  • A 70% low cost on the Good Sam Information,
  • 15% off propane purchases
  • Free dumping providers at choose out of doors retailers.

Annual memberships begin at simply $29 per yr. To maximise your funding, it’s also possible to subscribe for $50 for 2 years and $79 for 3 years. It’s cash well-spent, particularly if you happen to like to go highway tripping!

Stops Alongside the Method

Sometimes, you possibly can drive 100 or so freeway miles in about 2 hours. Nevertheless it’s necessary to not overschedule your journey.

One of the best highway journeys depart time for surprising detours, attention-grabbing sights, and a little bit downtime.

When you love nature and are planning to take a look at U.S. Nationwide Parks, it may be cost-effective to spend money on an annual National Parks Pass ($80). This covers entrance charges to hundreds of Nationwide Parks & Federal Leisure Lands.

Stops for Prolonged Journeys

For prolonged journeys, don’t overlook to plan for vital stops alongside the way in which, equivalent to:

  • Lavatory breaks
  • ATM/Banks stops
  • Comfort or supermarkets stops
  • Laundry

As a normal rule, you’ll wish to plan some stops simply to stretch your legs, particularly if you happen to’ve been driving for 4 hours or extra.

In any other case, you might be in danger for blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is extra probably throughout long-distance journey. That is of specific hazard if you happen to’re over 40. (Supply: The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention)

Meals & Lodging Stops

Subsequent, take into account whether or not you’ll wish to cease for meals and overnights.

Relying in your consolation stage, it’s possible you’ll wish to resolve on the place you’ll eat or keep as you go. It may be reassuring to have agency plans in place forward of time.

Both manner, perform some research earlier than stopping. You’ll be able to take a look at Zagat or Yelp for eating evaluations and look to Momondo for Unique accommodations.

With regards to planning out routes and stops, take time estimates with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that on the day of your journey you would possibly find yourself hitting site visitors or building delays.

Chances are you’ll even discover a place you wish to discover additional, and why not? That’s the fantastic thing about a highway journey.

What’s the Greatest Departure Time When Planning a Highway Journey?

I at all times like an early begin, particularly for lengthy journeys. It makes me really feel like I’ve lined loads of floor by midday.

However there are exceptions to the rule.

Say, as an example, your journey accomplice isn’t an early riser.

Or, you will have day commitments to maintain earlier than leaving for the lengthy weekend.

Perhaps your in a single day lodging on the route provides an unbelievable brunch or, you actually needed to see a couple of extra issues in that cute village earlier than heading off on the subsequent leg of your journey.

Maybe you wish to keep away from delays from:

  • Bridge site visitors
  • Rush hour
  • Building work
  • Festivals, holidays, and parades
  • Typically busy journey instances

When my kids had been toddlers, we might prepare our Sunday night time departures from Cape Cod for after 8 pm to keep away from site visitors jams. Extra importantly, so the youngsters would sleep by way of many of the journey. That made a extra peaceable highway journey throughout.

And eventually, you’ll wish to examine for climate delays. For one factor, dangerous climate would possibly damage your day journey. And it’ll actually prolong your drive time.

On the very least, costume for the climate to be ready.

So, is there a finest departure time when planning a highway journey?

Not likely.

However there are higher instances relying in your circumstances.

Ought to You Hire a Automobile for A Highway Journey?

Jackie Gately of Enjoy Travel Life in a yellow sports car

There are professionals and cons to renting a automobile for a highway journey.

A few of the Execs embody:

  • Much less put on and tear in your private car
  • Extra fascinating automobile for the journey (higher fuel mileage, more room, specialty automobile, extra dependable)
  • Could supply roadside help/alternative car

A few of the Cons to renting a automobile for a highway journey embody:

  • Extra rental expense
  • Requires a bank card deposit upwards of $300 (some corporations will settle for a debit card maintain on funds)
  • Unfamiliar car
  • Mileage or state/nation line limitations
  • Pace or different trackers (privateness)

To be sure to get the very best deal, do some buying on-line and ask for price-matching.

Additionally, some rental automobile companies run very inexpensive weekend rental charges.

One of the best offers supply limitless mileage and will let you cross state/nation strains with out further charges. You may additionally wish to drop the automobile off someplace completely different from the place you bought it.

When you resolve to lease a automobile to your highway journey, ebook it upfront for the very best odds of getting the automobile you need. And don’t overlook to learn the nice print if you signal. Some rental companies will cost an extra price if you happen to get a ticket, return the automobile on empty, soiled, or after hours.

Ensure make know the way they deal with toll funds, mechanical points, and breakdowns, too.

Extra Insurance coverage Protection on a Highway Journey

Your current auto insurance coverage coverage (assuming you will have a automobile) could supply some coverages to your automobile rental. Almost certainly gained’t embody Supplemental Legal responsibility insurance coverage (SLI).

And if it does, it’ll be pricy.

Merely outlined, Supplemental Legal responsibility Insurance coverage or (SLI) covers you for accidents to different drivers and their automobiles. In some states, like California, New York, Nevada, and Florida, you’re required by legislation to hold SLI in your rental automobile.

However even when it’s not required in your route, getting a short-term coverage will decrease your monetary threat.

Examine along with your insurance coverage agent and the rental company concerning the availability and pricing of SLI.

Or, go for a extra inexpensive choice: Bonzah’s car rental SLI is below $12/day and covers as much as $1M in legal responsibility. You should purchase it on-line by way of their web site or the Bonzah app and have on the spot protection. 

When you ideally don’t have any accidents in your highway journey, SLI provides an extra stage of consolation and assurance if you happen to do.

Now, like with any journey, you’ll additionally wish to purchase travel insurance previous to the beginning of your highway journey. As a result of regardless that it’s possible you’ll not wish to take into consideration dangerous issues taking place, it’s at all times a good suggestion to be ready.

And though there are a whole bunch of journey insurance coverage corporations that you would be able to buy a coverage from, I really like and use World Nomads travel insurance.

Not solely are you able to shortly and simply purchase/make insurance coverage claims on-line, even after you’ve left house, however World Nomads can be obtainable to folks from over 130 nations.

Moreover, their insurance policies are designed for adventurous and barely much less adventurous vacationers alike. It’ll utterly cowl any abroad medical bills that you simply would possibly incur. Additionally, you will obtain full compensation for emergency evacuations, misplaced baggage, and a lot extra.

Moreover, World Nomads Travel Insurance is:

1. Backed by trusted and dependable underwriters.

World Nomads is backed by a collection of sturdy, safe, specialist journey insurers. They offer you nice protection, 24-hour emergency help, in addition to large help and claims administration.

That’s why you at all times get distinctive worth to your cash.

2. World Nomads focuses solely on what you want and leaves out what you don’t.

World Nomads’ costs are among the best within the business. Consequently, you’ll obtain top-notch protection at a fraction of the worth that many different corporations supply.

3. Flexibility if you want it essentially the most.

Have a sudden change of plans? Not an issue in any respect. You should purchase further protection, purchase a wholly new World Nomads Policy, or file a declare on-line when you’re touring.

4. Protection for a spread of journey actions

Between snowboarding in New Zealand and whitewater rafting in Colorado, World Nomads offers an incredible stage of protection for an array of adventure-related actions. You would possibly wish to take part in when you’re away from house, and have insurance coverage for any surprising mishaps.

5. World Nomads provides you peace of thoughts because it means that you can journey safely.

All policyholders and members of the World Nomads household have entry to up-to-date journey security alerts, in addition to journey security recommendation and suggestions on-line by way of the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.

This firm additionally prides itself on a dedication to high-quality customer support and needs to make sure that you get essentially the most out of your journey insurance coverage.

Due to this fact, you probably have any questions on your journey insurance coverage coverage or journey security normally, at all times be happy to contact directly.

Making ready Your Automobile for A Highway Journey

When you resolve to deliver your personal automobile on a highway journey, you’ll wish to:

  • Clear it out utilizing this wonderful, portable vacuum cleaner. It’s a small, hand-held vacuum that’s extremely highly effective. This makes it simple to immediately element your automobile with the lengthy, 16-foot energy twine. It additionally options unbelievable suction, a clear trash container (permitting you to immediately see when it must be emptied), and three completely different nozzles that can enable you to fulfill all of your cleansing wants.
  • Shortly and simply element the outside of your automobile with this Snow Eagle, 10-piece car cleaning tool kit. If you order it, you’ll obtain the next: a window water scraper, automobile duster, tire brush, wheel brush a deal with, microfiber sponge, mini-duster for the air Vent, plastic blow storage field, and three towels. What a discount!
  • Arrange the inside of your automobile with this Trello, three-door, plastic storage bin to your trunk. You may also like this Tidify front seat organizer. It encompasses a devoted pill/laptop computer holder, stabilizing aspect straps, tender adjustable shoulder strap and hardened buckles. Try this sun visor organizer, too.
  • Make sure the insurance coverage, registration, inspection is updated
  • Have a trusted mechanic safety-check it and prime off fluids as wanted
  • Make sure that your EZ Go toll responder is working and funded.
  • In case of an emergency, additionally just remember to can have a premium roadside assistance kit in your trunk. I personally use this equipment from AAA because it’s inexpensive and consists of 42 extremely helpful gadgets. The equipment consists of issues like jumper cables, flashlight, first help equipment, rain poncho, and extra. You’ll additionally wish to deliver a complete, up-to-date first aid kit.

When you’re at it, make certain your license is present and you haven’t any excellent tickets or driving violations.

Associated: When you actually wish to get your automobile organized for a highway journey, learn these easy tips subsequent.

Essential Paperwork Earlier than You Start Your Highway Journey

It’s a good suggestion earlier than you go in your highway journey to print out any rental agreements for reference on the highway.


  • Resort reservations
  • Admission tickets
  • Tour receipts
  • Different purchases made at house

Whereas you might have entry to the information electronically, keep in mind that Wi-Fi could not at all times be obtainable. That’s why I like to recommend storing printed copies collectively in a helpful folder.

You also needs to take pictures of all your necessary paperwork in case your automobile is stolen. That features your automobile registration and insurance coverage paperwork, or your automobile rental settlement. It’s a good suggestion to have copies of your license, passport, and bank cards, too.

Take a photograph of your license plate for a similar motive It’s additionally for comfort when checking into motels. (Who can keep in mind a license plate, even your personal?)

When you take medicines, be sure to have documentation for refills as wanted.

When you’re touring with something costly, like your laptop computer or an expert digicam, make notice of the Serial Numbers. Then, in the event that they get stolen, they’re simpler to determine.

Lastly, put together a written or digital itinerary with dates, places, and make contact with data and share it so somebody is aware of the place you’re.

In case you are leaving kids, pets, or aged dad and mom behind, make certain caretakers have detailed directions and know the right way to attain you or a relative in an emergency.

I additionally advocate downloading route maps so if the Wi-Fi is spotty and also you lose GPS, you gained’t threat getting misplaced.

Extra Highway Journey Suggestions

Listed here are a couple of extra gadgets to your highway journey guidelines:

  • Examine Simple Go/tolls and convey some quarters and singles in case there’s an issue.
  • Carry a trash bag for the trip and additional windshield wiper fluid.
  • Add a rooftop cargo bin for added storage.
  • When you’re crossing worldwide borders, examine to your telephone plan. Many plans supply limitless speak and textual content in all of North America, but when not, it’s possible you’ll wish to take a look at skype or whatsapp to be in contact without spending a dime.
  • Again up the pictures out of your telephone to the cloud earlier than you permit and be sure to have loads of area for brand new pictures.
  • Obtain any information it’s possible you’ll have to entry to your laptop computer arduous drive in case you don’t have wifi entry.
  • Bring an auxiliary cable that you would be able to plug into your automobile stereo and that you should use to cost varied digital gadgets when you’re on the highway.
  • Carry all your favourite radio packages on the highway with you, with a subscription to Sirius XM Satelite Radio. You’ll get a whole Sirius set up equipment in addition to a three-month subscription to their related satellite tv for pc streaming service. This manner, you’ll be capable to hearken to your favourite exhibits, no matter the place you’re within the nation.
  • Pack all of your journey necessities into an elegant, MyMealivos Canvas Weekender Bag. Every bag is inexpensive and obtainable in three hand-crafted designs with brown fake leather-based accents. The inside completed with an opulent brown cotton lining. Plus, its dimensions meet customary airline stick with it restrictions, too. This helpful bag additionally has a separate shoe compartment, an ergonomic design, and 7 zippered compartments that can assist you keep organized.
  • A high-quality, extra-durable, vacuum insulated, stainless-steel, YETI 18 ounce Rambler, or the 30-ounce YETI Tumbler. Each drink holders function DuraCoat Colour that’s constructed to final, are BPA-free and dishwasher secure. They’ve a leakproof triple haul cap, a vacuum insulated double wall that can hold your drinks both sizzling or chilly for hours at a time. YETI’s distinctive, sweat-proof design makes them simple to hold, too.

Hit the Highway!

Lastly, the massive day is right here. You’ve deliberate it out and you’re able to have an incredible highway journey! 

However wait.

Closing Ideas

There’s one very last thing I forgot to inform you…

Count on the surprising.

That may imply rerouting due to an surprising highway closure, or it’d imply exiting from the deliberate path to discover a rustic highway. As soon as your planning is finished, you’re dressed for the trip, and also you hit the highway, be ready for the journey to unfold.

In any case, that’s the very best half.

For extra how-to tips about Highway Journeys, proceed studying:

For vacation spot associated highway journeys, examine these out:

Have you ever ever deliberate an epic highway journey? I’d love to listen to about your experiences and suggestions within the feedback under.

Essentials for Road Trips | What to Know Before You Go!
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