We have been on our fair share of road trips – some overseas where we may or may not have almost died going the wrong way on the road, some in the squelching heat of Texas during summer, and some that required extra safety precautions because of a global pandemic. Based on our experience we wanted to share the following resources:
Not sure how to get started on planning a road trip? Or have you tried planning one before but quit because you just didn’t know what to do next? Or maybe you are a type A person that needs a list to do anything. Try using our pre-departure checklist that lays out what to do 6 months to a month before, 1 month to 2 weeks before, 2 weeks to 1 week before, then 1 week to day of.
Our packing list
The key to any good road trip is preparation. We would advise against preparing and packing at the last moment. Start sooner, so that you can think carefully about all the items you will need. Luckily, you have your entire car to fill (as opposed to being confined to one or two bags on a plane). You can also add a roof bag if you end up needing extra space!
Ideas for road trip entertainment
Watch our vlog for our brilliant ideas on how to stay entertained during the long hours on the road.
Tracking your road trip
Google My Maps allows you to pin where you’ve been and take notes and upload photos. Here’s a link to our My Map that Tim so expertly recorded during our most recent road trip:
- Invest in a mobile hotspot/Wifi. We purchased a Solis Skyroam, and it worked well for what we needed it for. We went with the GB vs the unlimited per month. Keep in mind the WiFi only really works in areas with cell service.
- Consider renting a car over using your own. Road trips tend to put many miles on your car, which led to more maintenance down the line. You can skip all that worry by using a rental. Some companies, at least with Enterprise, offer unlimited miles for a month at a time at discounted rates. Check with your auto insurance carrier to make sure they cover you in rentals so you can avoid the extra protection costs with rental companies.
- Utilize long stay discount through AirBnb, rather than expensive hotels. Some properties offer week long and month long discounts so it might be cheaper to book for 7 nights even if you are only staying 5.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows free disbursed camping on their land in certain spots and discounted sites elsewhere.
- Boondocking or disbursed camping is camping with no facilities. Another site where you can find more of these spaces is on Boondockers Welcome.
- AAA road side assistance offers great protection for little cost. They can also assist in providing other tips for the road and can help you map your route.
- We suggest physical maps in the event you don’t have cell service, or pre-downloaded maps on your mobile device. Again, AAA can help with this or you can shop in your local Barnes and Noble.
- If you’re planning an international road trip, do some research to see if the country requires a International Driving Permit (IDP). AAA is an entity in the USA that can issue IDPs.
- Always have cash (see our What We’ve Learned from traveling blog post)
- Kara uses Libby to download audio books for free from the public library.
- If you’re going to sleep in your car, we recommend blankets to cover the windows and a battery operated fan, maybe some blindfolds.