Complete Guide to Planning a Road Trip

There's nothing quite as invigorating as being on the open road and embarking on an epic road trip. Exploring new parts of the country with your friends or family creates a lifetime of memories. That being said, a road trip takes planning. If you hop in your vehicle without a plan, you could end up encountering more than a few bumps in the road. These tips will help you plan a fun, worry-free road trip and get you started in the right direction.

Family Looking at Map in Car for Road Trip

Set Your Budget

Because you don't have the expense of buying plane tickets, it's easy to assume you don't have to worry about money. However, any well-traveled person knows that whether you're traveling by land, air, or sea, there are always unexpected expenses. Plan out your budget for hotels, toll roads, food, and souvenirs, so you don't let money worries affect your trip.

Schedule Car Maintenance

Everyone's seen a movie or two where a road trip turns into disaster with a smoking car on the roadside and the family hiking to find an auto shop. Luckily, your road trip doesn't have to turn into a bad movie scene. Before you head out, have your car tuned and buy new tires if your current tires are on their last leg. If you don't think your car has the stamina to go thousands of miles in a few weeks, consider renting a car for peace of mind.

Check for Road Closures

If your road trip takes you off the beaten path, make sure you stay on top of current road conditions. Prepare ahead of time. Road closures are common in winter in snowy climates, but even major highways during the summer can close for road construction projects. Planning will save you from backtracking or getting lost.

Bring a Map

Don't rely solely on GPS to let you know about an unexpected road closure. Many road trips involve driving in parts of the country with limited or non-existent cell service, especially in the desert, plains, and in the mountains. An updated map will keep you pointed the right way.

Book Accommodations in Advance

If you have particular lodging preferences or are traveling with a large group, book hotel rooms ahead of time. During peak travel times, accommodations fill up fast in popular areas. Even campgrounds book up quickly. Do yourself a favor and book ahead of time, and you'll never have to worry about where you'll rest your body after a long day of traveling.

Mom and Daughter Sitting in the back of Car with Mountain Scenery

Buy a National Park Pass

Does your road trip itinerary include national parks? Visiting the country's most beautiful parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Acadia, Glacier, and Zion will leave you breathless and in awe of nature's majesty. However, keep in mind that not all parks are free. Some charge for daily admission. Purchasing a weekly or annual park pass can save you money and pay for itself within a few days.

Pack Snacks

Frequent gas station stops add up. Keep your snack budget in check by purchasing snacks ahead of time. Not only does this save money, but you don't have to keep stopping when you feel hungry. Just reach in the cooler, grab a snack, and keep going.

Have Your Home's Major Systems Checked

Don't leave home for weeks at a time without making sure your home's major systems are working well. Call Shumate Mechanical at (678) 748-6283 for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical check-ups!

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