Efficient road trip planning

Nothing beats an old fashioned road trip. You’re treated to a scenic view along your journey, you control your own time which allows you to stop wherever and whenever you please, and it is a great way to travel affordably. A road trip is also something that someone experiences at least once in their life. People have different experiences with their trips and people travel differently. Some people are content with throwing a last minute backpack in the trunk and just taking on things as they go. Others pre-plan everything, down to the last detail. Most fall somewhere between the two, combining a rough plan with a little flexibility. So, whether it’s your first time or you have been taking road trips for a long time, you might learn something new that will make your next road trip guaranteed to be more enjoyable, efficient, safe, and cost friendly after reading this article.

Just like any trip, planning is an important part in making sure that you are prepared for anything. Being prepared is what makes a trip efficient. It also eliminates the stress for anything that is unexpected to happen and being aware of common mistakes also allows you to avoid any inconvenience.

The destination and the time of the year you’re taking the trip should be taken into account when planning. For example, during holidays and peak travel seasons or if you’re heading to a different city for an event like a festival or a concert it is important to book hotels in advance. There are so many factors that affect travelling but budgeting and making sure to bring important things are really useful to learn about.

How to Budget for a Road Trip

List all the expenses you may incur along the way. Try to think of anything that you might have to pay for. It is better to have a loose budget than to be worried about money during the trip. Start from the most important to the least important so that you know which ones are absolute and which ones are negotiable. If you have to cut something in your budget you know where to look.


Add in the cost of your accommodation.


Try your best to estimate the anticipated cost of meals. Don’t forget to include miscellaneous snacks and drinks you might buy on the trip.


If you have been driving your car for a long time or if you’re familiar with the place you’re going to chances are you already know how much gas you’ll need. But there are sites that can help you calculate the cost of gas for your trip if you are unfamiliar. This is extremely helpful if you’re new to the place you’re going to or if you’re only renting a car.

Vehicle Prep

Plan to pay for any preparation your vehicle might need before the trip. This includes things like an oil change, new tires or battery, or a check by a mechanic to make sure your car is running well.

Car Rental

If you’re renting a car for the trip, add in the rental fees and the insurance.


Check your route ahead of time to see if you’ll be travelling on any toll roads. Add in the toll fees.


This depends on where you’re going. Try to think of all the places you’ll go to so you can have a proper estimate of how much you’ll need. Try to think of valets if you’re staying at a hotel. If you’re going to a city, chances are you’ll have to pay for parking. If you need airport parking, save money with a way coupon code.

Emergency Fund

You don’t want it to happen and even if you think it’s unlikely, it’s still better to be prepared when an unexpected inconvenience occurs. This includes a flat tire or a breakdown, or even having to extend another night at your hotel.


This includes entrance tickets to a tourist attraction or parks. Add in anything that you’ll be doing that isn’t free. Maybe you’re going to New York to watch a Musical, add that in.


Everyone wants a memento and a remembrance from the trip. It may be a cap, shirt, or keychain. Whatever it is, add it in the budget. This is usually something that people forget to include in their budget.


If that’s one of the purposes of your trip. Add it to the budget.

Important Things to Take on a Road Trip

Packing smart is really important as the amount of luggage you can bring is limited to the space your vehicle has. You don’t want to bring too much stuff. Focus on practicality.

Cell Phone and Car Charger

For emergency purposes it is important to have a communication device. The charger is to make sure that you have a battery. But who really leaves their house without their phones anyway?

Drinks and snacks

Just an essential to any roadtrip.

Trip Information

Make sure you have all the information you need. You can have it printed on a paper or kept on your phone as long as you can easily pull it up when you need to see it. Include important information such as:

  • Itinerary
  • Reservation details
  • Weather forecasts
  • Accommodation details

Navigation Tools

Nowadays people use their phones or the system in their car as navigation. But just in case GPS or Wi-Fi isn’t working, it’s handy to have a printed map or directions.

Note: if you’re using your phone as a navigation tool, put it in a holder that can be mounted on the dash for safety and also for your convenience. You don’t want your eyes to stray away from the road.

Emergency kit

This includes: a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, tool kit.

Important Documents

This includes:

  • Drivers license
  • Passport
  • Health insurance card
  • Prescription for important medications

Before Leaving for the Trip

With all the excitement because of your trip, make sure you don’t forget things that you have to take care of before you leave.

  • Find a sitter for your pet (if you have any)
  • If you’re going to be gone for a long time it is best to ask some to check your home from time to time.
  • Water indoor plants
  • Unplug electronics
  • Take out garbage
  • And most importantly, lock up