Ten Travel Tips for a Day Road Trip.

It’s the night before your going to hit the open road on another day road trip.

Day Road Trip - Ohio, Michigan state line in the country

Have you done any planning? Though I believe the best trips are spontaneous and unplanned, there are some things that should be considered before and during your day on the road. Some tips of things I have found helpful:

1. Check the weather. The days leading up to or the night before your thinking of traveling, go to a website like The Weather Channel and check the forecast. Hmmm let’s see… if I decide to drive to Philly tomorrow a lunchtime arrival seems ideal.

Day Road Trip - Checking the weather

Also, while you’re traveling if it’s looking dicey outside follow the weather on your smart phone. You’ll increase the chances of not running into a blizzard, high winds or getting caught up in a deluge of rain. You might alter your plans accordingly. Well than again, that might add to the adventure haha!

2. Speaking of the night before, try to get a good night sleep. A day road trip could sometimes last a full day or more. 24 hours? I look at it this way. The longer you make the day, the further you can travel away from home and get back and the more you can see. You gotta love the longer days in the warmer months. If the sleep thing doesn’t work out then your going to need…

3. …fuel, I mean coffee is what you need! Whether it be from home, at a travel center or truck stop or Starbucks (if they open early), there’s nothing like starting off with a great cup of java. As the day goes on make sure to refuel at unique, mom and pop coffeehouses along the way. At least that’s my philosophy.

Grabbed a peanut butter mocha from The Wormhole Coffee in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. The fuel needed after a drive before starting to explore the city.

Day Road Trip - The Wormhole Coffee, Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago

4. Charge, charge, charge. It’s not just you that needs to be fully charged. Make sure your smart phone, camera, tripod, etc. is ready to go. You’ll wanna have enough juice to take those pictures, Foursquare check-in, Tweet, post to Facebook, etc. Have spare batteries and bring your chargers so you can recharge whenever you have a chance. Gotta get that cigarette lighter fixed in the vehicle!

5. While getting all your gizmos and gadgets charged you should also check the inventory in your vehicle. Make sure you have a blanket, bottled water, wind-shield washer fluid, flashlight, jumper cables, spare tire, snack food, etc. Also consider getting an oil change and all your fluids checked.

Vehicle supplies from a Day Road Trip

6. Have navigation help. Lot’s of people have Gladys (GPS) directing them now days. Others use their smartphones to guide. At times they’re helpful, but using them constantly takes all the fun and mystery out of a trip. When I do seek help I’m still a little old-fashioned, carrying around my atlas and travel maps. I guess it traces back to being the navigator with all my maps on family trips. In general some form of navigation can be helpful in case you get lost.

Day Road Trip - Atlas, Travel Guides and State Maps

7. Bring cash including change. You never know when you’ll need it for tolls, parking meters, to buy a local newspaper (yeah I still do that too). When you call for help to fix a flat tire or for road-side assistance, a lot of the time cash is the only payment option.

8. Hit the road on an empty stomach. You can snack and have your coffee, but be hungry and ready to eat so you can try some local cuisine. It’s not a day for fast food stops. A Primanti Brothers sandwich in Pittsburgh, now we’re talking!

Day Road Trip - Primanti Brothers sandwich, Pittsburgh

9. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Hopefully there will be lots of getting out of the vehicle to explore. Some jogging and photo-running could also be in order. I traveled fifteen miles on foot on my last day trip to Chicago. With the cost of parking in the big city it’s better to centrally park and get to everything on foot.

Day Road Trip - Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio

10. Even with planning as described in the tips above make sure to have semi-plans. In other words be out there on the open road with an open mind. Things will never go as planned. Be willing to get sidetracked with new discoveries. The unexpected can be the most thrilling.

Going on a day’s worth of travel and discovery is unbelievable. Who knows what you’ll start seeing and discovering as soon as you leave your local area. I hope I’ve given some tips that will help make your next day road trip fun and a success.

Day Road Trip - New Zealand, South Island near Lake Tekapo

What other tips and advice do you have for those looking to go on a day road trip? For any kind of road trip? I hope to see you out on the open road.

10 responses to “Ten Travel Tips for a Day Road Trip.

  1. Great tips…especially the empty stomach one. Hey were was the “Ohio Welcomes You” pic taken? I swear I’ve seen that spot before…

    • Thanks! That’s M-52 at the Ohio/Michigan border. Adrian, Michigan is just off to the north. πŸ™‚ Loved seeing a welcome-to state sign on a two lane country road!

  2. I swear by the Delorme Gazetteer books. The GPS is great, but these atlas-style books for each state usually include lists of parks, unique natural features, wineries, historic sites…depends on what state book you have. I’ve worn out multiple Michigan books and several Ohio books. I don’t leave home without one.

    • I’ve checked out the Gazetteer books from time-to-time for various states. Should look at them more. πŸ™‚ I always seem to be replacing my atlas and my other travel materials definitely get worn out too.

  3. Great tips, Aaron, but let’s be real. What I really want to know is more about the peanut butter latte and that sandwich. Yummmm!

    • Thanks Leah! If you like great coffee and sci-fi, Wormhole Coffee in Chicago is the place to go. They have a “Back to the Future” DeLorean right in front. Was told to get the peanut butter mocha, didn’t disappoint yum. πŸ™‚

      Primanti Bros. is reason enough to go to Pittsburgh. Fries, coleslaw, egg all in the same sandwich, can’t beat that. The pic is a Reuben with all those things. Can’t wait to get another!

  4. You’ve got some great tips here, Aaron! I love #8, haha! πŸ˜€ Looking at the picture of your supplies in the trunk I realize that I haven’t been that good about that… At least I always get an oil change before heading out on a long ride. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Pola! Haha. Gotta save room for great local eats and more-and-more these days, local coffee. πŸ™‚ I’m always adding to the list of things I always want to have in the vehicle, you never know.

  5. A peanut butter mocha!? I’m so thankful for the blogging community for introducing me to things such as this πŸ™‚ Love this post. Hittin’ the open road with an open mind.

    • Love the peanut butter. The Nutella Mocha and latte’s I have had are yummy too. Thank you Kate! πŸ™‚

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