Tag Archives: road trip planning

An Updated Ten Travel Tips for a Day Road Trip

It’s almost time to get out on the open road on a day road trip. Have you planned ahead? Spontaneity and just getting into the car and going can lead to some great trips no doubt. However there are some things that you should take into consideration before and during your roadie.

Day road trip tips - The Adventures of elATLboy.com

It’s been five years since I wrote my original post on this. The basics have stayed the same. A lot has changed though in terms of technology and in me getting more perspective from additional time on the road. Below is an update on my post and the day road trip tips I have found helpful.

1. Check the weather. The days leading up to a road trip and/or right before you get in the car, head to The Weather Channel website or app and check the forecast. You could also do a simple search like “Charleston weather” in Google, quickly becoming informed. Hmmm let’s see… winter storm? Maybe I should venture there tomorrow instead.

Day road trip tips - check the weather

Follow the weather on your phone throughout your adventure as well. You’ll increase the chances of not running into a sheet of ice (been there), high winds or getting caught up in a deluge of rain. You might change course on the spot. Who knows that could lead to an unexpected adventure and you’ll be safer.

Additional Tips: While you are at it check for major construction along with Googling “<NAME OF DESTINATON> traffic”.

2. Get a good night sleep. A day road trip could last a full 24 hours or more. I look at it like this. The longer you make the day, the further you can travel away from home and double back, meaning the more you can see. I love taking advantage of the extended daylight hours in the summer. If the sleep thing doesn’t work out then you are going to need…

3. …fuel, I mean coffee! Bring some from home. If desperate grab some at a travel center or truck stop ha-ha. As the day goes on make sure to refuel at indie, mom and pop coffee shops along the way. At least that’s my philosophy. I love experiencing something new, sometimes getting tips on things to do from bulletin boards or the locals sipping java inside. Drip Drop Drink in Muskegon is my-go when exploring the beach towns along Lake Michigan in Pure Michigan.

4. Charge, charge, charge. It’s not just you that needs to be fully charged. Make sure your Galaxy 7 or iPhone X and camera are ready to go. You will want to have enough juice to take pictures, post to Snapchat, Instagram live stories, ask for advice on Twitter, etc. Have those chargers and spare batteries, along with a portable power pack or two handy. A lot of people have USB ports in their vehicles these days. Bonus for getting extra juice while you are driving!

5. Fully stock your vehicle. Learning from experience, I make sure to have a blanket, bottled water, extra clothes, wind-shield washer fluid, flashlight, jumper cables, spare tire, emergency snack food, etc. Also check your oil and other fluids, along with your tires.

Day road trip tips - have a spare tire, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables

6. Have navigation help. Some people use Gladys (GPS), but many more gravitate to Google maps on their phone these days. The key is to have them available. Back to the word spontaneity. Make sure to put all navigational aids away at times for adventure sake. When I personally seek help I still like having my trusty, old-fashioned atlas alongside. The Waze app can help here as well.

7. Bring cash including change. You never know when you’ll need it for tolls and parking meters. When you call for help to fix a flat tire or for general 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 McDonald’s or hitting up the vending machine at a rest area. How about a stop at Skyline Chili when road tripping through Cincinnati along I-75?! As far as chains go I will allow stopping at a random Waffle House ha-ha. Some of my best day road trip memories started or ended there.

Day road trip tips - stop at a Waffle House

9. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Hopefully there will be lots of getting out of the vehicle to explore. Some jogging, hiking and climbing could be in order. I once traveled fifteen miles on foot while in the heart of Chicago. With the cost of parking in a big city it’s better to centrally park and use public transportation or walk to everything.

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. There it is yet again, my word of the day, spontaneity. Of course there will be places you marked to experience. You must also be willing to get sidetracked with random finds. The unexpected can be the most gratifying.

day road trip tips - lake mead, las vegas, nevada

Checkout my original day road trip tips post.

Any other day road trip recommendations? I can’t wait to see all of you out on the open road.

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.