Five Common Road Trip Planning Mistakes And How to Avoid Them

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Are you planning to hit the road for an epic road trip?

Don’t fall prey to the following mistakes, which could derail your solo road trip in America

Although part of the fun is the spontaneity and freedom it provides, a bit of advance road trip planning can help prevent you straying off budget or ending up with car troubles in the middle of nowhere.

Road trip planning mistakes to avoid

Here are some simple tips to consider next time you’re in the planning stage of your next adventure.

Failing to Do Your Research

There’s a certain romanticism to hopping in the car without a destination or care in the world, but in most cases it’s better to research your route.

With the ease and availability of the Internet, it’s easier than ever.

road trip planning
Road trips are fun when you do a bit of advance planning

Find out where the rest stops are and research accommodation options before you leave, and you can avoid getting stranded.

Travel booking sites can help you compare prices and amenities to find the best deals, and you may receive a greater discount for booking in advance.

Researching your route will also ensure that you don’t miss out on any attractions off the motorway.

Trying to See Too Much

While it’s great to plan ahead, you can also take this too far and try to cram too many sights into one day.

You won’t be able to relax if you’re on a tight driving schedule, so give yourself plenty of time to make spontaneous stops or account for bad traffic or weather issues.

By just doing a little road trip planning in advance, you will be sure to see exactly what you want in the areas you will be traveling through.

Better to take extra time at your must-see destinations than rushing through multiple sites.

Driving an Impractical Car

There’s nothing like driving on the open road in a sporty convertible, but for longer term or family trips you’ll probably want something a bit roomier and with decent fuel economy.

some road trip planning in advance let's you enjoy the ride
Some road trip planning in advance let’s you enjoy the ride.

Typically, the “right car” you choose for your road trip will be the car, minivan or truck you already own.

Always have your car serviced before you set out.

Not many of us have the luxury of choosing from among several vehicles.

But things to consider if you do have that luxury or if you are renting a car for your road trip, are:

The number of passengers you’re travelling with

Distance you are traveling

Type of terrain you’ll be crossing

If you are going to be towing a boat, 4-wheelers, trailer, etc.

For example, Toyota cars may be well suited for long distances due to their fuel economy and high safety ratings, but you might want to road trip in a Land Rover if you plan on off-roading.

Read car reviews to find the right fit.

You’ll also need to have room in your vehicle for emergency supplies and packing essentials.

Have a bin with extra water, first aid kit, snacks, and emergency survival blankets.

Under-Budgeting

It’s easy to underestimate just how much a road trip can cost.

We often think of driving as the wallet-friendly way to travel, in comparison to soaring air and rail costs.

prepare in advance for your road trip
Be prepared on your road trip

However, the cost of fuel, food, and accommodation can really add up over the course of a few days.

And remember the small things like ATM fees, car rental fees, taxes, tips, hotel service charges, or other unexpected costs.

Give yourself an adequate safety net of an additional $25 – 50 per day so you don’t find yourself struggling to pay for the journey home.

Not Bringing a Backup Map

In this day and age, it’s easy to rely on your car’s built-in satellite navigation or smartphone apps to get from here to there.

However, these may not always be reliable, and if you’re travelling to remote areas, you may not get a signal at all.

Always bring an old-fashioned paper map or road atlas to help guide the way.

maps for your road trip

You may stumble across a scenic detour this way, or find ways to avoid impending traffic jams.

Teaching kids about maps

And if you are traveling with kids, teaching them about maps — in a tangible way — can really broaden their world.

Let them see how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

Everything is electronic now, so it’s nice for them to experience a back-to-the-basics look at how to use a map.

By planning ahead and preparing for the unexpected, you can make sure that your next road trip runs smoothly.

The open road can always bring surprises, so try to be prepared and roll with the punches for a stress-free journey.

Travel Dreams Vs Travel Plans

I was talking to a friend the other day about traveling, I was sharing my big travel plans and she was sharing her dream travels.

We were talking about the same thing, only I called it a plan while she called it a dream.

Travel Dreams Vs Travel Plans
Travel Dreams Vs Travel Plans

It’s only a word, but there is a lot lying behind it – I believe that by thinking of your travels as dreams, it will take you so much longer until they become a reality.

A dream doesn’t provoke you to take action, it just lies there on a pink cloud in your head.

A dream is just a place you sometimes escape to when life gets too dull and you need that escape.

We all have dreams, but few of us ever get to see them come true.

I think a lot has to do with the way we look at things – our perspective.

If we accept to leave plans as dreams we won’t even try to make an effort to achieve it and turn it into a reality.

A dream is almost something that isn’t supposed to come true, because, well – it’s a dream!

Someone once told me that dreams that always came true were no longer dreams.

She said she wanted to keep her dreams as dreams because if they came true she wouldn’t have anything to dream about anymore.

I think that the reason why some of us don’t follow our dreams is because we don’t believe in ourselves enough that we can actually do it, and we are afraid of failure.

You have a choice, and which one you choose depends on what you value the most.

If you take a risk you might fail, but you might also succeed.

If you never take a risk, you will never fail, but definitely never succeed either.

I believe that if you just change a few words in your head, and think of your dreams as plans, it’s more likely to happen.

When you have a plan, you have already taken the first step to action.

So what are your PLANS?

Tomorrow is the start of another year, have you taken the time to write down what you would like to achieve?

What’s On Your Travel Bucket List?

It’s travel bucket list time, and we need to start planning and dreaming of everything you want to fill the travel bucket list with; all the things you want to experience, places you want to visit and cultures you want to explore.

See the cool video below regarding a project they had interviewed people in London, Paris and Rome about travel.

They asked them questions such as “how would you ideally fill the book of your life with travel stories?” “what makes you feel alive whilst travelling?”.

It’s a great video and a good inspiration for those putting together their bucket lists.

It’s a time to take a good look at your life and the direction you’re going, get back on the right track and finally do all the things you’ve dreamed of doing.

So for all of you who make the excuse of not having the money to pay for your travels, here is your chance – and while you’re at it, make a goal so stop making excuses 😉

Travel Bucket List

Here are some places on our travel bucket list

Japan

While we really wanted to go to Japan last spring, after watching “Japan’s Wild Secrets” on National Geographic we want to go there more now than ever before.

We are tempted to jump the gun and book our hotel in Tokyo for a week within the next year or so.

Israel

From skiing on Mount Hermon to swimming in the dead sea, Israel’s compact size has a huge variety and a vibrant culture.

We would love to explore the diversity from the cosmopolitan party city Tel Aviv to the traditional country side.

Italy

Italy is home to some of the most beautiful places in Europe, we doubt that we will ever feel finished with this country.

Sicily’s volcanic landscape, Tuscany’s purple fields and Cinque Terre’s cliff-clinging villages and rugged coastline are the places we most want to visit.

Morocco

Some hate it, others love it, but I say take it all with a pinch of salt.

Morocco is an interesting country, and the blue town Chefchaouen would be awesome to see.

Fall In Love With Morocco

Iceland

Few places are as diverse and beautiful as Iceland, and we have been wanting to go there for a long time.

What’s in your travel bucket list?

Checkout or Travel Guide to help you plan your Round the World Trip

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(photo credits: gipasotraspaso – (Photo credits: 1 – 34)

2 thoughts on “Five Common Road Trip Planning Mistakes And How to Avoid Them”

  1. I absolutely agree with number 2 that seeing too many things can ruin your road trip. People should be definitely more spontaneous and stop pushing themselves. Last time I was sticking to my “must-see” list and we were stressed about not seeing them all and it wasn’t that much fun :-(!

  2. Some great tips! I completely agree with point 5 – “not bringing a backup map”. As much as I love technology, you can’t always rely on it to work, so you should always have a Plan B. Ideally you should also carry some tools and have a breakdown recovery policy plus snacks, water and a climate-suitable sleeping bag, if you get stranded; obviously in colder weather this is super-important and could save your life.

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