When you are looking at how to plan a road trip, there is a bit more involved than one might initially think. While it seems like you could quickly grab a pair of shades, fill up the gas tank, and hit the road, there are some critical tasks that you will need to complete beforehand and some essential items that you will need to bring along for the ride.

Source: LeStudio/Shutterstock.com

If you are gearing up to hit the road with some friends, family, your dog, or all by your lonesome, be sure to first read through this list for how to properly prepare for a road trip. Bring a filled up insulated water bottle, high protein snacks, and read on for some essential tips.

Pre-Road Trip Preparations

Before you and your crew roll out of town, you must first ensure that your vehicle is in good condition and ready to handle the trip ahead.

Therefore, some tasks you will want to complete include:

Check Your Tires

When taking off for a road trip (and even just driving around town), the importance of proper tire inflation cannot be overstated. When tires are underinflated, the tread wears down more quickly, the handling of the vehicle is degraded, and drivers are at greater risk for blowouts.

Therefore, it is essential to check that your tire pressure is at the correct level before leaving town.

Examine Your Vehicle’s Lights

Please turn on your vehicle’s headlights and hazard lights and look at both the front and rear of the car to ensure they are working correctly. Also, check the blinkers individually (front and back) and brake lights to verify everything is good.

Check Your Brakes

Listen to your brakes carefully to see if you can hear any scraping or squeaking sounds. Also, check to see if you can detect burning smell. If any of these issues are present, you probably need to get your brake pads changed before leaving.

Test Your Air Conditioning

If you are heading out during the warmer months, you will probably need your air conditioning. Please test it out before your trip to ensure that it runs correctly.

Get an Oil Change

Even if you are not due for an oil change, it is always good to get one before leaving for a long drive.

Source: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock.com

Clean Your Car Inside and Out

Since you (and possibly some other people) will be spending a significant amount of time on your ride, it is best to make sure the thing is clean inside and out, so stop by a car wash a few days beforehand.

Plan Out the Trip

While it might seem fun to wing it, road trips are more enjoyable when planned out thoughtfully. That said, take the time to minimize potential stressors by mapping out your route, establishing stops along the way, and scheduling sleeping time at hotels or campsites.

What to Bring on a Road Trip

Like there are certain things you need to do before leaving, there are also specific items you will need to pack for your trip.

Some of the essential things include:

A Rolling Cooler

When you head out for a road trip (especially one that lasts for two or more days), you will need to pack a good number of snacks and beverages for you and everyone else in the car.

Therefore, it is necessary to bring a cooler to keep everything fresh and cool. However, when you stop at a hotel for the night or ultimately get to where you are going, you don’t want to lug the thing around. This means that it is best to purchase a rolling cooler for your trip, as this will make transporting it much easier.

A Roadside Emergency Kit

Even if you make sure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape before you leave, the unexpected can always occur. Because stuff happens, it is essential to pack a roadside emergency kit for the ride. This kit should include jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, a flashlight or headlamp, a window breaker, rain ponchos, etc.

Source: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

A Good Pair of Sunglasses

At the beginning of this piece, we mentioned that there is more to preparing for a road trip than grabbing your shades and hitting the highway. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be needing those bad boys.

Sunglasses are an essential piece of road trip gear as they help you see the road when the sun is in your face, prevent you from squinting, and make you look much cooler. Now that you have a cool-looking pair of sunglasses, you’ll want to snap a few photos of yourself and your pals to remember this adventure. Don’t forget to pack a travel case for your camera to protect it. 

Preparing to Hit the Road

The success of your road trip can often live and die by how well you prepare beforehand. From getting your vehicle in the condition, it needs to be in to bringing along the right items for the ride, getting geared up before leaving is critical for smooth sailing.

Use the outline above to ensure that you are fully prepared for a great time out on the open road.


For more updates visit the Journey index. If you know more about Travel Places, and the best guidance for your trip please visit Journey Index regularly. Our best writers will give you the best solutions and places for your memorable days.