How To Plan A Road Trip

While conventional vacations were pretty much canceled this past year, road trips remained a relatively safe option for people to get out of the house and explore the country. With summer already here, it’s time to plan your summer road trip experience now!

Even the most spontaneous of us should do some prepping before heading off into the sunset – not only is it a matter of safety, it can hugely increase the amount of fun you have by avoiding hiccups and road blocks (sometimes literally!).

If you’re curious how to plan a road trip in 2021, Inn on the Paseo has provided some helpful tips to keep you safe and entertained on the road.

How to plan a road trip

What’s More Important – Journey or Destination?

This is a crucial decision that you have to make at the beginning of your road trip process, as one will directly influence the other. For example, if you MUST see the Grand Canyon, a road trip down the East Coast won’t work. 

Make a list and write down a couple of places (landmarks, cities, tourist attractions) that you really want to see. This can cover any span of time – on this particular road trip, this year, or in your lifetime! Seeing it all written down on paper can help you visualize a doable road trip that can capture as many of those POIs as possible.

Once you have an idea of where you’d like to go, you can use a handy road trip planner like Roadtrippers to plan out the minutiae of your journey. You plug in your start and ending destination, and it will provide you with amazing information (like approximate fuel cost, total mileage, large landmarks on the way etc) that will vastly cut down on your planning time.


This program even has a handy feature where you can plug in a location (such as Santa Fe, NM) and see attractions, Santa Fe B&Bs, and other landmarks that can help you plan out what you want to see at that particular location! 

What To Bring On a Road Trip?

Roadtripping is a vastly different type of vacation than your normal beach trip, and the packing list may look very different! You also need to be conscious of space, as all of your luggage will need to fit inside your vehicle.

Don’t forget to pack these necessary items:

  • Swiss army knife
  • Car charger
  • Empty gas can (just in case!)
  • OTC medications
  • Solar-powered flashlight
  • Camera (and a Polaroid or disposable camera!)
  • Water bottle with filter
  • Important documents (license, registration, insurance cards, etc)
  • Sunscreen (wear it even while driving!)

Things to Bring on a Road Trip for Comfort

As much as you can plan and pack for the individual places you’re going to be visiting, don’t forget the place you’ll spend the longest time – your car! Here are a few things to pack to make your many hours in your vehicle as comfortable as possible:

  1. Lumbar pillow – Crucial for those with back pain to help with sitting
  2. Small garbage can or bag – You’ll need a place to put your trash while snacking on the go
  3. A curated playlist – Set the vibes before you embark!
  4. Comfortable driving clothes & shoes – Essential for those long stretches on a highway
  5. Sunglasses – Trust us, this is not something you want to forget!

Safety Tips for Road Trips

No matter whether you are road tripping solo or with a group, it is of utmost importance that you ensure your safety during your journey. There are a few steps you need to take prior to leaving in order to mitigate the risk associated with road trips.

Vehicle Check-Up Before Road Trip

The last thing you want to contend with on your road trip is a faulty vehicle. Unless you have a curbside service like AAA, you may find yourself out of luck if you break down on the road in a city you aren’t familiar with.

It is absolutely worth your while to take your vehicle to a mechanic and get a full check-up – this includes services like oil change, tire rotation, etc. You can even tell your mechanic that you are embarking on a road trip so they can thoroughly check for any issues before you depart.

road trip

Book Your Stays Ahead of Time!

There isn’t one right way to spend the night when roadtripping – and there are plenty of options available! To get a great experience, we suggest either camping at a campsite or reserving a room at a local bed & breakfast to get a feel of the town you’re passing through.

Many places have themed B&B rooms that showcase local culture and people – a fun way to learn more about where you are when you’re getting some much-needed rest! The main takeaway is that it is important to book your stay ahead of time to ensure you have a place to rest your head at night.

Many places find themselves booked up on weekends or holidays, and you want to avoid being stranded in your vehicle at night!

Purchase a Vehicle Emergency Kit

You should have a vehicle emergency kit in your car or truck always, but especially during a roadtrip vacation. These packs can be purchased at any major retailer, and contain items that can be helpful in the event of a car or medical issue. 

Check Your Spare Tire

You can also ask your local mechanic to check on your spare tire when you’re getting your vehicle looked at, but it’s super important to not only have a working spare tire in your vehicle, but to also know what to do with it! Once you get the process down, it really isn’t that hard to accomplish. You can have someone show you how to do it beforehand, or wing it with a YouTube tutorial.

Turn On and Share Your Location Before a Road Trip

It is recommended to have someone you trust know where you are when embarking on a road trip, especially if you are going solo. Luckily, there is a feature on most phones that allow for you to share your location with a friend or family member. 

For iPhone users, it is very simply to do so:

  1. Go to your Messages screen
  2. Click on the Contact button and select “Info” to go to an options screen
  3. Here you will see two options – “Send My Current Location” and “Share My Location”:
  4. Select “Share My Location” to turn this feature on – it will stay on permanently until you manually turn off location sharing

Avoid Posting About Your Roadtrip On Social Media Until You’re Home!

As tempting as it may be – especially with apps like Snapchat that thrive on real-time posting – try to avoid posting your road trip stories and pictures until you return home. Unfortunately, posting your cute sunset selfie not only shows people what a great time you’re having, but makes it clear to burglars that you are not home.

It is well-documented that burglars pay attention to these types of posts to target homes for theft. Instead, we recommend creating a private Google Photos album that you can manually share in real-time with close friends and family, and then post your photos to social media once you return!


Have a Great Time!

Road trips are a vacation staple for a reason – it is the most customizable type that exists! You are in control the entire duration of your trip, and that is such an exciting and liberating feeling. We hope these tips help you plan out the road trip of your dreams, and we look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe!

Here’s to Road Trip Adventures in Summer 2021!

Leave a Reply