Hit the Road! Planning the Perfect Road Trip

Perfect Road Trip

There is nothing like the open road! Road trips are my favorite form of travel. There is really nothing better than piling a few friends or your family into a car and setting off on an adventure. My favorite travel experiences are all from road trips. As fun as road trips are, they can go wrong quickly if you don’t plan them well.  Planning the perfect road trip is easy if you take the time to do it.

Planning the Perfect Road Trip

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The People

Travel is really about shared experiences.  The people you travel with are one of the most important aspects of any trip. Who are you taking with you?  The perfect road trip requires the right people to enjoy it with.  It is important that you know the people you travel with well.  You are going to be spending a lot of time together in a tight space. Every little annoying habit someone has is amplified a million times over after about four hours in a car together.  On the other hand, people whose company you enjoy will make a trip much easier.  It is amazing how fast time goes by when you are laughing and singing, it makes 10 hours seem like nothing! So choose carefully, the people on your trip will make or break it.

Midtntravel.com Road Trip

The Reason

Travel, and especially a road trip, is often used to celebrate or create change.  It is important to know why you are traveling and what you want out of it.  Are you just graduating from high school or college and celebrating your new found freedom, honeymooning, or are you just escaping from the grind?  No matter why you are traveling, be aware of the reason and incorporate ways to acknowledge that into the trip. Do something romantic if you are honeymooning; something adventurous to celebrate; something restorative to escape.  These are just ideas, the important thing is to be mindful of why you are traveling.

The Destination

The perfect road trip should play out like a story, and every epic tale needs a destination.  Frodo had to get to Mordor, and your traveling band has to get wherever you are going.  Be it the Grand Canyon, a music festival, the beach, or some other amazing destination, having an endpoint guides your adventure.  It gives you something to aim for, a goal to accomplish.  There is nothing like the excitement of reaching your destination after hours or days on the road!

midtntravel.com Ft. Walton Beach Sunset Perfect Road Trip

The Car

Your companions and destination are both incredibly important, but the perfect road trip requires the perfect vehicle.  Smokey’s trip isn’t worth telling without his glorious Pontiac.  Your road trip chariot should be big enough to hold your entire crew and their luggage and still have a little room to move around.  It should be in good running order, and have good tires, fresh oil change, and any other maintenance items that need to be done completed.  Nothing spoils a trip like breaking down. If your car isn’t big enough or reliable enough, a rental car may be the best choice. Be sure to check out Expedia.com for the best deals.

midtntravel.com Perfect Road Trip Car

The Playlist

No road trip is complete without the right music.  The perfect road trip has sing alongs, moments of quiet reflection where you just stare out the window and listen to a great song, and background music to keep out the road noise.  Whatever your style of music, be sure you create a playlist ahead of time so you aren’t stuck trying to pick songs on the road.  I like Spotify, and you can usually score a great deal on Spotify premium so you don’t have to run up your data while you are travelling. Amazon also has a great service called Amazon Music Unlimited. If you are already a Prime Memeber, or and Echo or Dot owner you can get a great deal on this service. You can also try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Days for FREE! There are a lot of great music services out there though, check them out and see what fits your needs best.


The Adventure

Planning is important, but for the perfect road trip, be sure to leave room for adventure.  All of the best experiences happen spontaneously. So, if you try to plan and manage every mile and minute of your trip, you are going to miss out on the best parts. Leave time for detours, explore the crazy roadside attractions.  After all, when is the next opportunity you will have to see the World’s Largest Cedar Bucket, the World’s Largest Fork, or even Dinosaur World?  Leave time for exploration.

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The Memories

Memories from a road trip are important.  You should take pictures, video, keep a travel journal, and collect souvenirs, but don’t let the keeping of memories get in the way of making them.  Try to avoid social media and focus on what is happening right there; be in the moment. You can check Facebook later.  If you must share your pictures, try to do it at the end of the day when you are back at the hotel. Not only will this keep you from being distracted, your hotel probably has wifi and you won’t have to use your data.

The Rest

Know your limits.  If you have never taken a long drive before, it might not be ideal to start with a cross country trip. Make sure you make hotel reservations before you head out.  Not having a place to stay when you are halfway across the country from home can be a bit of a bummer.  When you can avoid chain restaurants and eat local. The food and atmosphere will be exceptionally better (most of the time). Make sure you set aside some emergency cash.  Things happen, and cash goes a long way toward solving a lot of problems you might encounter on the road.

Road trips are as American as apple pie, and I think everyone should take one, or a few.  Sure you can fly just about anywhere in the world in the time it takes to drive a few hundred miles. But, there is something special about taking in the scenery at driving speeds as you cruise toward your destination.  Be Be sure to check out our Road Trip Gear post.  In it, we will include everything we think you should bring with you on the road.

midtntravel.com Perfect Road Trip

38 Comment

  1. Funny I was just talking to a friend about doing a road trip. I’ve mainly flew and can kinda say I have never done one. I drove to NYC from Boston once, but that was it.
    You make a good point as far as making you are with the right company.
    Love the article, now I am urge to start planning one.

    1. You really can’t beat a road trip as a bonding experience with a good friend

  2. This is perfect, because I am actually planning a major cross-country road trip now. I’m taking the family from California to Maryland and back. I have to get a playlist ready!

    1. That sounds like an awesome trip!

  3. My husband and I just took a roadtrip across country. Except we never drove back! We stayed in Tennessee 🙂

  4. I love road trips. You just reminded me that I need to go on one! The playlist is so crucial makes all of the difference. Sets the tone for the adventure! I have had some of my best memories on road trips.

    1. It is my favorite way to travel. I love the freedom that road trips give you.

  5. I love how you included a playlist in your road trip! I’m ready to embark on another one shortly and the playlist is currently being put together. I always know I”m headed to Rocky Mountain National Park when John Denver is playing in the car. A fun post for anyone looking forward to a road trip.

    1. Yes! Rocky Mountain National Park is on our list, and John Denver will definitely be on the playlist.

  6. These are some great tips – I definitely agree with your notes on people and resting. Thanks so much for sharing this! 🙂

  7. I love road trips too. Sometimes the trip itself is more fun than getting to the actual destination!

  8. Very inspiring! Very energetic! Thank you!

  9. Great post! If you don’t have the right company a road trip can become a nightmare same can happen with the playlist (that we usually forget about) but you can always discover new radios or local music (that can also drive you mad!) Thanks for sharing

  10. This is such a great post! It’s funny how the people, the destination, the playlist etc plays a big factor in planning a road trip. I believe once you have all of these things you listed, you can plan the perfect road trip. Thank you so much for sharing!


  11. Recently, I did a couple road trips in Iceland and Scotland, so I can relate to some of the things you mention. The social media one always bugs the heck out of me. Why check your phone when you’re driving through thousands of miles of amazing landscape, towns, backdrops, etc.? Always befuddles me. Great post.

    1. I would love to Road Trip in Iceland! Every picture I’ve ever seen from there is gorgeous!

  12. I may be planning a road trip in the states later this year so this is great advice. Definitely good music and company is very important to make a long driver more enjoyable! Thanks for the suggestions.

  13. wow this is awesome. I want to plan a road trip in the states next year. thank you for sharing your post with us

    1. There is really no better way to see the US!

  14. You’re so right, road trips are great – amazing views with that feeling of being free to turn where ever you want to! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  15. This definitely covers everything you need to consider. It’s hard to say which is most important since they are all pretty important but choose the people you go with wisely is probably most important.

    1. True, the right people can make any trip worth taking!

  16. Some really great tips here, thanks for putting this post together! I think leaving time for adventure is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years. Trying to pack too much into any trip causes nothing but unnecessary stress and missed adventures. 🙂

  17. great advice! Scotland road trips don’t normally last longer than a couple of hours but i would LOVE to roadtrip the US! Thank for the tips and I look forward to your packing post 🙂

    1. Well, come on across! 🙂 The open road awaits!

  18. Road trips in a country like the States and Canada are great, even Australia, because you’re set up for such things.
    I’d love to go road tripping across the States.

  19. Those are some great points! The people are super important to make the road trip a success! If just one of the people is not into the things you have planned, it can ruin the mood for everyone else!

  20. Great ideas! I never really put much thought into roadtrips in the past. I like your suggestions. The trip can be a lot more fun with intentional choices.

  21. We love road trips and agree with these tips. Of course, we are stuck with our companions these days (our family!). We’ve made great playlists and taught our kids all our favourite 80’s songs though as cultural background 🙂 Spotify is great, we use it too.

  22. Great tips! People are definitely the main reason of successful trip above everything!

  23. I absolutely love to drive and road trips are are amazing! I drove from San Diego to Panama and back in a year. All over the US, and love the little out and away places we find! It gives you a freedom you don’t get with backpacking. Thanks for the post!

  24. Awesome post. I live in California and I still haven’t road tripped down the coast. Your tips are giving me a travel itch! 🙂

  25. Road trips are the best!! This is a great post and you cover everything off so well!!

  26. The playlist is super important…I totally agree with that. I always have playlists for my car rides. Thanks for the awesome post!

  27. I’m ready for a road trip now! Let’s go

  28. Whoot!!! I love your list! I also agree playlist is so so important! Keeps you awake ya know!


  29. You take road tripping to the next level – you make it an art! Great tips

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