Five Key Tips For Planning Long Car Trips

long road trip

Whether it’s to the next state or the next country, long car trips need plenty of planning. You’ll need food, drinks, power banks… and a lot more things that just can’t fit in a single checklist. But looking up “what you should do before a long trip” can be quite counterproductive sometimes. 

It doesn’t help when you’re just getting more things to do beforehand than you really need. That’s why this is a simple guide on how to plan for long trips -- assuming that you’ll be doing the driving, of course. While you don’t have to be the only driver, you still need to follow these steps to help better prepare yourself for the long road ahead. 

Plan Mental Breaks

When you are going to drive for long hours for at least a day or more, you’ll need a few breaks before and during the drive. It’s easy to get lost in thought while driving along large sections of highways, cruising through without seeing anything but the open road stretching out ahead of you 

However, when this happens, you’re more likely to develop “highway hypnosis” and cause an accident. To avoid this, plan your route with stops where you can have a nice sip of coffee or a snack. Or if that doesn’t work, choose a place with nice scenery. Park up, get out and stretch your muscles. Even a five-minute bathroom break helps if you’re in a huge hurry. 

Careful Route Planning

Sometimes, your trip is going to be on a straight highway that just takes mere hours to drive. Other times, it’s going to be a checkered maze, complete with seemingly-endless road work and traffic jams, and frustrating delays. Whichever the road might be, you should check out what’s there and isn’t there beforehand. 

Will there be gas stations? Recharging stations to plug in hybrid electric vehicles? Water and air? Tow trucks? These are the things you should think about. And be sure to cross-reference these stops on a detailed map, as there might be things you hadn’t noticed before, which might be helpful to know on the way.

Draft a To-Bring Checklist 

Other than planning routes, you should also pack some other vital things for the road ahead. Water, gas, and repair tools should be a top priority. An overheated engine in the middle of nowhere will be troublesome when you don’t have water on your trunk, and that’s especially true when it takes hours before the nearest tow truck gets there.

You should also make sure that you check your personal belongings before leaving. It’s a common chore, and definitely important, but it’s nonetheless something people forget to do all the time. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination, completely worn out from your day of driving, and realize you forgot a toothbrush. 

Secure Laws and Legal Documents 

You probably won’t need a passport while traveling within your own country, but are you sure that your stuff is considered legal wherever you’re going? This doesn’t necessarily refer to contraband, either. For instance, some states have laws that ban having any ornaments dangling from your rearview mirror, and that can lead to a hefty ticket fine. 

In addition to these, you should also do what you’re legally required to do in preparation for your trip, such as getting your paperwork ready. It’s one thing to be stuck with a broken car when you’re three states over and have miles to go before you arrive, but it’s another thing altogether if you get pulled over along the way. 

Pick a Good Gartner

This one is optional, but you might want to think this through nonetheless. You can have all the mental exercises, breaks, and whatever else you do to wake you up on the road. But every once in a while, you are going to lose focus. It’s normal. However, that’s also why you should choose a good person to help keep your energy up from the passenger seat. 

You’ll want them to help out and pass you things if you get hungry or thirsty. And if you need help with the stereo, they could press the buttons to change the station for you. This is also really important if you’re going to drive at night. While you’re busy steering the wheel, it’s their job to point out pedestrians, especially when they’re hard to see. 

When it comes to driving long distances, planning is very important. It’s incredibly crucial, to say the least. There are many ways that things may go wrong, and the vehicle you’re using takes up about half of those. Going longer distances just makes them more obvious and likely to happen, and ultimately, that’s why you should always plan ahead.


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