Six Tips for Successful Road Trips

The summer is (just about?) here!  That means at some point this season you may be packing up the car to head out of town for something wonderful.  This weekend my husband and I took a road trip up the East Coast.  A family wedding brought us from Richmond back to my hometown of Buffalo, New York.  Though both Danny and I have made the (8-10 hour) trip many times before, we work each time to try and make it better than the one previous.  Cutting time, however, is not the only factor in making a trip more enjoyable.

Here are six tips we've discovered to make our road trips successful.

1. Understand the needs of your passengers.  Whether it is another adult, a child, or a pet, passengers dictate how your ride will go, so it is important to keep them happy.  For a long drive together in a vehicle, consider bathroom breaks, any stops for snacks or meals, as well as minimizing stiff bodies.  When our girlies travel with us, we need to stop every few hours for a potty and walk break.  Danny likes to stretch his legs on breaks and the restroom is often my most frequent request.  Even simply allowing each passenger and driver music choices can help to make a trip more enjoyable.

2. Plan ahead.  Websites like can help you not only view directions (in case you aren't still a Mapquester...), but you can also see and plan for all kinds of others features along your route.  The "guides" link on provides insights ranging from "Ridiculously Rad Fall Color Guide" to "Full Metal History."  You can also look up towns and cities on your way to find interesting attractions.  Our drive to Buffalo boasts the "country's first spa" and an outdoor sculpture park.

3. Consider road food (and drinks).  Some people like to break trips up into multiple stops and sit down to eat at restaurants along the way.  If this is you and/or your family, take a look at the upcoming towns and options prior to arrival.  Some people grab food to go when they make a quick stop.  Because we are gluten-free (and majorly on a budget), we pack foods and drinks for the road.  Some of our (gluten-free) favorites are:

- water

- coconut water

- gatorade

- iced {passion} tea

- everyday trail mix

- granola

- KIND bars

- pistachios (we go with one bag of unsalted mixed with one bag of salted to cut the sodium)

- apples

- celery and carrot sticks or pepper slices

4. Leave early (and preferably on a weekday).  Leaving early gets the first portion of your drive finished before others meet you on the road.  At the end of our latest trip, we left at 5:30 am, on a Tuesday.  The sun rose with our departure and commuters joined us about an hour and a half after we started out.  Leaving early also allows you to get to your destination earlier.  Whether you've got a day trip planned or want to make it home in time to unpack with sunlight, leaving early helps.

5. Say goodbye the night before.  This is a tip my aunt and uncle discovered and shared with us--and it's brilliant!  If you are visiting friends or family, making time for your farewells the night before can help cut down on extended (or heart-wrenching) goodbyes in the morning, last minute breakfast invites (which can quickly turn into 10:00 departure), and can help you to with tip #4, leaving early--allowing you to get up and get out on the road.

6. Keep a good attitude.  Though this is important for most days (especially those where you interact with other humans), maintaining a good attitude is particularly important when close together in a vehicle for an extended period.  Allowing for compromise in music choices, air conditioning/ window requests, and stops with help to facilitate a better road trip experience.

With the right attitude and a little planning, just about any trip can become a fun and exciting road trip!  Have fun and be safe this summer!

Labels: ,