How to Prepare for the Perfect Road Trip

Taking a road trip? Here are some planning tips for a smooth adventure. 

For a smooth trip, plan your route ahead of time unless, that is, you enjoy serendipity. Here are five tips to turn travel into fun.

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A road trip combines the thrill of the open highway with the comfort of your own car. A little advance planning can save you money, spare you headaches, and keep you rolling smoothly even when the road gets rough. Consider these suggestions before you pile the gang into the car.

Tune ’er up.

Nothing can spoil a road trip like car trouble. Make sure your vehicle is in shape for the drive with a visit to a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop. You’ll get a free vehicle inspection with any paid service (such as a pre-trip oil change or tune-up). If, despite your preparations, you need a mechanic en route, there are more than 7,000 approved shops in North America.

Make a realistic budget.

Before you hit the road, calculate what you can reasonably afford to spend each day. Restaurant meals and lodging add up quickly, but AAA can help with discounts on hotels, museums, amusement parks, and more.

Pack snacks.

You’ve refueled the car, but what about the passengers? A car-size cooler stocked with sandwiches, fruit, and drinks will help cut down on expensive, time-consuming pit stops and keep you from filling up on gas-station junk food.

Stay flexible.

The best road trips aren’t just about traveling from point A to point B. Stay open to adventure. Sometimes there’s nothing like a detour to remind you that the journey to your destination is half the fun.

Get the most from your road trip with a AAA Membership. Not a Member?

This article was first published in 2015 and updated in 2018. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.