Planning the Perfect Road Trip – Essential Guide

Hitting the road can’t really compare to driving in a city; these two experiences are almost polar opposites. Where city drives usually take no more than 90 minutes, road trips can take hours of non-stop driving which takes its toll on your car. Speaking of wear and tear, the rural terrain can vary from concrete and tarmac, to sand, dirt, rock, etc. and when something breaks down, you probably won’t be a couple of miles away from the nearest shop/tow service, as the case would be in a city.

Carefully planning your exciting excursion, therefore, is the name of the game. There are a ton of things to keep in mind and, even if you follow this guide thoroughly, it’s going to take experience to nail each of them perfectly. So, we better get started!


First of all, think about how many people you can bring along; no, not in terms of space, but in terms of your nerves – a stressed-out driver puts everyone involved at risk. If you think that you can handle three people in the back seat, by all means, do it, but keep in mind that this part might prove challenging. Secondly, if there are some people tagging along with you, make sure that the most skilled driver of the bunch sits in front.

If you aren’t on a schedule, you are free to do as you please, but people are usually in a hurry, so you’re going to need at least a loose itinerary. If there’s a particular schedule, make sure that you add an hour to your estimate of time spent at every location you’re planning on visiting.

You should, at the very least, map out all the places to stay at in the proximity of your route, as it’s always better to spend a night in a comfy place, than in a beat-down highway motel.


Your car is your main tool while you’re on the road; and when you’re not driving, it’s going to be your HQ, so it’s absolutely vital that you make sure everything is working properly. This means giving your headlights, interior lights and indicators a thorough test run. Taking your car to the mechanic is always a good idea – you can triple check stuff such as your fluid levels, brakes, tires, transmission, suspension, etc. but you will never be able to spot everything an expert would. Make sure that you clearly outline the key points that the professional in question should pay close attention to.

If you’re planning on bringing a camper along, ask yourself crucial questions, such as: do you really need it? Is it going to bring you more trouble than good?


First of all, you need to make sure that you’ve packed a first aid kit and a toolbox, and gathered all the necessary emergency numbers, this could end up being a matter of life and death.

Before we move onto the packing list, pay attention to over-packing – in addition to the issue of roadside clutter, your vehicle (and the potential camper) might not be able to pull the weight. This is why it’s absolutely crucial to check how much weight you can tow safely. Not every car is identical when it comes to tow weight (not by a longshot). Each trailer and the vehicle that tows it vary in size, meaning that the rules about the weight limits vary.

Bearing all of this in mind, here’s a road trip packing list:

Health and safety

  • First aid kit
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Emergency roadside flares
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Survival knife
  • Medications
  • Emergency blanket
  • Rope
  • Toolbox
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses


  • Soap
  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Face wipes
  • Tampons
  • Nail clippers
  • Shaving gear

Clothing and shoes

  • Underwear
  • Regular or hiking socks
  • Tights
  • Belt
  • Trainers
  • Towels
  • Hat, scarf and gloves
  • Raincoat


  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Medical passport
  • Visa
  • Flight tickets and info
  • Insurance information
  • Cash + credit cards


  • GPS
  • Physical map
  • Printed directions
  • Travel guide

Personally-specific stuff

  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Ear plugs
  • Accessories
  • Make-up
  • Hair gel
  • Jewelry
  • Perfume
  • Music player
  • Headphones/earphones
  • Chargers
  • Powerbank
  • GoPro
  • Power cord/converters
  • Audio book
  • Playing cards

This covers the basics of planning a perfect road trip. Depending on your preferences and your car, you should consider who you’ll be bringing along and how strictly you’re going to need to adhere to the schedule and the itinerary. Do a thorough checkup and don’t hesitate to take your car to the shop just to make sure that it’s good to go. Consider bringing a camper, pack carefully and, have a nice and safe road trip!