The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Road Trips

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to get around and travel quite comfortably. Nothing compares to traveling on my own terms. The reasons are a no brainer for me. Stop when you want, extend the rest period or even adjust timing to your needs when possible. Yes, it may not be the quickest mode of transportation but you don’t need to adhere to any strict luggage restrictions. #Winning

Preparation is key. You need to make sure you have everything you need before hand for your peace of mind. Here are some of my road trip hack that you can easily incorporate into your planning for the long weekend. Make the most out of the upcoming Labor Day or any road trip you have coming up.

Munchies – Prep Yo’self Before You Wreck Yourself

Snacks are one of the most important elements of a road trip. Stocking up on fave food items not only saves you money during the trip but it guarantees you consume what you enjoy. Splurging on empty calories and settling on unsavory snacks at ridiculous prices can be avoided. Instead bring snacks that are easy to share and consume while driving such as raw almonds, fruit, snack bars and sandwiches. I try to avoid fast food joints as much as possible because the food doesn’t agree with my stomach. The last thing I want to deal with on a road trip is an upset stomach.

I also bring plenty of filtered water to hydrate, green tea for the caffeine kick after the coffee is long gone and sometimes soda. This is a guilty pleasure to keep that energy amped but it needs to be the Mexican Coca Cola. We only allow ourselves to indulge every now and then so it better be the real thing! You have not lived if you have never tried this before. It is made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.

No Nonsense Entertainment

Make sure you are set with plenty of content to keep you going throughout your road trip. Sure there is always time for talking and music but sometimes a great podcast or audiobook will do the trick. Don’t know about you but not a fan searching endlessly for radio stations while we cross city and state lines. It can get old pretty quick besides I am not a fan of static on the radio.

I enjoy downloading some podcasts we both enjoy to keep it interesting. My faves are ones where I can learn about new topics with a twist, thought provoking investigations and some old school storytelling. Podcasts are always a great way to learn something new and discuss afterward. Great way to avoid lags in conversation when everything has already been said before.

Some of my fave podcasts are: Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know,Tanis  The No Sleep Podcast and El 86 Podcast to name a few because the list could go on and on.

The O’ $hit Bag / First Aid Kit / The Essential Road Trip Kit

Call it what you like but a safety bag is a must when prepping for a road trip. Accidents are not planned. They tend to occur when we least expect them or even want them to happen. A little planning can go a long way so can tackle any obstacles.I have a permanent safety bag filled with first aid items and other essentials at all times in my trunk. This gives me peace of mind and also I can deal with anything that comes my way. Instead of switching out each season I am already prepared by updating any items that are needed.

First Aid Kit
  • Bandages
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Disposable Wipes
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Snack Bars
  • Water
  • Blanket
  • Trash Bags
  • Napkins
  • Glow Sticks
  • Pen & Paper
  • Jumper Cables
  • Warning Triangles
  • Basic Tools

Fill up the Tank & Save Money with the Right Reward Programs

Fill up that tank before you head out. While it may be tempting to figure that out along the way, a full tank can save you a lot of time, money and stress on your road trip. Keep in mind that unexpected detours and traffic can suck the gasoline right out of your tank. I have two reward programs that I use frequently to save money on gasoline, the Kroger Plus and the Plenti reward programs. The Kroger Plus program accumulates fuel points based on the money spent on groceries while the Plenti program accumulates points that can be redeemed for money applied to the bill. The Plenti card accumulates points at a variety of stores that but I choose to redeem for gasoline.

Map it Out

Google Maps is my favorite mapping app by far. It helps me determine the best route possible considering time, routes and road conditions. Our car has a navigation system but it doesn’t take into consideration any unexpected road conditions such as traffic, accidents and road work. Also, the car’s navigation system will not automatically re-route you. If you miss an exit or turn it literally expects you to turn around. It will continue to tell you to turn around until you do. This is pretty annoying and gets old quick since turning around is not always the best, easiest or only option.

I don’t know about you but I am guilty of not checking up on any construction work we may encounter. It always seems to catch up with me on the way and since things also change we constantly reference the map. This is definitely a two person job so the captain/navigator is tasked with double checking along with making sure the temperature is ideal, the entertainment is kicking and the driver has all his needs met 😀

A lot of other folks stick to Waze. It has a lot of the same features as Google Maps but I find it easier to use Google Maps. At the end of the day, it’s all about the preference.

Plan the Pit Stop

Pit stops are a necessity during road trips. It doesn’t matter how much you plan nature calls when it wants to. When you gotta go, you gotta go. Guessing when the next rest stop will be is not fun when your judgment is clouded by the fact that you have to go. We discovered the USA Rest Stops app a while ago and it has been a total game changer. If offers peace of mind when you have to go and it also will give you an idea of when is a good time to take a break. Stretching out your legs and giving your bum a rest is important to keep that blood circulating correctly.

You can easily scope out the app to find out about the upcoming rest stops to determine when to stop. The app allows you to search by state, map view or even location-based on what is near you. Search by state, map, location-based to figure out where is the closest rest stop and even favorites. The app even provides rest stop details such as hours of operation and reviews so you know what to expect if you are traveling with pets.

Search Instagram for Restaurants

Instagram is my favorite social media but I have other uses for aside from sharing my pictures and connecting with people. I enjoy researching information on destinations and restaurants because it helps me discover restaurants from the people’s perspective. It’s an authentic approach to see how people enjoy that restaurant and the food.  This helps me narrow down where I want to eat once I reach my destination.  Yelp mostly provides detailed technical information on the hours of operation, menu, and reviews. Keep in mind that not everyone takes time to write reviews on Yelp unless it was an extreme experience, good or bad.


Planning is essential to any trip. – Image courtesy of Michał Grosicki

These are some of the items I check off my list while planning an epic road trip. Hope this helps you plan out that last holiday weekend of the Summer before we head back to reality and our regular routines.  Please share with anyone who needs to incorporate some travel hacks for their next road trip.

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