Post Summary: Road trip planning, pro travel tips, apps, planning tools
It’s no secret that travel plans are all up in the air right now, and many of you have probably had to cancel plans you’ve been looking forward to for months. The beauty of road trip planning is that you can save it for any time. Use this free time to really craft some epic road trips for this summer/fall with these tips!!
1 PICK A REGION
I have found the easiest road trip planning is if I pick a desired endpoint or focal point for the road trip so that you can build around it. Otherwise, I can easily get sidetracked with destinations along the way and then run out of time for the place I originally wanted to go.
An example of this would be my Utah road trip to Capitol Reef National Park. I knew my start and end point were both at Las Vegas airport. Plotting an end point allowed me to create a loop road trip that was full of variety and balance.
HOW TO PICK A DESTINATION
I find my travel inspiration a few ways.
- Instagram – create saved folders of places that spark your interest. I will look at various hashtags and location tags to find State specific destinations and then check to see if any of them are in the same area using google maps.
- Pinterest – this browser has a multitude of road trip checklists/bucketlists and links to blogs that will give you more inspiration
- Google Earth – use this app to find places that strike your fancy that you might not have seen on social media before. These places may involve research, a guide and multi-day backpacking trips.
- AllTrails – this app allows you to discover trails, read reviews and see pictures from other hikers!
2 DECIDE ON A SCHEDULE
This is really important if you are traveling with others. Having clear communication up front makes for a more enjoyable trip together. When you plan your next road-trip Discuss:
- How many hours you can tolerate driving each day
- How many hours of sleep you need
- How many meals do you want to stop for
- How much walking/hiking is reasonable each day
- Be sure to check out the average temperature and rainfall/snow for the month you plan to go
3 PLAN THE ROUTE
This is my favorite part. It’s like a game of tetris to me, fitting pieces of the road-trip perfectly together. Depending on the type of trip I use a few different programs to plan my road trip.
I like to first input everything in google maps to get an idea of the travel time between destinations. After this step you can break it apart into each day. A lot of people don’t know that you can add multiple stops on google maps on your phone! Tap on the 3 dots in the upper right hand corner and then tap on add stop. You can add quite a few stops before it cuts you off. On a laptop/desktop there is a plus sign below where you input your destination to continue adding locations.
This program is both on the web and in app form and can be used to plan everything. You input your preferences and then it does the work for you, even down to where you should book lodging (has lodging preferences, pet vs no pet) and where to get gas. This is a great tool if you want a rigid schedule with lots of help planning. I like to use this as a guideline sometimes.
- Download maps on Maps.me or through google maps to ensure you have your route if you lose cell service
- Check to see if your rental car has a mileage cap or if it is unlimited miles. Plan accordingly!
- Download your itinerary (I input all confirmation codes for flights, car rentals, and lodging into google sheets) that way you have access at all times to your plans and vital info.
There are many different lodging options depending on your personal preference, the season and region you will be traveling in!
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM land) is public land space that can be used for recreation and camping, typically with no facilities.
- Freecampsites.net is a great tool to find camping land and BLM land
- Airbnb has great options for glamping, trailers, cabins and private rooms depending on your preference and budget! If you sign up for Airbnb with my link, you will get up to $55 off – HERE
Needs some inspiration? Check out my blog post HERE on my rather spontaneous trip to Utah when our plans to go to Havasupai were cancelled!