Planning The Perfect Summer Road Trip

Lexa Pennington's picture

Summer is an extremely popular time of year for travel. And the warm weather makes road trips very common this time of year. Planning the perfect road trip takes a lot of time and effort.

Here are my best tips and tricks to get the most out of your summer road trip. 

Planning The Perfect Summer Road Trip

The best advice I can give for a road trip is to plan

Whether you plan how many miles you want to travel per day, what hotels you want to stay at or the sites you want to see, planning will help your road trip flow smoothly.  If you are planning a trip that needs to take place in a certain time period, it is extremely important to figure out how many miles you are going to travel per day. This is one of the most challenging parts about planning a road trip. Trying to make a realistic assumption on how many miles you are going to travel that includes traffic, stops, and breaks is tricky. Over the years, I have learned that adding an extra hour of time for every drive you take really helps. Doing this will give you a good amount of wiggle room and if you don’t take up the extra time, you have an hour to spare at your destination.

Another important area of planning is the sights you want to see at each stop. Planning this not only helps you figure out when you want to go to certain places, but it gives you something to look forward to. Traveling in a car for long periods of time can be exhausting. It is nice to plan out what you want to see, so you can get excited about your stops along the way. has a great search for finding interesting things to see along the way.

Live in a big city and don't own a car? Renting can be expensive, so smart travelers purchase a car and then sell it, after their trip. An initial investment can lead to big savings.

Activities (and snacks) make your car time enjoyable and go by quickly

If you are traveling with family or friends, stocking up on games will help you have the most enjoyable vacation. I have found that has an awesome selection of car games and activities. This is a key addition to your road trip if you are traveling with young children. Staying entertained can be the difference between an easy or impossible drive.

Also, their recent pantry addition is a great place to stock up on car snacks. An excellent way to save time on your road trip is to pack food, and eat meals and/orsnacks in the car. Though stops may seem like a short break, the time they take can add up quickly. Packing your own snacks and meals is a great way to save money and time on your road trip. 

Pack snacks! From Planning The Perfect Summer Road Trip

Safety first

Staying safe is one of the most important things you can do when you are on a road trip. It is important to make sure your car is in good condition before you leave for your vacation. I recommend taking your car to get a maintenance check a week or so before you leave for your road trip. That way if there are any important problems, they can be fixed in time. If you are traveling with children, it is important to make sure their car seats and booster seats are up to regulation. I have found that is a great resource to check your child’s car seat. They offer a ton of information about different car seats and different vehicles. Before you leave for your road trip, make sure your child’s car seat or booster seat is compatible with your car. Checking your car safety is essential before going on a road trip. This may not always be at the top of your list, but when you are travelling such long distances, it is very important this gets done prior to your trip. 

Where will you go?

My last tip is to pick the destination that is right for you. There is a plethora of amazing different places to visit, so it is important to do your research before you go. I recommend using travel books, blogs, and reading reviews about the places you are looking at. These travel guides and reviews offer real-life experiences that will give you insight about the trip you are about to take, as well as things not to miss (and things you can miss!). 

Planning The Perfect Summer Road Trip

The more you research and plan for your summer road trip, the more relaxing it will be. Summer is the perfect time explore and driving is the simplest way to travel. Road trips can be the vacation of a lifetime. They offer an experience you can’t find anywhere else. Follow these tips to go on the road trip of your dreams this summer. 


What are your top summer road trip planning tips?


Note: this article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2019.