Road trips for beginners does not have to be scary

Road Trip for Beginners: 7 Easy Steps to Planning a Successful Road Trip

Everyone has to start somewhere. A road trip for beginners can be intimidating, but it’s easier than you think. All you have to do is ask the right questions and be willing to grab ahold of the adventure ahead.

If you’ve been dreaming of hitting the open road and unleashing your inner explorer, look no further. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you plan the road trip of a lifetime.

Packing the car is the last step in planning for a successful road trip

We’ll take you by the hand and lead you through each step, ensuring your journey is filled with breathtaking scenery, spontaneous pit stops, and unforgettable memories.

So, from choosing your destination to packing like a pro, rest assured that we’ve got you covered. Now, it’s time to fasten your seatbelt, roll down the windows, and embark on this adventure in style!

This article may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. All our recommendations are our own and are in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative.

7-Steps to Planning a Road Trip for Beginners

Road trips for beginners does not have to be scary

By following these 7 steps, beginner travelers can ensure a successful road trip. From planning a route and budget to packing efficiently and staying flexible, this comprehensive guide provides essential tips and advice, setting the foundation for a memorable and stress-free journey.

Step 1: Choose a Destination

Choosing the perfect destination for your next family road trip is an exciting endeavor that requires some careful consideration.

Start by discussing everyone’s interests and preferences to ensure a memorable experience for all. Consider the age range of your children and research family-friendly attractions and activities in potential destinations.

Think about the desired travel distance and duration to ensure a manageable journey. Explore various destinations’ unique features, such as national parks, historical sites, or coastal towns, and evaluate their suitability for your family.

Finally, involve your children in the decision-making process to foster excitement and engagement. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the ideal destination that promises adventure and cherished family moments.

Road trip for beginners

Step 2: Set a Budget

Setting a budget for your family’s next road trip is essential to ensure a smooth and stress-free adventure. Start by outlining the significant expenses such as fuel, accommodations, meals, and attractions.

Research the average costs and factor in any additional expenses like tolls or parking fees. Consider creating a contingency fund for unexpected situations. Be realistic and flexible with your budget, allowing room for spontaneity and unexpected discoveries.

Involve your family in the process, discussing their preferences and priorities, and find a balance between affordability and enjoyment. With a well-planned budget, you can embark on a memorable road trip that fits your family’s financial goals and still leaves room for fun and surprises along the way.

BONUS: Tips On How To Save For Your Next Road Trip (even as a beginner)

🐷💰 Create a Road Trip Savings Account: Open a separate bank account specifically dedicated to saving for your road trip. Set up automatic transfers from your primary account to the savings account each month. This way, you’ll consistently set aside money without the temptation to spend it on other things.

🐷💰 Trim Your Expenses: Look for areas in your budget where you can cut back and save extra money. Consider reducing unnecessary expenses like dining out, entertainment subscriptions, or impulse purchases. Redirect the savings towards your road trip fund.

🐷💰 Plan Ahead and Save Gradually: Start planning your road trip well in advance, giving yourself enough time to save. Break down your trip budget into smaller monthly or weekly savings goals. By saving gradually over time, you’ll avoid financial strain and make steady progress toward your road trip fund.

We are excited our car is ready for our road trip

Step 3: Plan the Route

When planning the best route for your road trip, there are several factors to consider to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Start by determining your main destinations and attractions along the way. We did this for our New Orleans to Houston trip recently.

Plot them on a map and identify the most efficient and scenic routes that connect these points. Take into account the distance, road conditions, and any tolls or fees. Consider the preferences and interests of your family members, such as scenic drives, historical landmarks, or unique attractions.

Utilize online mapping tools and navigation apps to find the most accurate and up-to-date route information. Be flexible and open to adjustments based on traffic, weather conditions, and unexpected discoveries. Ultimately, prioritize creating a route that maximizes your family’s enjoyment and minimizes travel stress.

beautiful scenic view on our road trip
Make sure you pick a route that has special sights along the drive.

Step 4: Research Accomodations

BONUS: Our favorite site for discounts (up to 60% off) and hotel comparisons: CLICK HERE

When researching sleeping accommodations for your road trip, it’s important to consider the needs and preferences of your family.

Start by determining your budget and the number of nights you’ll be on the road. Research different types of accommodations, such as hotels, motels, campgrounds, or vacation rentals, and compare their prices, amenities, and reviews.

Take into account the location and proximity to your planned activities and attractions. Online travel websites and booking platforms can provide a wide range of options and user reviews to help you make an informed decision.

My kids love our hotel stops and are no longer road trip beginners
They love the adventure of staying in hotels while we road trip.

Additionally, consider reaching out to friends, family, or fellow travelers for recommendations and personal experiences. You can find the perfect sleeping accommodations that suit your family’s comfort and budget.

Step 5: Prepare Your Vehicle

BONUS: If you need to rent a car, this is a great site to compare prices (and sometimes get up to 70% off): CLICK HERE

To ensure a smooth and safe road trip, it’s crucial to prepare your vehicle beforehand. Start by scheduling a thorough check-up with a trusted mechanic to inspect the engine, brakes, tires, and fluids.

Address any necessary repairs or maintenance to prevent unexpected breakdowns. Additionally, pack essential items such as a spare tire, jack, and basic tools in case of emergencies.

Road trip for beginners
Even with a full car (we have 3 kids), road trips can be great!

An emergency kit with items like a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, and roadside assistance information is also essential. Don’t forget to check your vehicle’s insurance coverage and ensure it’s up to date.

By taking these steps, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your vehicle is in good condition and equipped for any unforeseen situations during your road trip.

Step 6: Pack Smart

Packing smart is key to a successful road trip adventure. Start by creating a comprehensive packing list that covers all the essentials.

Include clothing suitable for the trip’s duration and weather conditions, toiletries, and personal items. Don’t forget snacks to keep everyone fueled along the way, entertainment options like books, games, or music, and navigation tools such as a GPS or maps.

Having a packing list will help a beginner road tripper

Remember to bring necessary documents like identification, insurance papers, and any reservations or tickets. Consider organizing items into separate bags or compartments for easy access and to keep things tidy throughout the journey.

By packing smart and sticking to your checklist, you’ll ensure a smooth and enjoyable road trip experience for the whole family.

BONUS: Our Pack Smart Cheat Sheet

🧳 Best Road Trip Luggage: Click Here

👜 Luggage organizers (life savers!): Click Here

👜 Toiletry Bag (I just got 3 myself!): Click Here

🧴 Travel-size toiletries (cute colors!): Click Here

👟 Comfy shoes (don’t skip this one): Click Here

🕶️ Sunglasses (affordable): Click Here

🔆 Sunscreen (play outside worry-free): Click Here

📱 Kindle/E-reader (download easy reads): Click Here

📚 Catch up on best-sellers: Click Here

📚 Best Roadtrip books for kids (these are awesome!): Click Here

🚗 Car Organizer (MUST HAVE!): Click Here

Step 7: Stay Flexible

Being flexible on a road trip is the secret to unlocking the full adventure and making unforgettable memories. Embrace the spirit of spontaneity and allow room for detours along your planned route.

Sometimes, the most memorable moments happen when you stumble upon hidden gems or unexpected attractions. Take advantage of scenic viewpoints, local festivals, or charming roadside diners that catch your eye.

By staying open to new possibilities, you’ll create a sense of excitement and anticipation, making the journey even more enjoyable. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but the incredible experiences and serendipitous moments that happen along the way.

So, loosen up, embrace the unknown, and let the road guide you to extraordinary adventures.

On our way through Tennessee, we stopped at this scenic photo op.
A recent road trip we took through Tennessee and we stopped to look at this amazing view.

Best Entertainment Ideas: Road Trip for Beginners

A family road trip for beginners offers endless opportunities for fun and entertainment while on the go. To keep everyone engaged and entertained during the journey, pack a variety of entertainment options. Here are our tips:

Travel Games

🎲 The Best Travel Game Ideas: Click Here

Invest in compact and portable travel games such as card games, magnetic board games, or travel-sized versions of classic games like Connect Four or Guess Who.

Audiobooks or Podcasts

🎧 Our Favorite Audiobook App: Click Here

Purchase or download audiobooks or podcasts suitable for the whole family to enjoy during the trip. Choose genres that everyone will appreciate, from adventure stories to educational podcasts.

Tablet or E-Readers

💻 Top Rated Safe Children’s Tablet (Kindle Fire): Click Here

Consider equipping each family member with a tablet or e-reader. This may seem extreme but it’d more doable than you think. With a variety of apps, e-books, games, and movies, your family will have some quiet time to keep everyone engaged.

Travel Journals or Activity Books

📔 Best Travel Activity Books: Click Here

Encourage creativity and engagement by providing family members with a travel journal or activity book. These can include prompts for drawing, writing, or playing games, making the journey even more memorable.

Remember, when you plan a road trip for beginners, more entertainment options the better!

The family getting the car ready for our road trip
Prepping for a road trip can be a family affair

Additional Tips Before Planning a Road Trip

If you are planning a road trip as a beginner, you are in the right place!Asking a lot of questions when preparing for a road trip helps gather essential information, gain insights, and make informed decisions, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.

📅 What day of the week is the best to start a road trip?

The best day to start a road trip depends on various factors such as traffic conditions, personal preferences, and destination.

However, starting a road trip on a weekday, like Monday or Tuesday, often offers less congested roads and lower travel volumes, providing a potentially smoother and less crowded journey.

📅 What months are best for road trips?

The best months for road trips depend on preferences and destinations. Spring and fall offer mild weather and fewer crowds, while summer provides longer daylight hours.

Consider weather, peak seasons, and desired attractions to determine the optimal time for your road trip adventure.

📅 How many hours and miles a day should you drive on a road trip?

The ideal number of hours and miles to drive on a road trip varies depending on personal preferences, comfort levels, and the specific itinerary.

It is generally recommended to limit driving to 8-10 hours or 400-500 miles per day to ensure safety, avoid fatigue, and allow time for rest stops, sightseeing, and enjoyment of the journey.

My boys after a long drive on our road trip
My boys are always ready for a good night sleep after driving 500-miles in one day.

FAQs: Road Trips for Beginners

When my family starts planning a road trip, we are not afraid to ask questions. The best way to learn and plan for success is to have everything prepped in advance.

We never have every detail planned but we have a confident knowledge of what to expect and an excited attitude.

✅ How much money is enough for a road trip?

The average cost per day on a 500-mile road trip can range from $150 to $250, depending on factors like fuel prices, accommodations, meals, and personal expenses.

✅ Do road trips save money?

On average, road trips can be cheaper than other forms of transportation when considering the costs of flights, rental cars, and accommodations. However, it ultimately depends on factors such as distance, number of travelers, and destination.

✅ What is the safest time of day to drive (and avoid traffic)?

The safest time of day to drive and avoid traffic is typically during the early morning hours or late at night when there is less congestion on the roads.

steps to have a successful road trip

Conclusion: Road Trip for Beginners

For a beginner going on a road trip, here are some summarized tips and suggestions to ensure a successful adventure.

Firstly, plan your route and destination based on personal preferences and interests. Set a budget and save extra money for unexpected expenses. Research sleeping accommodations and book in advance.

Prepare your vehicle by getting a thorough check-up and packing essential items. Pack smart with a detailed list of essentials and entertainment options. Stay flexible and embrace spontaneity for unexpected discoveries. Consider the best times to drive and ask questions to gather necessary information.

Jackson Square memories on our road trip to New Orleans

Finally, prioritize safety by driving during off-peak hours and being prepared for emergencies. We are full-time travellers and have tried and tested these 7-steps for road trips. You will do great and have a great time!

Maybe we will see you out there!

Similar Posts