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Plan your Ultimate Road Trip Adventure

“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.”

Emma Chase

I believe planning a road trip is just as much fun as taking the trip itself. There is nothing more exciting then the journey that waits ahead and the planning is a big part of that journey.

My family has been taking road trips as long as I can remember. Even as a kid, my sister and I still reminisce about what happened on the trips we took with our parents.

For the past 10 years, we travel in our RV on our open road of happiness. We count the days until we go and planning and packaging bring excitement to what will be.

Before our home away from home, we stayed in cabins and hotels along the way. Today with Airbnb, HomeToGo and Vrbo to name a few, there are so many options to choose for places to stay.

We love the outdoors so most of our destinations are national and state parks as well as mountains and lakes. Here are great tips to have when visiting a national park.

When our kids were younger we always included amusement parks and places for them to enjoy too.

Year after year our travels have become longer and now we play a game, can we beat last year’s trip. As we see more and more of this beautiful country, it’s getting harder to beat the previous trip. However, we try.

Plan your road trip destinations

Adventures begin with ideas. Places that we’ve been but want to go back to and places we’ve never seen before. We begin by writing down all the places where we want to go and what we want to do and see in the area.

With that in hand, we pick this year’s destination and what we will see along the way. We use Travel Thoughts for this, the very beginning of planning.

Things to See and Do

This printable is titled with my kids in mind. I always had a list of what to do in the area we were traveling in. I would plan our days to get the most out of our trip. They called this the “clipboard of fun” as they laughed and made “fun” of me. But they always asked what’s up for tomorrow, mom.

It wasn’t that I wanted everything planned out, I just didn’t want to regret not seeing something in the area that we really wanted to see. We never stayed to the exact plan but just by having some kind of a plan we did get to do and see much more then if we didn’t have a direction.

Vehicle Maintenance

The worst thing about taking a road trip is the thought that you may break down. As you can never guarantee that you won’t break down, a little maintenance on your vehicle before can go a long way. So here is a list of things to check before you leave to make sure your vehicle is in its best working condition.

We travel with an older vehicle (2004 Chevy Duramax Pickup) but having a newer vehicle doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get stuck. So always be prepared and travel with either some tools, if you know how to use them, or some kind of road service.

I’m lucky to travel with “MacGvyer” but we also have AAA of New York for our vehicles and Good Sam Road Assistance for our RV. We have been lucky enough not to need these services but always to be safe than sorry.

Always Be Prepared

The “just in case bag” has been around our family for over 20 years. One of our trips my husband slipped and fell into a waterfall. He didn’t get hurt but did get soaked.

Of course, we were an hour away from where we were staying and wasted half a day going back to get dried clothes. Since then we have always been prepared. This bag is always in the car.

It included the above checklist for every person. And I must say, there isn’t a trip that we don’t use it. We are always prepared for whatever!

Road Trip Meal Planning

This is easy with an RV. We prepare our meals and just pack them in the refrigerator. It’s a little more difficult without it but is still very doable.

Let’s face it, eating out 3 meals a day with a family (or even just 2 people) can get expensive. When we didn’t have our RV, we brought a propane camp stove and an electric frying pan. We also had a picnic basket filled with all the stuff needed to prepare easy meals on the road and a cooler, of course.

Remember, it’s a vacation so try some of the local restaurants and foods of the area.

Road Trip Snack Ideas

It’s a long day on the road so packing snacks is a must! You also need to pack healthy snacks and plenty of water. It’s important to stay hydrated and also important to stop and get out of the car and walk around.

Below is a list of some snacks to take along.


When on the road we never make reservations. When we are starting to get tired and feel ready to stop we figure out where we are staying for the night.

I use the book “Next Exit” (there also have an app). It has every interstate listed by state and it includes gas stations, restaurants, hotels, campgrounds and other stores at every exit. It’s a MUST have when traveling!

As much as we wing it when on the road we always make reservations for our destinations.

A few years back we purchased our dream travel trailer from Wyoming. We drove from New York to pick it up. It was a road trip of a lifetime for us.

We saw so much along the way, staying in hotels each night and campgrounds on the way back. However, we did reserve a site at a Rocky Mountain National Park campground, our main trip destination.

Below are checklists for help when making your accommodations.

The last 2 checklists I’ve included in this pack are basic packing list of clothes and gear you don’t want to forget.

Print your Free Trip Planner

Be sure to download this free printable planner to begin your Road Trip Adventure!

So get out there and see the world not from a plane but from the road!

And PIN this article to your Road Trip/Bucket List Board on Pinterest!

Road trip planning printables

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28 thoughts on “Plan your Ultimate Road Trip Adventure”

      1. I’ve never really been on a roadtrip, but desperately want to. This thorough planner will go a long way to giving me the confidence to finally go for it.

  1. These are super helpful! I always worry I’m not planning well enough. Thanks for the free downloads to try!

  2. Great tips and checklist! We once broke down during a holiday weekend in Amarillo. Other than my friend having to pay thousands to fix her truck, it was a fun experience!

  3. I love your checklists! My husband did a road trip across the Southwestern US last summer (We did Moab, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and Zion) and it was a LOT. We really could have use these!

    1. Last summer went from New York to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, We loved every minute of it. I really don’t mind being on the road at all, actually I love it.

  4. This is so good! My husband and I went on a road trip last year and we could have definitely used these printables. We’ll see about using them this year if we go on another one. Thank you!!

  5. This is an awesome post. I especially like all the checklists you’ve come up with…Makes me want to plan a roadtrip now, to escape the Covid stay at home dilemma!

    1. Thanks and agree Covid has stopped a lot of people including me from traveling this year so start your 2021 plans early!

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