Road Trip Planner: How to Plan a Road Trip

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Planning a road trip can be fun, but daunting. Whether you love visiting National Parks, enjoy photographing world’s largest roadside attractions, or just like taking long drives, you’re going to want a plan. This road trip planner walks you through all of the things you need to think about before and during your trip to have the best time possible.


How to Plan Road Trip Stops

Planning a road trip isn’t as hard as it may seem. All you have to do is figure out where you’re going, how you want to get there, what you want to see along the way, and where everything you want to see is in relationship to one another. Easy, right? It really is! With the road trip planning tools below you’ll be able to visualize your route, plot multiple stops, and have a solid plan (and interactive map) that will take you the long way (purposefully).

How to plan a road trip with Google Maps - woman pointing at a road map with a camera, passport, and laptop

How to Plan a Road Trip With Google Maps

Google Maps is a perfect vehicle for planning a road trip with stops. This free tool is basically a road trip planner with stops that allows you to plan for as many detours as you want, while being able to visually see what types of stops you’re stopping at and how important they are to you to see. Read my guide for how I plan a road trip with Google Maps.

Join Our 5 Day Road Trip Planning Challenge

Need a little extra nudge to get started planning your road trip? Join our challenge! Sign up below and in just five days you can have your entire route planned!


Plan a Road Trip with Roadtrippers Plus

Road trip planning apps can be a game-changer. With a road trip planner app like Roadtrippers Plus, you can plan long trips, find epic stops, collaborate with friends, and access your trip on the go. It’s an all-in one solution for planning the best road trip you can. Sign up now and get $5 off with promo code SILLYAMERICA.

Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas Route 66 roadside attraction

Let Me Plan Your Road Trip For You!

Are you planning a big week-long road trip and not sure where to start? Do you always wish you could find more cool stops along your road trip route? Have you ever seen someone’s photos of the world’s largest ball of paint and thought, “how did I miss that?” If you’ve ever thought, “I wish someone would just plan my road trip for me,” I’m here to help. Let me be your road trip planner.

What to Do and See on a Road Trip

Are you wondering what exactly to do or see on a road trip? Really, there are no right or wrong answers. I LOVE roadside attractions so I plan all of my road trips around find the silliest things I can find on the roadside of America. But other people love hiking National Parks, camping, visiting big cities, or one of a million other options. Still, no matter how you like to road trip there are a few common themes. Explore the links below for more ideas about what you can expect to see or do on our road trip.

Sinclair Gas Station Dinosaur in Sinclair, Wyoming home of the Sinclair Refinery | Wyoming Roadside Attractions

Things to See on a Road Trip

If you’re planning a road trip and wondering where you can expect to stop, read on for some ideas and inspiration.

Road Trip Essentials Guide ? Our Top Road Trip Gear List

What To Do on a Road Trip

Need inspiration for what to do one a road trip? Here are 30 ideas to help you plan an epic journey!

Make a Road Trip Packing List

Packing for a road trip can be daunting. On one hand, you aren’t limited by TSA weight or size restrictions so you can be more loose with your packing than you could be on a flight. On the other hand, a plentiful trunk and no rules to abide by can mean lugging around unnecessary things. And, in any case, you might still forget something.

Don’t worry if you do forget something! Picking up stuff on a road trip is as easy as taking an exit to a CVS, Walgreens, or Target. Believe me, even as good of a packer as I’ve become, I always need so stop at some point to pick up something I forgot. But, starting with a good packing list will limit those extra stops, and extra money, brought un by poor planning.

Ultimate Road Trip Packing List: What to Pack For a Road Trip Checklist | Hitting the road and trying to figure out what to pack for a road trip? We’ve compiled this ultimate road trip packing list to get you organized.

Ultimate Road Trip Packing List

Your road trip packing list should be thorough, yet concise. It should take into account how long you’ll be on the road, where you’ll be going, and what you’ll be doing on the way, all while balancing your ultimate needs for keeping safe and smart on the road. Explore our ultimate road trip packing list for a thorough idea of what to pack for a road trip.

There is an endless list of things you should pack for a road trip. But what are some fun things to pack on a road trip?

Fun Things to Pack for a Road Trip

Clean underwear. An extra set of car keys. Your drivers license. Once you have those road trip packing essentials down, there will probably still be room in your trunk for something fun. Check out our list of fun things to pack for a road trip.

Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture in Minneapolis, Minnesota | Giant Spoon and Cherry Roadside Attraction at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minnesota

What to Wear on a Road Trip

Not sure what to pack because you aren’t sure what to wear on a road trip? Peruse our recommendations for what to wear to stay comfy in the car.

The best road trip luggage for car travel

Road Trip Luggage

When packing for a road trip, you have to have something to put all your stuff in. Explore our recommendations for different types of road trip luggage and pick out the perfect bag for yourself!

Road Trip Planning Checklist

Don’t miss a step in preparing for your road trip. Make sure you make a road trip checklist and to do list that outlines everything you need to do. From setting an itinerary to starting to book hotels, to remembering to lock your doors and hire a cat sitter, the more organized you are, the easier it is to plan your road trip.

Road Trip Checklist

Road Trip Checklist

Overwhelmed with planning a road trip and all the things that go into pre-vacation planning? Use this road trip checklist to organize your planning and get a step-by-step guide to all the things you should be thinking about and doing to prepare to hit the road for a long car ride. Plus download the free printable PDF to always have this to do list on hand.

Set a Road Trip Budget

You should never take a road trip without first determining your budget. Budgeting is essential to informing every decision you make along the way. Are you going to stay in 5 Star hotels or roadside motels? Are you going to splurge on a bunch of big activities or stick to free sites? Are you eating at restaurants or fast food drive throughs? And just how much gas are you going to need to do everything you want to do?

How to set a road trip budget

One of the biggest questions you might have when planning a road trip is, “how much is this going to cost me?” And it’s a valid question. You might think a road trip is a cheap form of travel, and it can be, but there are also many expenses that can add up. That’s why having a road trip budget is essential.

Book Your Road Trip Ahead Of Time

As you’re planning your road trip route, be sure to book ahead anything that needs to be booked ahead. This includes hotels, rental cars, tours, or excursions. Some road trips call for a more relaxed approach. I’ve taken many where I booked nothing ahead and would just look for a hotel when I was ready to stop for the night. But this approach has also backfired, like when I pulled into a town and nothing was available so I had to keep driving. Wherever possible try to book ahead so there are no unintended surprises.

Elvis Suite at the Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel in Springfield, Missouri

Book Road Trip Hotels

Road trips often involve staying at multiple hotels along your route. To save stress of driving around until you see a lit up Vacancy sign, book your road trip hotels ahead of time.

Car coming out of a building at OK County 66 - John's Place in Arcadia, Oklahoma - reproductions of famous Route 66 roadside attractions

Book a Road Trip Rental Car

If you are flying in and starting your road trip in a different city or state, don’t have a car, or just don’t want to put the miles on your own car, renting a car for a road trip is a great option. Be sure to book ahead to make sure a car is available and ready for you.

Airplane Service Station in Powell, Tennessee

Book a Flight

Not all road trips start at home. If you are starting your road trip in a different location you might need to fly to your starting point first. Compare and book flights using a website like CheapOair.

How to Stay Entertained on a Road Trip

Whoever says that road trips are boring has never taken a road trip with me. I love spending days on end in the car and making, making tons of fun stops, and, at the end of the day, settling into a hotel bed to watch some movies on cable. But if you need a little inspiration to make your road trip even more fun, check out these road trip games, movies, and other entertainment options.

Road trip games

Road Trip Games

The license plate game, road sign bingo, mad libs on the road, and more! Road trip car games are necessary for long car rides. Car travel games are a  great distraction for kids and passengers of all ages to pass the time in between roadside hamburgers, motel overnights, and roadside attractions.

Road trip entertainment ideas to keep your car passengers having fun from home to destination. Read on for some ideas for what to do in the car for kids or adults and things to bring on a road trip for entertainment. #RoadTrip #RoadTripPlanning #RoadTripGames #RoadTripEntertainment

Road Trip Entertainment Ideas

Whether it’s just you in the car or it is filled with kids or adults and whether you’re heading an hour away or spending a week on the road, these entertainment options are sure to keep everyone in your car happy. Read on for some ideas for what to do in the car and things to bring on a road trip for entertainment.

Who doesn't love a good road trip movie? Movies that capture the thrill, the fun, and, yes, sometimes the dangers of hitting the open road. Here are some of the best road trip movies to watch tonight, films that epitomize car travel. You'll find something for everyone: comedies, dramas, family-friendly, horror, classics, and more. Ready to watch? I'll make the popcorn! #RoadTrip #RoadTrips #RoadTripMovies #Movies #RoadTripInspiration

Road Trip Movies

Who doesn’t love a good road trip movie? Movies that capture the thrill, the fun, and, yes, sometimes the dangers of hitting the open road. Here are some of the best road trip movies to watch tonight, films that epitomize car travel. You’ll find something for everyone: comedies, dramas, family-friendly, horror, classics, and more.