12 Tips to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip

The open road, changing scenery, a loaded up car, loose plans and unpredictable adventure - but where do you start? We share our top tips on road-trip planning.


A blue german VW Bus parked at the side of the road in Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA Photo © iStock/Bee-individual

Who wouldn't want to spend a week, or a few months, in a tin box with un-showered friends and servo snacks?

Road tripping isn't as simple as jumping into the car and rolling off into the sunset – a little bit of planning can go a long way.

When we asked our fellow Nomads to share their road trip advice, the results were pretty clear – we all love to get lost.

1. Just drive

"Don't take a map or a GPS. Just drive. That way, you'll spend more time looking out the window and less time arguing about where to go."

- Mark Seldon

2. They can hear you

"You're in a car not an open field. When you quietly bitch and moan about the sleeping head next you to, chances are they heard you."

- Kate Hoffman 

3. Find your match

"Travel with those people, with whom your cleanliness quotient matches. Not with a person dirtier, not with a person tidier."

- Sarah Naeem

4. Rolling always wins

Roll instead of fold - you get more in your bags.

5. Don't plan too nuch

"Plan but don't plan too much. By taking the time to explore what's around you, you will find things that aren't always on maps or in books."

- Erin Delamont-Williams

6. Get off the highways

"Get off the highways and spend time on the surface roads... wave to locals, explore antique shops, stop in at local diners."

- Renae Brosam

7. Staying awake at night

"Fantales, red frogs and when driving at night - don't use the heater. Instead keep the aircon on (low) so the driver doesn't get sleepy and have blankets to keep the passengers warm."

- Yael Gaffney

8. Get there before sunset

"Avoid arriving at your destination late in the evening if you haven't booked accommodation, or you need to pitch your tent - it could end in divorce."

- Alison Rex

9. Share the tunes

"Everyone needs to have a playlist, not just the driver who loves Guns n Roses."

- Alison Rex

10. Avoid these horror movies

"Don't watch "Wolf Creek", "The Hills Have Eyes" or "The Hitcher" before you go."

- Andrew Stephen

11. Hitchhikers

"Pick up hitchhikers. Be choosy, of course, but do it. Hitchhikers always have the most amazing stories to tell!"

- Mark Seldon

12. Pack the night before

"Always pack the night before you leave. That means grocery shopping, linen, all camping gear - everything. Never ever leave packing to the last minute."

- Milly McGrath

13. Take the scenic route

"If you must use a GPS (because some people don’t want to get lost in a foreign desert-land) there is an option to ‘avoid highways’ so you can take the scenic route AND still arrive at your destination."

- Isaac Entry

14. Pre-download podcasts

“For longer, interstates drives, podcasts are my life. Pre-download a few episodes of serials like “This American Life” or “The Story Club” that have a variety of funny, motivational, or downright-depressing stories to mix it up. It’ll keep the whole car entertained on long stretches of the monotonous roads and something to talk about afterwards. Better yet, download The World Nomads Podcast.”

- Martin Hong

As the Huck once said, "There ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them, than to travel with them."

What's your advice for planning a road trip? Share your tips below!

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  • Jeremy Fowler said

    Set your GPS on "Shortest" rather than "Fastest". Stop and explore the villages that you go through. Eat at the place the locals use. And make the trip the holiday. Find a place to sleep when the sun gets low.

  • Kerrie said

    When travelling ..
    Some days don’t take any pictures.
    Enjoy the world through your own eyes.

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