10 Helpful Tips To Plan A Stress-Free Road Trip

Are you planning a road trip soon? Whether to explore bucket list destinations or lesser known locations, road tripping is one of my favorite ways to experience the beauty of America’s landscapes.

With the uncertainty of travel restrictions throughout the country, planning a road trip right now might seem a little stressful. But if you plan ahead, research your destination prior to leaving and continue to stay up to date on the latest requirements, maintain social distance, be respectful of local communities and be mindful of risks both to yourself and others, you can still enjoy a good ole’ fashioned road trip while keeping your family safe on the road. Here are 10 helpful tips to plan a stress-free road trip.

Badlands National Park, SD Road Trip

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Looking for more road trip tips? Read Hit The Open Road With These 21 Road Trip Tips

10 Helpful Tips To Plan A Stress-Free Road Trip

Pre-Trip Vehicle Safety Checks

Prior to your road trip, check your vehicle’s battery, oil, tire pressure, wiper blades, brakes, spare tire, air-conditioning and wiper, radiator and transmission fluids. Also clean your car’s interior and wash the exterior to start your road trip with a clean slate. Know how far you can get on a tank of gas and begin your trip with a full tank.

Now’s also a good time to make sure you pack your driver’s license, proof of insurance and a spare key and check that your vehicle has a car jack, jumper cables, flashlight and a first aid kit.

Plan A Stress-Free Road Trip

Road Trip Ready

Make a Plan

Before you set off on your trip, make a plan. Here are a few things to consider when preparing for a road trip:

  • Determine your destination, how many miles to drive and how long you want to be in the car each day.
  • Research your destination and plan days to avoid crowds at popular tourist sites. Have a rough itinerary but be flexible.
  • Plan for unexpected closures, be aware of cancellation policies and check websites often.
  • Create a packing list and a to-do list to stay organized.

Map Your Route

Plan your route prior to hitting the road. By planning ahead, you’ll be aware of road construction, which may cause delays and possible road closures.

  • Avoid road construction and find alternative routes.
  • Pack a proper paper map just in case your GPS signal is lost.
  • Take cash to pay road tolls and parking fees.
  • Drive during the day to stay awake and alert, limit nighttime driving.

Utilize Google Maps

My preference when planning a road trip is Google Maps because it provides road construction details, alternate routes and arrival time at the destination. But I also use Google Maps to find local attractions and points of interests, restaurants with details about curbside pickup, no-contact delivery and busy times to avoid crowds.

While having your trip route pre-planned with Google Maps is easy and efficient, packing a paper map is always a good idea and be sure to download the specific map route prior to your trip in case cell service is limited.

Plan A Stress-Free Road Trip

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Prioritize Safety

Traveling in this uncertain time, prioritizing safety is more important than ever. Be prepared by packing hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes and face masks. Practice proper hand hygiene, maintain social distance and try to minimize contact wherever you go by using credit cards, curbside pickup or no-contact delivery.

Be Flexible

While I’m a planner through and through, I always plan for the unexcepted. If things don’t go as planned, be flexible.

Strategically Plan Stops

To minimize stops, strategically plan breaks. Instead of stopping multiple times, we like to plan an all-in-one stop at a gas station to fuel up the vehicle, take bathrooms breaks, purchase snacks and stretch before hitting the road again.

Marathon Station

Marathon Station

Book Accommodations In Advance

While a spontaneous road trip may sound like fun, in these uncertain times having accommodations booked in advance can save you time and money. Many hotels and campgrounds are operating at a lower capacity, so availability may be limited- just another reason why it’s wise to book before your trip to guarantee available lodging. Also, look for accommodations with flexible cancellation policies and strict cleaning procedures.

Pack Snacks & Drinks

Purchase beverages and snacks prior to your trip. Choose healthy snacks like granola or protein bars, trail mix and cheese/meat pairings and allow yourself to have one non-healthy snack (we always take peanut M&M’s as our sweet treat). Keep perishable items, water and beverages in a cooler and refill the ice at your hotel.

Join A Rewards Program

Rewards programs are a great way to help you save money on gas and receive incentives for traveling. Marathon’s MakeItCount™ Rewards program is free and easy to use and will save you 5 cents off every gallon of gas, every day!

Marathon MakeItCount™ Rewards

Not only does the MakeItCount™ Rewards program save members money on fuel, it also rewards them for shopping at participating Marathon gas stations. With Marathon stations located from coast to coast across the United States, it’s easy to find one while on the road. Use the free MakeItCount™ Rewards app when you’re traveling to find the nearest location and to plan out your stops in advance.

A few other advantages of Marathon’s MakeItCount™ Rewards are that you can save money on every gallon of gas, every day even when you’re not traveling. And purchasing select retail items (like those snacks I mentioned earlier!) at participating Marathon stations will help you earn points to redeem on things like additional gas discounts, Southwest Rapid Rewards® airfare, Wyndham Rewards® hotels, Target eGiftCards™ and more.

Marathon MakeItCount™ RewardsMarathon MakeItCount™ RewardsMarathon MakeItCount™ Rewards

Signing up for Marathon’s MakeItCount™ Rewards program is free and easy. Visit MakeItCount.com or download the free app today!

And don’t forget to sign up for the Marathon MakeItCount™ Rewards program. You’ll save 5 cents off every gallon, every day and select purchases will help you earn points to redeem on gas, airfare, hotels and more!

Hope you found these tips helpful to plan a stress-free road trip. Safe travels out on the open road!




This post is sponsored by Marathon Petroleum Corporation. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

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