Tips & Tricks for Road Trips

A male and female stand in front of a packed car smiling. The bearded man is wearing glasses and a New York Giants hat and the woman stands next to him with a maroon headband and blue blanket scarf around here neck.
All smiles before we drive from Rochester, NY to Utah!

There are countless ways to travel long distances. You can fly, take a bus, take a boat, or drive. During the global pandemic, my partner and I decided it was best to refrain from international flights and communal forms of transportation. This ultimately led us to decide to drive cross country and spend the winter in Utah. It was the perfect opportunity to travel while still staying relatively isolated from others. Besides the occasional stop at the gas station and night at a motel, we came in contact with very few people and felt safe during the trip.

Read on for tips and insights I collected along our journey!

1) Wear your Mask

I hope this goes without saying, but while you are traveling PLEASE wear a mask. If you are driving in the USA, regulations regarding wearing a mask may vary as you pass through different states. Regardless of whether it is mandatory, do your part in protecting others and yourself and wear a mask. If it makes you feel more comfortable, do research before departing and look up which states require a mask and which don't. This way you can refrain from stopping in areas where masks are not required.

2) Take Turns Driving

If you are driving with a friend, family member, or partner, create a driving schedule and stick to it! Taking turns while driving will not only make the ride pass quicker but it will also give you frequent opportunities to stop, get out to breathe some fresh air, and stretch your legs. Brandon and I found the ideal switching point was between 2-3 hours.

3) Make Frequent Stops

The part about long road trips that I often dread is the feeling of being confined to a small space for multiple days. When you break your trip into smaller and more manageable chunks it makes the experience much more enjoyable! Depending on your route you could plan to do some sightseeing along the way, make a pit-stop to have a picnic, or step out of the car on the side of the highway to stretch for a few minutes.

4) Use the App HotelTonight

One of the most helpful tips I can offer is to use the app HotelTonight if you are doing a multi-day drive and do not have friends or family that you can stay with along the route. This app works similarly to Airbnb only it is for motels/hotels. You can search for places to stay along your route, see what is available last minute and book a room before you arrive. This is helpful if you do not have an exact arrival time and want to keep your schedule open and flexible. This app gave us the peace of mind that we could easily find something last minute and along our route. If we had car trouble or made an unexpected long stop we didn't have to worry about canceling a hotel we had booked days in advance and we could see exactly where the accommodations were in relation to our route.

5) Keep your Stomach as Full as your Gas Tank

Playing with low gas levels is a dangerous game. This is especially true when you are traveling on long stretches of highway that may or may not have frequent gas stations or rest stops. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank of gas. If you are making a bathroom, food, or stretch stop and there's a gas station nearby it doesn't hurt to top off your tank, and while you're at it get some food! The quickest way to incite a grumpy mood is hunger so pack snacks to keep you and your companies good humor.

Which of these tips do you think you will use for your next road trip or long drive? Leave a message in the comments sections and share your best road trip advice!

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