The ULTIMATE Guide to Plan a Road Trip with Stops
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Planning a road trip is fun, but it can be tough to figure out where you want to stop and what you want to see. This guide will help you plan the perfect road trip with stops that are interesting for everyone in your group!
Why plan a road trip with stops?
If you are planning a cross country road trip you will need to stop for food, sleep and to stretch your legs. How much better is that when there is something cool to see?
If you are road tripping with small children you need to take frequent break to let them get their wiggles out.
Or maybe you want to make your road trip into the vacation itself and see lots of country along the way.
No matter which it is you will need to do a little bit of planning ahead of time.
Plan your road trip with stops the old fashioned way!
These are the step we actually use to plan a family road trip, it is definitely not the only way and possibly not the best, but it has worked for us on dozens of road trips.
- Look at your route on Google maps or an Atlas if you are old school and figure out the route you want to take for your road trip.
- If it is an area we don’t know we generally consult a travel book like this! (I love eyewitness travel guides)
- Look at the cities and towns you will pass through or drive near. I put a star in pencil by any that appeal to me or my husband. For example is I am going on a California road trip I will want to stop to see every cute beach town along the route!
- Look for scenic drives along the way and see if they are worth the time to see.
- Don’t forget to check the local attractions in those cities and towns that are along your route.
- Plan where you want to stop for food, gas or to sleep.
- Create an itinerary with at least five activities planned out (make sure there’s something for everyone). This should give you plenty of ideas when it comes time to plan your perfect road trip with stops!
- Ask each person in your group what they want to see on the trip and write it down
- Look at where you are going, how long is the drive between destinations, and map out shorter stops that will be easier for everyone if they are getting tired. For example: If a city you want to visit is 3 hours out of the way make sure you will still be as enamored 4 days into driving.
- Plan a couple of longer stops if there is something specific you really want to see.
- Don’t forget gas stations! You’ll go through them quickly with this much driving. If you want to save money download Gasbuddy on your phone.
- Bring snacks too – these can get expensive if you buy them at gas stations.
- Know how long your kids can go without a break. Our kids can go for 6 hours without needing to stop. (I know this is not usual as most people stop every 3 hours, but you know your kids so plan accordingly.)
- If you are going round trip, try to take a different route back so you can see some other amazing things.
Once you have all of this laid out it is time to start making your schedule. Look at opening and closing times for attractions and see if they are manageable. Look for hotels nearby if you will need to stay near, and book it as soon as possible. Let the kids look at the map and help plan so they will be happy with the end result.
How to plan a road trip with stops with an app
I have used almost every road trip app our there to help you decide which is best for you. But in all honesty, I still like to plan mine with a print out of our route rather than use an app (I always feel like they cater to people who love hiking!)
My favorite road trip planner is Road trippers. It is a great app to help you figure out what you want to see when you have no ideas. If you are embarking on a road trip and know very little about the area I would start here.
Trip it is another trip planner that is very popular. I don’t like it as well because it is not as customizable. But it is worth a try depending on where you are going.
If you are going on a road trip to look at Fall Foliage I highly recommend My Scenic Drives. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Road Trippers but it is excellent at pointing out the most beautiful roads around. I have used it for a New England fall foliage drive and it was perfect!
I use Trip Advisor or Yelp to find hotels and restaurants that are in the area I want to visit next or have been before because they usually post reviews of what people like about a specific location which can be helpful when deciding where you would prefer to go!
This app also has information on local points of interest such as museums, wineries and parks. It’s great for finding things close by rather than having your phone die from downloading too many maps!
There are so many different apps popping up each day to help you plan a road trip with stops. Decide what is important to you and if you like doing the planning or not and you are sure to plan a super road trip either way!
How to keep yourself organized when planning for a road trip with stops
There are a number of ways to stay organized on a multi-stop road trip:
- Use the calendar on your phone to keep track of when you are stopping at specific places.
- Plan out which stops will be on the way and use Google maps to see how long it should take to get from one destination to another. This is a great tool that allows you to also make notes for yourself about what there is around each stop, so if they are off the beaten path or need special instructions they can all go in one spot!
- Write down key details such as where exactly along your route these stops can be found and any information that might help with directions like GPS coordinates or address – this could include things like “on I95 heading south”.
- Or you can use a road trip planner that will help you keep track of every route, every reservation, every address and how much you have spent. Here is my road trip planner I designed to keep us on task and in budget.
Our family LOVES road trips and if you are looking for more road trip content you have come to the right place!
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