Useful Road Trip Tips for Traveling Across North America

Written by EJ Ray

October 2, 2023
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Ready to set out on the open road? Looking to explore the backroads and byways of North America? Before setting out on your adventure, here are useful road trip tips to ensure a great journey!

Road trips are an integral part of the American culture. They’re still among the most popular travel forms in a post-pandemic environment. According to a 2022 survey, nearly 80 percent, or 206 million Americans, said they would take a road trip that same year.

From their wide open roads and varied landscapes to being free to explore at your own pace, road trips across North America offer unforgettable adventures. Whether your road trip takes you along the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 66, or the Canadian Rockies, here are six road trip tips to ensure a seamless and unforgettable journey.

Plan Your Route Wisely

As with any successful road trip, planning your route is of utmost importance. North America boasts an abundance of scenic highways and byways that can add beauty and adventure. Before setting out on your adventure, take the time to research your options and develop an itinerary tailored to your interests and timeframe—including major attractions, national parks, and cities you wish to visit along the way so you can gauge its overall duration.

travel planning

Think about what want to see along your route while planning your road trip. Photo by Halfpoint via iStock by Getty Images

As part of your trip planning, it’s crucial to carefully consider your accommodation options. One town that is a perfect destination for your trip is Mammoth Lakes in California’s Eastern Sierra region. It’s an attractive outdoor enthusiast destination, offering skiing, hiking, and fishing activities. To maximize your Mammoth Lakes adventure and make the most of your stay there, explore various Mammoth Lakes vacation rentals, from cozy cabins in the woods to expansive condos with breathtaking mountain views.

Boats sit at dock at Lake George under the watchful eye of the Crystal Crag peak. This peak is in Mammoth Lakes in Central California, in Sierra Nevada Mountains,

Mammoth Lakes in Central California is a great road trip stop. Photo by Patricia Elaine Thomas via iStock by Getty Images

However, availability can differ depending on the season and local events. Therefore, booking your accommodation well in advance is crucial to securing the best options and rates. Once your accommodation is booked, planning your route becomes much simpler, knowing where you’ll rest after each day of exploration. Although it might be tempting to pack as many stops into each day’s itinerary as possible, be realistic in setting daily distance goals that you can comfortably cover each day.

Ensure Your Vehicle is Road-Trip Ready

An ideal road trip vehicle demands that it is properly maintained. Before setting off, consult a qualified mechanic to ensure the engine, brakes, tires, suspension systems, and emergency kit are in top working order. Put together an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, a flashlight, jumper cables, basic tools, and an extra tire. Keep up with regular maintenance tasks like oil changes, tire rotations, and fluid checks during your journey, and ensure optimal spare tire condition.

get your car ready for a road trip

Check your tires when getting your car ready for a road trip. Photo by Shutter2U via iStock by Getty Images

Staying proactive can prevent breakdowns. Ensure your vehicle insurance is current and that you have all necessary documentation, including your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.

Pack Smart is a Vital Road Trip Tip

Packing efficiently is crucial to a comfortable and organized road trip. Pack essential items like clothing, toiletries, and medications first. Go for versatile clothing that can be layered for varying weather conditions.

car trip

Make a packing list, and be sure to include the essentials. Photo by Gustavo Fring via Pexels

Stick to the basics, and remember that most items can be washed or replaced on the road. Bring a cooler with drinks and snacks. Having refreshments readily available can save time and money on the road. Load up on entertainment options like books, podcasts, and music playlists. Long stretches of driving can be more enjoyable with the right entertainment.

Budget Wisely for Your Road Trip

While road trips can be budget-friendly, unexpected expenses can add up. Here are some budgeting tips. Gas prices can vary significantly across North America. Use apps or websites to find the cheapest gas along your route, and consider using a fuel-efficient vehicle.

You can help learn to travel on a budget by planning in advance. Photo by kitzcorner via iStock by Getty Images

You can stick to a travel budget by planning. Photo by kitzcorner via iStock by Getty Images

Options range from campgrounds and budget motels to luxury resorts. Dining out at every meal can be expensive. Save money by cooking meals at campgrounds or picnicking at scenic spots. Splurge on local cuisine when you can. Budget for attractions, parking fees, and unexpected expenses like vehicle repairs or medical emergencies.

Embrace the Journey

An unforgettable road trip experience doesn’t start and end at its destination. Rather, its beauty lies in the journey itself. Here’s how to maximize it. Whenever possible, choose scenic routes over highways. North America offers breathtaking landscapes waiting to be discovered. Bring a camera or smartphone to capture unforgettable views and moments along the way.

perfect family road trip

Take time out of your road trip to experience the destinations. Photo by ASphotowed via iStock by Getty Images

Combat road trip sedentarism by including short hikes, bike rides, or stretching sessions into your daily routine. Talk with locals to gain more insight into the culture and history of each location you visit. Their insights can enhance your experience. Practice safe and courteous driving. Be aware of wildlife, obey speed limits, and yield to fellow travelers. It’s not a race. It’s an adventure.

Safety First

Lastly, prioritize safety on your road trip. Here are some safety tips. Let someone back home know your route and schedule. Check in regularly to ensure your safety. Monitor weather forecasts, especially in regions prone to extreme conditions.

Be prepared to adjust your plans if necessary. Consider joining a roadside assistance program or ensure your insurance covers it. Fatigue is a significant road trip risk. Take regular breaks, switch drivers, and get enough rest.

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North American road trips can be truly remarkable adventures filled with breathtaking landscapes, cultural experiences, and lasting memories.

By carefully planning your route, ensuring your vehicle is suitable for road-tripping, packing smartly for comfort, and budgeting wisely, you’ll be well-equipped for an incredible road journey experience. So hop behind the wheel and discover all North America has to offer. Your adventure awaits!

We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more great road trips.

Ready to set out on the open road? Looking to explore the backroads and byways of North America? Before setting out on your adventure, here are useful road trip tips to ensure a great journey!


Useful Road Trip Tips for Traveling Across North America

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.