Top tips for an unforgettable road trip

This summer is the perfect time to go on a road trip. If the sun is shining and you want to explore somewhere new, there’s nothing better than getting on the road and being adventurous. Perhaps you have recently bought a new car at your local Ford dealership and you want to celebrate in style or you just want some quality time with your favourite people, either way, read on to find out our top tips.

Choose your companions

A couple sitting on a wall watching the sunset

The most important way to have a great road trip is to pick the right people to join you. Choose your favourite people for a long road trip, whether that be friends or family, and you can all appreciate some quality time together by exploring new places and enjoying the journey.

We spoke to Inma from A World to Travel, a travel blog where Inma writes about her unique and sustainable experiences around the world, to find out her top tip for an unforgettable road trip. She agrees that the company you keep plays a big part: “When possible, leave room for small casual route changes on the go. And remember, choose your company carefully. Once again, less is more and it is always better to go alone than badly accompanied.”

Plan your route

Long stretch of road on the coast

It’s easy to over plan a road trip and as a result, the free and adventurous feeling of exploring is lost. We recommend having a destination in mind so that you can sort out any accommodation and you’ll be able to estimate how many miles you’ll be travelling. However, don’t plan an exact route or organize each stop-off point.

We asked Mike from Mike’s Road Trip, a blog where he writes about his many adventures on the road, for his thoughts on how to have an unforgettable road trip: “Have a destination in mind, but never a route. Allow plenty of time to take in the scenery, or to stop by interesting roadside attractions.”

Jurga from the blog Full Suitcase writes about travelling all over the world with her family, including many road trips. She says: “My top tip for an unforgettable road trip is to plan your itinerary in advance. I know that many people prefer just the opposite, but if your holiday time is limited and you want to get the most out of your precious time and money, you should plan at least the main stops along your road trip.”

Road tripping without planning every last detail, however, is also a popular way to have an unforgettable road trip so there is certainly a compromise that can be made between the two approaches. Bruno, from Geeky Explorer, is a travel expert and writes about places across the world on his blog. We asked Bruno for his top tip: “Don't plan everything. Our lives are so much full of routine, meetings, and plans that is refreshing to have some space to breathe. Leave space for some improvisation and on-the-spot exploration and allow time to find new places to have lunch, people to have a beer with or sunset spots.”

Choose the perfect entertainment

couple laughing in the car

After hours on the road, the excitement of a road trip can wear away. To avoid boredom, make sure you’re prepared with the perfect entertainment. Our tip is to make a collaborative playlist on Spotify beforehand, so you have a mix of everyone’s favourite songs, making the perfect road trip playlist. Our top tip is to remember to download music before you set off so you can listen without the internet.

If blasting music isn’t for you, another form of entertainment is audiobooks and podcasts. We asked Cory and G from You Could Travel about their top tips for an unforgettable road trip. They advise: “The top tip for an unforgettable road trip is to be prepared for the potential hours of boredom on the motorway. When this happens, we usually start listening to a new podcast. Make sure you have plenty of snacks in the car and do prepare entertainment in advance (playlists, podcasts, audiobooks etc).”

If you’re travelling with kids, a great way of keeping them entertained is with a tablet that has pre-downloaded films and shows on, or you can download any games on apps.

Have the right tech

If you want to go on a road trip the old-fashioned way, with a large paper map, then go for it. If not, our tip is to download your journey on Google maps beforehand and you won’t have to rely on phone signal. Stephanie from The Wanderlost Way, a road trip travel blog, agrees with this approach: “Download your driving route on Google Maps before the trip. Even if you have an international data plan, service can—and does—get disrupted on road trips (especially if you're exploring the great outdoors), so it's best to get ahead of any potential issues by downloading your road trip route on Google Maps before you leave on your journey.”

We recommend adding a phone charger with multiple ports in your car so that passengers can charge their devices at the same time. An aux cable is another great addition to making it easy to play your own music. We also recommend trying out road trip apps including Google Trips, which is great for planning and organising.

What to pack

three friends packing a car

The most important thing to pack for your road trip is a car survival kit. In case your car unexpectedly breaks down or a tire goes flat make sure you’re prepared with the right tools, and double check your car manual is still inside for instructions.

After being in a car for hours, everyone is bound to be hungry. Our tip is to pack a stocked cooler filled with drinks and snacks. Add ice to the cooler before you start your journey and you’ll get to enjoy a cold drink or snack throughout the day. If you would rather stop at towns you come across on your journey, it’s a great idea to ask the locals about where to eat during your visit.

When planning a road trip, it can be easy to forget to pack the mundane but essential items. Make sure to pack tissues, wet wipes, bin bags and mints for your road trip. Another useful item to have in the car is a neck pillow which passengers can use to catch up on sleep in between driving shifts.

A fun item to pack for your road trip is a disposable camera. The photos will be a wonderful way to remember your adventures with your loved ones and all the new places you visited.

Where to go

A winding road and sunset

The UK and particularly the south west of England is replete with exciting drives to enjoy with friends. Everywhere you look there is a great destination to explore. And when looking further afield, the options become truly endless. With so many journeys to choose from, we spoke to some top travel bloggers to find out where they most enjoyed a road trip.

The travel bloggers, Emily and Berty Mandagie, write about their adventures on the blog The Mandagies. We asked them to reveal the road trip they have enjoyed the most: “We've gone on so many road trips around the Western USA, it's hard to choose which one is our favourite! I'd have to say driving down the Oregon Coast. This route provides epic scenery and so many opportunities to get out of the car and explore around you!”

Paulina, from Paulina on the Road, is a travel enthusiast who writes about her experiences travelling to different places. Paulina tells us about her best road trip: The road trip I have enjoyed the most was in Andalusia, southern Spain. This part of Spain holds so many gems and fascinating landscapes, that are hard to resist. You'll spot a lot of Moorish architecture, great natural surroundings and come along many restaurants that serve delicious tapas. Distances are not very far, so you’ll see many attractions in a short time.”

Mike from Mike’s Road Trip comments that his favourite road trip took place in Ireland, he suggests: “Wild Atlantic Way on the western side of Ireland. There are stunning sea cliffs, long stretches of sandy beaches and countless ruins and old and opulent graveyards. The angelic tapestry that forms Ireland’s landscape has taken thousands of years to weft and warp into a masterpiece that only nature could weave.”

Quick tips

  • Choose your companions
  • Pick a destination but don’t over plan the journey
  • Download music playlists or podcasts beforehand
  • Bring a phone charger with multiple ports
  • Download your journey on Google maps
  • Pack a car survival kit
  • Bring a cooler filled with food and drink
  • Use a disposable camera to snapshot new memories

Image Credit: Inma (A World to Travel), Mike (Mike’s Road Trip)