Summer Road Trip Tips

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Summer Road Trip Tips

summer road trip tips

Grandparents are ready to safety and budget-consciously take grandchildren on a road trip.

Now that school is officially on break, summer road trip tips will help get us on our way to vacation fun. Whether you’re planning a cross-country trip or a quick getaway, there are tips to make our time on the road fun and safe. Here are tips to take the stress out of your trips and make them safe and successful.

Prepare your car

  • Change the oil, if needed, and perform a general maintenance inspection. There are quick oil change shops in your area. Make an appointment a couple of days before leaving to ensure your car is road-ready.
  • Top off your vehicle’s fluids. This can be a do-it-yourself job or stop by your local mechanic to have them check
  • Check the air conditioner/heater
  • Check headlights – Driving with a non-working headlight is extremely dangerous. The reduced visibility puts you and other drivers at risk, as well as results in a traffic fine. Replace a burned out headlight as soon as possible.
  • Replace worn wiper blades – visibility can be limited with worn-out blades.
  • Check your air filters – shaking them to clean out debris will only cause dirt and dust to settle in deeply.  Check air filters more frequently if you often drive on dirt roads.
  • Inspect your tires – tire rotation will help preserve your tires. Check for air pressure. Most new cars have a tire monitor light which will alert you to issues with your tires.
  • Build a road trip toolkit including: flashlight, tire pressure gauge, screwdriver and wrench sets, air compressor, knife, scissors, zip ties, socket set, pliers/wire cutter, jumper cables, emergency blankets, spare tire, duct tape, lubricant/oil, and more.

Plan your route
Summer road trip tips shares how it’s important to plan your route, either scenic or direct, by answering a few key questions first. How much time do you have to get there? How many miles can you comfortably drive? Will you stick to freeways or take the back roads? It’s helpful to start with Google Maps and browse the multiple routes that it will suggest. From there, you can filter to avoid highways or toll roads. Once you see the options and choose one, you can start to decide when, where, and how often to stop

Plan your rest stops
One of the most crucial tips for road trips is to get out of your car and stretch your legs every two hours or so. Plan these stops into your long drive, whether they fall during mealtimes or can be timed to let you check out interesting sites.

Research best stops for gas along your route
The top 5 most expensive states to buy gas in are California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, and Nevada. The states with the cheapest gas prices are Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas. [4]The cheapest day to get gas tends to be Mondays, while Wednesdays and Thursdays are the most expensive. [5] Filling up your tank in the morning or at night might save you a few bucks due to the temperature affecting the gas stored at the pump

Plan and stick to your budget
There is no need to break the bank on your road trips. Planning a budget for your trip will help keep costs under manageable and in control. Consider all expenses while making your budget.  Include gas prices, entertainment, food, and housing accommodations.

Save money It’s best to save money and time by buying food before the road trip at a grocery store to avoid the unhealthy choices at a gas station. If you prefer to buy food as you go, sample the local food at each stop

Pack food & treats or stop for food breaks
Carrying along a variety of vitamin and protein-packed, healthy foods.  Skip fast-food stops where foods loaded with fats and sugar can increase fatigue and sleepiness.

  • Beef jerky
  • Popcorn
  • Protein bars
  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Trail mix

Keep everyone entertained
Long drives, especially with kids, can often lead to disagreements, bickering distractions. Bring along books, puzzles, and other time-killing diversions to keep children engaged. On the flip side, road trip games such as “Find the license plate”sing-alongs, scavenger hunting, sharing stores, telling jokes are great for keeping everyone engaged with one another. Plan for activities and games by downloading any apps  prior to leaving home when you have reliable wifi.

Keep the driver alert
Sit up, listen to music, audio books, start a conversation with your passengers; you know yourself and what helps you stay alert. For some people chewing gum, eating or drinking caffeinated beverages.  Know your alert time-limits. If you feel yourself getting distracted, tired or sleepy, it’s time for a break or change drivers.

Stay hydrated
Fill your water bottles and stay ahead of getting thirsty. Pack a couple of bottles in a cooler for a cold water break. Summer months can be extra dry.  Plan for bathroom stops.

Drive safely 
For the driver, plan to get at least 7 hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to build up your energy reserves. Plan your road trip to start driving in the morning after a good night’s sleep. It is never a good idea to start a long trip after a full day of work. Take regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert, stopping roughly every 100 miles or 2 hours.

  • The most important part of a road trip is to drive safely
  • Stay within the speed limits
  • Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Watch and stay alert of other drivers on the road
  • Check the weather before your trip
  • Make alternate plans if extremely bad weather is forecasted
  • Check road rules and regulations for states and cities you will visit


Great resources:

“How to Plan a Road Trip: The Best Step by Step Guide,” (accessed August 3, 2023).

 “Today’s Gas Prices by State,” Kelly Anne Smith, (accessed August 3, 2023).

 “Report: The Best and Worst Days of the Week to Buy Gas,” Craig Johnson, (accessed August 3, 2023).

“The Best Time of Day to Get Gas,” Jacob Wade, (accessed August 3, 2023).



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