Taking solo road trips can be such an exciting and liberating way to explore the world around you. These road trip tips from the experts will help you plan, prepare, and get out there!
Road trips feel like summertime freedom and independent fun! Whether you’re going an hour from home or straight across the continent, road tripping lets you explore along the entire journey, rather than only when you arrive at the end destination.
Road trips are especially an icon of the United States and a very popular choice for Europe via campervan. This type of travel can show off natural spaces and small towns, giving you better insight away from big cities and international airports.
If you’re considering taking a road trip soon, take note of these tips from leading travel experts!
You should especially review the session “Road Trippers: Tips for Hitting the Pavement After Quarantine” featuring Jennifer Broome of Swept Away with Jennifer Broome, Kristina Liburd of Viageur, and Allison Villasenor of AAA Exclusive Vacations.
The full recording offers all of their tips for a safe and successful road trip. You can also check out the sessions on small town travel, budget travel, outdoor adventures, and more!
It’s all available on-demand — and for free! — for your convenience:
Taking Safe Solo Road Trips
So first and foremost, is it safe to road trip?
As of right now, travel is a very personal choice and your safety and the safety of the community around you needs to be considered.
Where you’re located, where you’re headed, and the details of your personal situation will determine whether or not you should be traveling.
But — if it’s safe and you are properly prepared — taking a road trip can be a wonderful way to explore during these uncertain times.
Adventuring in your own backyard and finding open spaces can be just the travel therapy you need!
Precautions to Take Before Your Trip
Plan ahead and find alternative options. If you’re looking at beaches, lakes, hiking, or other outdoor options, just be sure to check the local community restrictions. There are different protocols everywhere and you need to adhere to those wherever you go.
Seek out the alternative destinations and locations — asking locals is a great way to get insight wherever you travel.
Whatever you could normally do doesn’t necessarily apply right now. You might need to make reservations for a timed entry to certain spaces, including national parks and campsites.
Doing the research first will help prevent you from being turned away.
Where to Stay During Road Trip Stops
Hotels are publicizing their safety and cleaning procedures. Call beforehand for clarification if you need it. Hotel teams and restaurants are putting in the extra effort, but you should also do your due diligence.
Call the local, small places and ask them for their policies. Large corporations will publish their policies, but if you ever have questions — just ask!
Hotel rooms that offer a door to the outside offer a great option to avoid shared spaces.
Limiting office or administrative interactions with staff also helps.
You won’t get your turndown service right now, but you can still get the services you want and need. Things like robes have been taken out, while personalized amenities have been added for your safety.
Using Rest Stops or Service Areas
These types of public spaces might not be open or available right now.
Just like if you were hiking, take along tissue and extra plastic bag to throw that tissue in when you head out on your road trip. You want to be ready when nature calls, just in case you have to stop on the side of the road.
Otherwise, try to plan your bathroom breaks. Wear your mask and wash your hands, but when you get to an open and available restroom, take advantage and make sure the kids do, too!
Gas stations could be an option, but being prepared and taking along extra toilet paper and wipes is advised.
Recommendations for Road Trip Food
One of the best parts of road tripping is finding local food and unique places along the way. Can we still find those locally-owned restaurants and seek out the unique cuisine where we travel?
During times of upheaval, take these tips for seeking out dining options during your road trips:
- Seek out the outdoor dining spaces wherever you can
- Make a reservation to ensure distancing
- Explore farmer’s markets that are open-air
Takeaway is a great alternative during your trips. Picnics and dining al fresco are such fun options in great weather!
Take advantage of this time to sit on the hood of the car or grab a blanket and a picnic basket to enjoy a new-to-you park.
Packing for Road Trips
Should you pack anything in particular for your road trips? Create a travel toolkit so you always feel prepared for anything.
Here are a few things you might want to include in your “stay healthy” toolkit for the car:
- Disposable gloves
- Small-sized hand sanitizers
- Different kinds of masks
- Neck gator or buff for convenience
- Plastic baggies
These are handy no matter how far you’re traveling from home, but especially when you’re taking a longer road trip.
Shopping Along the Way
Stopping in different places during solo road trips lets you find and buy locally-created and crafted items. Buying momentoes to bring back home is a great way to celebrate your travels while also supporting locals in the places you visit.
Connecting with local artists and photographers can be a wonderfully unique way to remember your adventure. Doing your research in advance allows you to avoid time inside shops and instead find open-air markets or stalls.
Whatever you buy, less is more, even on a road trip.
When in doubt, ask the locals for advice! You’re sure to get tips for local creators and artisans from those who live in the area.
Outdoor Adventures to Seek
From hiking to paddleboarding, national parks to lakes and beaches, there are plenty of options to choose from for outdoor adventures!
The beauty of road trips is the opportunity to take that exit or detour and stumble upon something different.
You can veer off the typical trail to find smaller parks near popular places. Or seek out different stretches of sand that are less easily accessible.
Taking solo road trips especially allows for last-minute adventures! You can make every decision for yourself, compromising with no one.
It’s a great idea to hire a local guide so you get even more out of your outdoor adventures. Always be sure to check tour companies’ policies and procedures before you book anything.
Not Taking Solo Road Trips?
Road Trips with Friends
Taking solo road trips can be fun, but traveling with friends can definitely make a long journey more enjoyable!
But is it safe to travel with friends and other households? Know who your friends have seen and how they have been acting recently before making the decision to travel together.
It’s up to you and your own comfort level. Only you can make the decision.
Family Road Trips with the Kids
Taking a road trip with kids instead of going solo? No worries, there are tons of ways to have fun as a family!
Keeping the kids entertained at any age is a vital part of enjoying the road trip adventure. Of course, taking extra stops to stretch those legs and making sure there are plenty of snacks will be helpful.
Taking breaks to stretch and walk, making games of everything, and relaxing a little on the screen time limitations can help everyone get through a long journey.
And don’t worry about the kids making a mess in the back. It can get cleaned up later!
Top Apps for Road Trips
There are plenty of road trip apps that can help you plan and prepare for any adventure.
But — always remember! — if you’re going hiking and exploring outdoors, you might lose service. Paper maps as back-ups are critical if you’re heading off-road for a while.
Plant Snap is great for identifying plants and flowers wherever you go. Star Walk is a fantastic app for identifying constellations and stars when you’re in the great outdoors.
Dyrt Pro is a camping community sharing lots of helpful tips for campgrounds and campsites.
And, of course, AAA will help you no matter where you are! (Thanks to Allison for sharing that reminder.)
And, since Jennifer is a meteorologist, she reminded us to keep an eye on the weather! RadarScope, NOAA, and The Weather Channel all have apps so you can monitor storms and stay out of trouble as best you can.
Are you feeling ready for your solo road trip? Get all the tips from our experts and get more guidance and advice from the whole Wanderful community.
Feature image by Hector Perez on Pexels.com