A camper van driving down the highway during a road trip.

Your 2024 Road Trip Checklist

If a road trip is in your future, now is an excellent time to start creating your checklist. This can help ease the worries and stress you’ll feel in the days and weeks leading up to it.

However, knowing where to start can be tricky, with many things to remember and consider. We want to help ease your burden so you can enjoy the entire experience.

Today, we’ll share some of the most critical items that need to be on your road trip checklist.

Let’s get going!

What is a Road Trip?

A road trip is an adventure taken by car or another vehicle that covers a considerable distance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re crossing the country or your state. The goal is typically to explore new destinations and enjoy unique experiences.

One of the major defining characteristics of a road trip is the freedom involved. Travelers can choose their route and set their own pace.

They control the schedule and can determine when and where to stop. The thrill of the unknown and what awaits at the next exit keeps them going.

These expeditions are also made better by the individuals occupying the seats. Whether traveling with friends, family, or alone, you can create unforgettable and priceless memories. 

How Do You Prepare for a Long Road Trip?

One of the most essential parts of a long road trip is how you prepare for it. You can’t drop what you’re doing and hop in your vehicle to cross the country. Proper preparation involves getting yourself, your car, and any passengers ready.

A road trip checklist can help ensure you take all the steps and remember to pack all crucial items. You’ll consult your road trip checklist often in the days and weeks leading up to your road trip. 

Unfortunately, many travelers overlook the importance of preparing for the drive. This means being in a healthy space mentally and physically. Arrange your schedule so you can get plenty of sleep so you’re hitting the road fresh.

An RV pulled off on the highway during a road trip.

What Clothes to Pack for a Road Trip?

The clothes you pack for your road trip will significantly depend on where you travel and the weather. You’ll likely spend a significant amount of time inside your climate-controlled vehicle. 

However, you’ll have to get out for fueling, pit stops, and sightseeing. You want to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible, no matter the scenario.

Check the weather and ensure you have the appropriate clothes easily accessible when you need them. If you leave your vehicle to fill up in freezing temperatures, you’ll want a heavy jacket within reach.

While in the vehicle, it’s best to wear loose-fitting pants and a breathable top. You want to be as comfortable as possible while spending hours on the road. Being presentable when you arrive at your destination or exit the vehicle is also a good idea.

Your 2024 Road Trip Checklist

One of the great things about a road trip checklist is that no two are the same. What you’ll need for your trip differs significantly from what we’ll need on an adventure. However, some things typically make every list. Here are some things you’ll want to ensure are on your list.

Choose Your Destination

The first thing you need to do is pick your destination. For some, this could be the beach, a concert, or other special event or destination. Pick your destination wisely because it’ll cause anticipation to build throughout the trip.

When selecting your destination, consider how far you’re willing to drive and how much time you have. If you want time to make stops along the way, you’ll want to ensure you have the time. You may have to drive by things you’ve always wanted to see or do because your destination is too far.

It’s also important to consider your budget. You must factor in fuel, food, lodging, and any activities. Don’t spend all your money on the way to your destination, or you may not be able to enjoy yourself once you get there.

An RV parked at the beach during a road trip.

Create an Itinerary

Once you have your destination planned, it’s time to create an itinerary. This will serve as a roadmap for your upcoming adventure. By creating an itinerary, you can make sure there’s time to see any must-see attractions along the route.

Spend time researching the sights, activities, and accommodations along your route. Chat with others who have traveled in the area and see what they recommend. The more research you can do, the better. You may discover some hidden gems that you would have otherwise driven past.

When crafting your itinerary, give yourself time for meals, rest stops, and sightseeing. If not, it could result in not having time for everything. Avoid driving so much that you’re exhausted at the end of the day, especially if you plan to do something when you arrive.

Check Your Vehicle Maintenance

One of the last things you want to do is hit the road without ensuring your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Check and see if you’ll need an oil change before you return. If so, make sure to get it done before hitting the road. You don’t want to waste time changing the oil during your trip.

If you pay someone to change your oil, have them take a quick look at your brakes, tires, and other vital items. Now is the time to make any fixes to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road.

Close up of oil being poured into a vehicle before a road trip.

Pack Essential Documents

If there are any essential documents you need to have, make sure to add them to your road trip checklist. Items like reservation numbers, a copy of your insurance, and vehicle registration are all essential documents. 

Make sure you have your passport if you are traveling across borders. This can help ensure smooth border crossings. Don’t wait to pack these items. It’s best to put them in a safe place in your vehicle as soon as possible. That way, they’re there if you need them.

HOT TIP
Now that you know how to plan an awesome road trip, here’s where we recommend traveling to in 2024!

Have Essentials for Your Vehicle

Pack essential items like jumper cables, a roadside emergency kit, and any other gear you need. If you’ll be traveling through the mountains in the winter, this could mean chains for your tires. Drivers caught without them could face severe fines, which isn’t the souvenir you want to bring home.

Reserve Accommodations

One mistake we see many travelers make is waiting to make reservations for accommodations. Many errantly think they can wait until the last minute and be fine. Unfortunately, this can bite you, especially if there are few alternative options.

Reservations in some areas can be challenging. You may need to plan months in advance and jump quickly to reserve the accommodations. For example, some campsites at state parks will sell out within minutes of their release. It’s like winning the lottery if you can snag a site.

Plan Your Food

When creating your road trip checklist, make sure you factor in food. If you’re going on a lengthy road trip, fast and cheap food will get old quickly. You may be able to survive, but you won’t feel great if you’re only eating snacks for several days in a row.

Plan your meals out so that you’re eating something of substance. Make sandwiches and pack fresh fruit and any other healthy items. We’re not saying you can’t eat a whole container of Pringles or snack on beef jerky. However, make sure you’re also eating food with some nutrients.

HOT TAKE
RV hacks are overrated, just use your common sense!

Bring Entertainment

The first few hours of your road trip can be exciting. However, boredom can quickly set in, especially if the landscapes aren’t compelling. For these moments, make sure you bring plenty of options for entertainment along for the ride.

Create playlists and download your favorite podcast. While you can stream these, cell service may not always be available. When those moments happen, you’ll be glad you took our advice and downloaded them.

Capture Memories

Remember to empty your phone or memory cards before your trip. There’s likely going to be a lot of scenery and moments that you’ll want to capture. You don’t want to be in the middle of photographing an epic experience and discover that your storage is full.

If storage is an issue, it may be worth purchasing a large memory card or finding an alternative solution. You’ll want to have the photographs and videos to reflect on years later. Thankfully, technology makes it easier than ever for us all to document our adventures.

A group of friends smiling and laughing on their road trip.

Stay Safe

While you may not technically add “stay safe” to your road trip checklist, we think it’s worth a reminder. Make sure you’re focused on the road and not distracted on your road trip. In addition, avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation, especially at night.

If you ever find yourself uncomfortable, look for an escape route. Be smart about where you’re parking or leaving your vehicle. Report any suspicious activities to law enforcement. As we often say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Get Your Kicks with a Road Trip Checklist

Now that we’ve shared some tips for what should be on your road trip checklist, it’s time to build yours. As we said, the sooner you can start on your road trip checklist, the better.

Repeatedly going over it can help ensure you don’t miss anything important. So what are you waiting for? Start creating your road trip checklist today!

Is there anything else you would add to the road trip checklist?

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