11 Easy Tips to Make Your Road Trip Legendary

Road Trip Tips

It's road trip season. Whether you take to the road annually or are about to make your first pilgrimage across the country, the guidance of those who have traveled the winding road before you is invaluable. 

Specific tips on the path you'll travel are great, because knowing who has the best pancakes in Western Colorado is next level advice. The 11 tips below are good no matter how long you'll be on the road or what path you're spending the summer exploring.

Take Breaks and Shuffle Drivers

Keep taking small breaks at beautiful locations. Carry some group games like cards or something similar, have one mat or something similar that you can spread anywhere and sit and relax. 

Keep shuffling the driver and seats of everyone so that no one falls into a true comfort zone and becomes lazy.
— Goranka Medhi

Have Map Back-Ups That Don't Rely on the Internet

Install several navigation apps that support offline maps and pre-download maps for the region you will travel.

I had two Android devices each with HERE Maps,, and MapFactor Navigator, plus maps of Iceland for each app. Some of them turned out to be better at navigation, some other made finding next gas station easier.

Of course, always have a detailed paper map of the area as a backup.
— Marcin Rokosz

GPS > Smartphone

Navigation screens beat phones once you leave the city. My car knows where I am at any point and while it may not have Google's updates, I'll take the road direction over no direction. Garmin or a map, always... don't assume you'll get a signal when you leave the main roads.
— Ted Sindzinski

Carry a Gas Can

Carry a spare 5-gallon gas tank.
— Mihir Godbole

Do Your Research, Buy Cheap Gas

Try to fill your gas tank in cheaper states. During our trip, the cheapest was Arizona.
— Maria Andrejchuk

Pack a Sleeping Bag and a Tent 

Bring a sleeping bag and perhaps a tent. To build off my first point, a great road trip is about sights and if you're off the beaten path, being able to pull over in a national forest, cough up $5, and pop a tent for a few hours is a killer option for both budgeting and experiences. Conversely, while little towns can be great to stay in, they can also be dumps... give yourself flexibility, it beats roaches (seriously)!
— Ted Sindzinski

Trucker Stops

Trucker stops, all the way. To survive driving all day you will have stop a few times, but where? Pilot and similar truck-driver places tend to be open all night, well-lit, fairly safe, heated, have some food options, tons of supplies, and lots of (usually clean) restrooms. Beats the heck out of some tiny gas station.
— Ted Sindzinski

When Flying Solo, Check-In Frequently

If traveling solo, check in often. With [all the] social media out there today, this is easier than ever.  It helps alleviate the worries of family and friends. It can also be used to retrace your steps should a catastrophe occur. If people know you were going to drive an old, seldom-used road in the desert, they'll also know where to look if they don't here from you for a few days. This can be helpful if you're stranded days from anywhere.
Sean Kelly

Know Your Time Zone

This one might seem a little silly, but it's worth mentioning nevertheless. If you are traveling east-west, keep a tab of the time zones. On one of our road trips, we ended up missing a tour because of the time zone confusion!
— Narendran Sundhara Rajan

Wet Wipes, For Real

Always have a pack of wet wipes in the glove compartment. If you feel tired and can't find a gas station to pull over and wash your face, wet wipes are super helpful in freshening you up. Also, if you were to spill any sticky food/beverage, they come in handy to clean up!
— Narendran Sundhara Rajan

Step Away from the Phone

Put down your  M#^%&*  F@%$&!g  phone!  How do you best connect with your surroundings;  LOOK AT THEM, FOR GOD'S SAKE!
— Sean Kelly

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.