Family or solo, road trips can be wonderful or a disaster. They seem so simple, just get in a car and go. But to be successful, the trip does need planning. You all may know how much I enjoy driving in new places. For me the most important plan is to have a detailed road map. Paper ones are still available as well as on your favorite device. I am not big on GPS but they do come in handy.
Not part of the actual road trip, but I believe knowing where you are going to sleep each night lowers anxiety and conversation. I always have reservations. It also prevents spending too much time in one place and then not have enough in the next.
When packing, it is better to have two small suitcases than one big bag. Some items can be left in the trunk (boot) of the car. Never in the back seat. Also, dirty clothes can be easily separated with two items.
Be prepared for emergencies—especially snack attacks. Of course we have a spare tire, car jack, jugs of potable water, and a first-aid kit in our trunk. AAA membership in a domestic trip may be a good idea. But the thing I’ve found unequivocally useful on the road, time after time, are snacks. The healthier, the better. Favorite driving snacks are dried mango, roasted nuts, and Cliff bars. Sugary soda is best avoided, so fill reusable water bottles before setting out. I have a client who loves road trips, and the first thing he does after getting the car is to go buy an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler for beverages and fruit.
Everything important should be kept in your glove compartment. I’m not just talking about the vehicle registration and owner’s manual. A glove compartment can have wipes, napkins, utensils, Ziploc bags, and garbage bags, toilet paper, USB cords, a 12-volt smartphone adapter, a bottle opener, and 100 SPF sunblock.
Lastly, Love to shop, don’t be afraid to ship stuff home. When I travel abroad I often ship home. It may not be cheap but sure is handy. I have sent home an oriental rug, painted Ostridge egg, olive oil and a Maasai bust. On the other hand, once in Paris I purchased another piece of luggage and carried the ceramic dishware home!