Who doesn’t love a road trip? The opportunity to have a holiday abroad or in your own country and stop in a couple of different places along the way!
It had been our dream for such a long time, so much so that we bought a LonelyPlanet Guide on the Pacific Northwest of the US about 4 years before we even actually went away!
When planning such a huge trip, we wanted to be a in a position where we could do everything we wanted to do whilst we were out there and didn’t want to be on too much of a tight budget. We planned a 3 and a half week trip starting in Seattle and working out way down to Los Angeles where we would be finishing the trip and staying with family.
I thought I would share some advice if you are thinking about planning a road trip and have no idea where to start!
SET A BUDGET
I think this one is always a key part of anything you are planning. We sat down first of all and worked out how long we wanted to go for, which kind of hotels we wanted to stay in, then we worked out car hire costs, food costs per day.
From this we could gauge what our rough minimum costings would be. We then decided on what spending money we wanted to take and the experiences we wanted to do.
MAP OUT YOUR ROUTE
Google maps was invaluable to us throughout our planning! We used the maps and pinned the main locations we wanted to stop at and then planned our route from there. It was good to be organised in the sense of that we knew how long we had in each place, to make sure we got to see the area and do the fun things! We didn’t want our time to be cut short anywhere, so having this plan was great.
On the other hand of mapping out your route, make sure you are being flexible and leaving some room for spontaneity, thats the whole fun part of planning a road trip right? If Curly had planned the trip, he wouldn’t have booked any hotels and would have just played it day by day, that was my idea of a nightmare – I just had visions of us driving along a highway, tired and needing to stop and not finding a hotel for miles! Haha! Although having done the trip, I think it would have been fine if we hadn’t booked accommodation, but I am super pleased how we planned it as it was excitement building up to the next part of the trip!
Anyway, keeping things flexible, halfway through our trip we actually decided to change things up and cancelled a few hotels. We booked all our accommodation apart from 2 through Expedia.com this actually turned out to be amazing, as not only did we get a stack of Sainsbury points (woop!) but it meant if we cancelled our accommodation we got quick refunds and didn’t need to faff around calling ahead hotels.
Always double check your hotels booking policy, but we were super fortunate that as long as we were cancelling more than 24 hours ahead we got a full refund. As a result of this, we actually managed to move forward our time in San Fransisco which was the best decision we made.
AGREE YOUR TOP MUST SEE’S & DO’S
We did loads of research on the West Coast of the US and decided to map out at least 5 places we definitely wanted to go to – Seattle, Portland, San Franscisco, Las Vegas & Los Angeles.
With it being such a big trip we both had ideas of how we wanted the trip to be, but also both had different ideas on what we wanted to do or see. At the end fo the day it has to come down to compromise. We both sat down and chose our top 2 must dos, for me it was to go to Palm Springs and see a show in Vegas! It is all about getting the balance between what you both want on the trip – obviously if you are travelling on your own, amazing you can do what you want! The only thing on my list that we decided not to do in the end was go to Crater Lake, mainly because it was so far out of the original route that we had planned, it was taking out valuable time in the places we really didn’t want to cut our time short on.
But definitely agree on it before hand! Means no arguments on the trip, you know exactly what you want to do when you get to a new place and you won’t waste time to try to plan it in the moment of the top things you want to do.
Final Top Tips:
-Don’t overlook cheaper accommodation
-Allow for flexibility in schedule
-Cool Box for the car (best place to keep the snacks)
-If you are planning a quick stop one night rather than lugging all your luggage in, we packed our valuables, toiletries and clothes we needed for that night and the next day in our smaller cabin bag and plan it the night before.
– When arranging your car hire check to see if the prices are different on the .co.uk or the .com site (and always use Private Browsing) we saved hundreds of pounds on car hire by using this method!
I hope you enjoyed this post – we absolutely loved planning our trip, it was the exciting part to the build up. I spent hours scouring Pinterest and Instagram beforehand too to get lots of ideas of good places to eat and drink too! We are planning 2 more road trips in the next coming years, which we are super excited about and will share more on this soon.
Did you find this article helpful? Are you planning a road trip – I’d love to hear where you are going? Or if you want any more advice, drop a comment below and let’s start a conversation 🙂
Love, Charlotte x