The wide open road, unexpected encounters and utter spontaneity – road trips are the ultimate summer adventure.

But unless you’re ready to throw caution to the wind entirely (and if you are, hats off – you’re braver than us), taking a road trip involves more than just getting in the car and driving: you first need to know (roughly) where you’re going, what to pack, how to keep the peace with your car mates, and how to ensure you’re taking full advantage of your trip. We know, it’s a lot to consider. So, to help you plan your next vacation on wheels, we asked avid travel bloggers from around the world to share their road trip secrets.

Amanda Williams of A Dangerous Business


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When Planning… The first thing to do is to settle on a general region or route for your trip, and then decide what your absolute must-sees are going to be along the way. I sometimes plan road trips around themes, too, like a fall road trip in northern Michigan, or a national parks-focused road trip around the Southwestern US

My Must-Pack Items… Include things for the car (like an external power bank for charging up all the tech I travel with, plus a small cooler and a roadside emergency kit); things that make exploring easier (like a reusable water bottle and a National Parks Pass if I’m travelling in the US); and road-trip-friendly clothing (like good hiking/walking shoes, sun protection and clothing I can layer).

My Secret Tip Is… Always, always assume things will take longer than you think. Drive times will be longer. Hikes will take longer. Packing up the car every day will take longer. So don’t try to pack too much in, especially on a road trip when half the fun is having the freedom to stop at random roadside attractions, or take a detour that looks interesting.

Isabel Villegas Jaramillo of Isa Por Ahí


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When Planning… Always take into account the opinion of the locals. They usually recommend less-travelled roads with amazing landscapes that only locals know. They also recommend places less visited by tourists, where you will find peace and perhaps even encounter an indigenous culture.

In Case Of Disagreements… We always put the pros and cons of each position and decide, together, what the best option is. Another tip is to look for a third opinion. If we can’t reach an agreement, we will ask someone else, be it a friend who has done the same route, a local who knows the area, or even sometimes we let Google decide for us.

My Secret Tip Is… Enjoy the present, the now. We spend our lives planning for the future, and we never end up doing what we plan. Live thinking that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Enjoy each moment as if it were the last, and never, never lose that ability to surprise yourself with the small and simple details that life gives you: a sunrise, birds singing, the sea, a starry night.

Tasha Courtney and Dave Neal of Tada Travels

When Planning… We normally budget how many hours we’d ideally like to drive per day, and then count backwards from our final destination to choose our overnight stops. And from there, looking at our route, it’s easy to find landmarks, tourist attractions and hiking/sightseeing spots where we’d like to make pit-stops along the way.

My Must-Pack Items… Include a cooler for food and drinks, car chargers for both the USB ports and the cigarette lighter to cover our multitude of gadgets and gear, extra memory cards for the cameras, a paper map – just in case! – warm clothing for cool nights, and orthopaedic pillows for a great night’s sleep. 

My Secret Tip Is… Leave before sunrise. Getting on the road before the sun is up and traffic gets heavy is one of the best ways to cover ground quickly, and best of all, you can get to your destination earlier, while it’s still light out, so you have a chance to do some sightseeing or exploring in the daylight!

Carolina Fenoy and Santiago Bertaina of Hakuna Matata x El Mundo

When Planning… The first thing we do is look online for must-visit places in the province we’re visiting, and then, based on those places, we set the route. Also, locals and our followers share their suggestions.

Our Must-Pack Items… Include our home (which is tied to our van, so we take everything with us), our phone (because we use it as a GPS), the camera/drone (both for photographing and filming) and our trekking shoes. 

Our Secret Tip Is… Travel at a slow pace, as this will allow you to enjoy each destination more, discover new places and meet more people and their culture.

Naiara Botía of Modo Traveller

When Planning… We like to visit mountains and nature. We look for regions that combine charming villages, mountains for going hiking or trekking, and with good gastronomy of course! Travelling by car or camper gives you the freedom to reach lesser-known places and discover the most authentic parts of each place. So, before we travel, we usually read traveller blogs for inspiration.

My Must-pack Items… Include my camera and smartphone, with apps that make travels easier, such as Google Maps or; Wikiloc for routes; Park4night if we travel in a camper, and the radio traveller app to discover places in each destination. In my suitcase Iwe always have some hiking shoes, a backpack to carry the essentials during the routes, and a refillable bottle of water.

My Secret Tip Is… To let yourself be carried away by the destination. The best corners are always found by chance. If you see something that catches your attention during the journey, stop or detour, you will have few opportunities to see it again, and it may be the most wonderful thing about your trip. Seize the moment!

Nastasia Yakoub of Dame Traveler

When Planning… I tend to plan my road trips around the seasons to maximise the views along the journey! The West Coast of the US in the summer, East Coast in the autumn, and DC in spring time to catch the cherry blossoms are some of my favourites.

In Case Of Disagreements… I mostly travel solo, but if I am travelling with someone else, I like to have a rough plan of what we all agree on to limit disagreements in the first place. I think setting boundaries and communicating non-negotiables beforehand eliminates headaches on the road. 

My Secret Tip Is… To snag my latest hardcover travel book, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure, you’ll find all of the secret tips and more! 

Alex Berger of The Berger Bungalow


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When Planning… Once I know how much time I’m working with, and know how much time I’m willing to spend on the road, I circle a few potential locations on a map and then figure out which one is the most appealing to me. From Atlanta, some of my favourite road trips are Charleston, Amelia Island, Montgomery and Nashville.

In Case Of Disagreements… I’ve learned that group trips are not just about myself. When you travel with others, you have to realise that it is also their trip, and they might have a different view on what ‘relaxation’ or ‘fun’ looks like compared to your view on it. A group trip is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and you really just have to put yourself in their shoes, roll with the punches, and focus on having fun, no matter what you are doing. After all, any kind of travelling is better than being at work, right!?

My Secret Tip Is… Just learn to roll with the punches and focus on the positives in each situation. When we travelled to Italy, we missed our train and ended up stuck in Pisa very late at night. There were no hotels open, we could not find a train at that time of night, and our options were very limited. We finally caught a late-night bus, which was really stressful in the moment. Looking back, while it was not fun at the time, it is a great memory now because we were able to experience the ‘real’ side of Italy with our family!

Thuha Nguyen of Hello, Thuha and Host of Women of the World Podcast


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When Planning… I usually get inspired by my environment, so if I’m travelling somewhere and I feel like there are a lot of sights that are easier to be reached by car, I go from there. But there are definitely many places in the world that I have in mind where I know I want to take a road trip, such as Spain, so I guess it’s also about one’s own interest.

My Must-Pack Items… Include my S’well reusable water bottle, which is super handy so that I don’t have to rely on those single plastic bottles. Plus the bottle keeps things cold or hot, win-win! Good hiking shoes are also a must, as I tend to seek out the best hiking spots when I’m travelling. And it’s always good to have a sturdy pair of shoes with you that are waterproof.

In Case Of Disagreements… I think the best thing is to be open with each other. I try to communicate things as soon as I notice that a disagreement is coming. But I also think that it’s equally important to be able to not let the small things get to you. I allow myself to have disagreements because it’s important, but I don’t let it control the trip. 

My Secret Tip Is… You don’t need to buy a guide book – the best advice about the places to go always comes from locals. That’s why you should always try to befriend a local person wherever you go, and the good thing is that sometimes you also get a friend for life! 

Luke and Katie Hogan of The Ungraceful Guide

When Planning… We have always had a big ‘country’ bucket list, usually full of suggestions from people we have met along our travels. When it comes to deciding where to visit next, we always start with a little research using blogs. Based on where we are at the time, we figure out the ideal starting point, the easiest way to cross a border, what is the visa situation, etc. 

In Case Of Disagreements… Delegating jobs means that you have all angles covered and builds trust, a different kind of ‘couple trust’. It allows you both to depend on each other without taking any roles or independence away. After delegation is communication. There is no room for silent treatments or nit-picking. It is okay to tell someone they have annoyed you or that you don’t fancy speaking to them for a short while. But say it! That way you always know where the other stands.

Our Secret Tip Is… You will never fully experience a country and its culture if you only hang out with other tourists. Spend time with the locals!

Abraham García and Marina Merino of Nomad Expedition

When Planning… We look for places, we make a list of the destinations that have caught our attention the most, and we begin to analyse them one by one: budget, distance between points of interest, places to see, weather, etc. With all this information, it’s a lot easier for us to choose where we want to go.

Our Must-Pack Items… Include our mobile phones, a physical map, good music, a car charger and cable, a camera, and water and snacks, since you never know what to expect when you’re out on the road.

Our Secret Tip Is… Let yourself be carried away by the freedom that travelling by road generates. Let yourself be seduced by those sensations, but be careful! They are addictive. Also, always listen to the advice of the local people since they know the place best and will give you the best information about the destination. And do not forget that the best restaurants are never on the main streets; sometimes you need to turn your phone off and get lost to find the places most worth visiting.

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