Berty and I seem to find ourselves in the car…a lot. But we love it!
From making a day trip to the coast or taking a morning (or sunset!) hike in the mountains, we are lucky to be within driving distance of countless breathtaking destinations. The PNW is great like that!
Close proximity to awesome places is another reason why we’ve created our ultimate PNW bucket list too. We can easily get in the car and make a weekend road trip to some of our dream destinations.
Do you find yourself wanting to see more of the Pacific Northwest? Or even your home state…?
Read on to find out how to plan a successful road trip!
9 Questions To Ask When Planning a Road Trip
While we wish it was as easy as hopping in the car and going, it actually takes work to plan a successful road trip! Smart preparation will allow you to finish your trip with money still in the bank, and a car that still works
. Here are some of the things we consider before hitting the gas pedal…
1. How Long Will You Be Gone?
One week? Two months? No matter what the length, make sure you prepare your home before you leave. This will ensure that no matter how long you are gone, you come back to a clean, comfy home! If you will be gone for a long time, make arrangements to have your bills paid or any other matter dealt with in your absence.
Read More: 8 Steps To Planning A Flawless Weekend Trip
2. What Time of Year?
Road conditions vary significantly from winter to summer, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Make sure to consult weather reports and road condition websites before you hit the road. Snow requires extra time, supplies, and lots of patience.
Read More: Build Your Own Car Emergency Kit
3. How Far Will You Travel?
Day trips and cross-country trips require very different planning.
If you are driving a far distance, make sure your car is running smoothly with no problems. Check that there aren’t any road closures along your way, and that you give yourself enough time to get to your destination.
Read More: The Ultimate Pacific Coast Road Trip
4. Where Will You Sleep?
Will you be camping? In a car? Sleeping in a hotel? How glamorous do you want to get? A good night’s rest is extremely important, not only for your health but for safe driving in general.
Make sure you know where rest stops are along your way and make sure you have a plan for the night!
5. How Many People?
Will all your friends fit into one car? Will there be a caravan?
If you are driving multiple vehicles, makes sure to exchange numbers and keep chargers in the car for easy communication. Walkie Talkies are also a fun idea, especially in places with bad or spotty cell service.
Upside to more people: drivers can be rotated out so that no one gets sleepy at the wheel.
The downside to more people: more total costs – so make sure to track all expenses and have everyone pitch in their fair share for gas, food, etc.
6. Big City Stops or Small Towns?
No matter the destination, make sure you are prepared for the size.
With larger cities come things like rush hour and limited curb parking. Small towns could also have limited access to services. It’s also really important to remember to take valuables with you in the city and not leave them in your car!
Read More: 11 Tips On How To Stay Safe In Big Cities
7. Do You Have A Reliable Car?
This is extremely important for those cross-country road trip planners. Make sure to also pack a car emergency kit to get yourself out of sticky situations. Stop by your local or regular mechanic and tell them about your trip. They will know what to check before you leave.
8. What’s Your Budget?
It’s very important to know how much you are willing to spend before heading out on your journey. Here are some ideas on how to save for you next adventure.
Looking to find gear but don’t have a ton of money to spend? Read our 10 strategies to finding outdoor gear on a budget!
9. Did You Consider Extras Like Tolls, Parking Fees, etc?
Make sure to add room in your budget for surprise costs.
Sometimes emergencies happen, and it’s always good to be prepared. We would even consider bringing extra small bills if you end up in the middle of nowhere and need some quick supplies.