10 Tips for Your Next Solo Road Trip

By Sam Casteris on November 29, 2018

Traveling alone doesn’t have to be stressful. So before you head out on your next adventure, keep in mind these 10 tips for your next solo road trip.

via Pexels.com

1. Know What to Expect

Plan ahead by doing research on the route you want to take and set realistic expectations for yourself. Knowing that you won’t be able to see the entire country will help you narrow down the most important sites and places you want to see. You don’t want to stress yourself out by not having enough time to experience all the things on your bucket list. And if you’ll be camping along the way, prepare by validating the campsite facilities and general surrounding area. Be sure to check to see whether there will be power available or cellular service. If you won’t have reception, it’s best to know ahead of time.

2. Pack Light

Road tripping doesn’t require anything super fashionable. Leave most of your closet behind and pack only the basics–a couple pairs of quick-drying pants and shorts, a few shirts, and a good rain jacket and warm jacket. The chances that you’ll be wearing the same thing every day are higher than usual, and you don’t want to spend your travel time in a laundromat. Comfortable shoes are also very important for all the exploring you’ll do outside of the car. For driving, wear a sturdy pair of sandals. so your feet can breathe.

3. Share Your Plans

While traveling alone, it’s important to tell at least one person where you’re going. Either a close friend or family member, someone in the world should have a copy of your itinerary, expected arrival times, and any other pertinent information about your trip. Be sure to check in while on your trip so they know you’ve made it safely to your destinations.

4. Stay Safe

No matter where you drive, emergencies and accidents happen. Stay prepared by packing a first-aid kit, extra water, non-perishables, and roadside hazard supplies like cones and flares. For extra precaution, you can download a phone tracking app so your emergency contact can stay aware of where you are. And every traveler should have a list of emergency contacts that is readily accessible.

5. Document Everything

Like all good things, traveling doesn’t last forever–so be sure to take pictures of what matters to you! Even better, keep a daily journal of your adventures. You’ll feel a little less lonely by sharing these photos and moments with your friends and family. Post them to social media or direct message them via email or text so everyone can see how much fun you’re having.

via Pexels.com

6. Meet Other Travelers

Even with all the music, podcasts, and deep thinking in the world, driving alone for long stretches of time can feel isolating. Avoid this by striking up conversations with people everywhere you go. Hostels and sites like Couchsurfing are a great (and inexpensive) way to find a place to sleep for the night while also potentially meeting a whole new group of friends. Plus, talking to people is another way to learn the good local spots that may not be mentioned in any guide books.

7. Know Where You’re Going

Even if you’re using a GPS or your phone to navigate, we recommend keeping a physical map with you in case those gadgets fail. Odd-numbered highways run north to south, while even-numbered ones go from east to west. Two-digit highways often go straight through a city, while three-digit roads go around them. And “I” roads are interstates, meaning they are the fastest, less scenic routes to take. Take advantage of the welcome centers when you cross state lines on major highways. You can stop in to rest your legs and ask any questions you might have, as well as load up on free maps!

8. Prepare Your Vehicle Beforehand

Before you leave, take your car to a licensed mechanic and get it serviced for the road trip ahead. includes an oil change, topping off fluids such as antifreeze and coolant, testing the car battery, and checking the tires. Plus, clean out any old trash or clutter from your car so you can start the trip fresh.

Or, if you have enough time to prepare, consider other options. If you’re taking a long-term trip that will require thousands of miles and the ability to use your car as a traveling home, save up for a used car that is reputable and popular. These models sell later for more, meaning you’ll recoup more of your investment.

9. Take Breaks

Don’t ever risk driving when you’re tired. Ever. Doing so will only result in exhaustion and loss of focus, which means a higher chance of getting into an accident (and endangering drivers around you). With no one around to keep you awake and entertained, you’ll have to rely on yourself to pull over and rest when you need. Take care of yourself and don’t push it too hard. You’ll have a more enjoyable trip this way, and stay safe.

10. Trust Your Gut

Your intuition knows more than you think, and you should trust it when something doesn’t feel right. Especially if you aren’t a big planner or you don’t know where you’ll be sleeping every night–if something feels off, it probably is and you should keep moving on.

Virginia Commonwealth University Student out to learn all I can about travel, personal finance, and student success.

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