You only live once. For most millennials, to be able to travel the world is their ultimate dream. But while flying abroad seems to be the trend these days, road tripping remains to be the best choice for travelers seeking to explore different places while skipping the inconvenience of air flights. In fact, recent figures show that 85 percent of American vacations are domestic. Furthermore, more and more people are choosing to hit the road even if they only have four or five days than book an international flight and spend a week or two on travel.

Road tripping is undoubtedly fun. But it isn’t like you just hop in your car and let the adventure begin. It requires planning and preparation too.

So how do you plan for that ultimate road trip you’ve been dreaming to take?

road trip

Create a budget

When planning for a road trip, one of the most overlooked things is the budget. While domestic vacations might sound inexpensive, it still is going to cost you some money. For instance, if you’re taking a road trip around California, expect to spend anywhere from $150 to $250 per day to cover the cost of gas, food, car rental (if you’re getting one), parking fees, lodging, and entry to various attractions. Speaking of the budget, you want to be financially prepared so you can enjoy the trip more. Consider:

Save up in advance. If you have little time to do so, short-term installment loans are a great option instead of withdrawing from your emergency savings account.

Travel with a group. This way, you can split the costs and save money on things like food, gas and lodging.

road trip pacific northwest

Plan your routes

It goes without saying that you need to plan for your itinerary, like what particular destinations or places you want to visit. However, you should not forget about identifying your route. You want to go for a shorter trip for each destination and not spend eight hours on the car when you can have it in three or four hours. There are many apps that let you find the shortest routes so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Prepare for the unexpected

While you want to stick to your plan – from the itinerary to the route and everything in between, be prepared to keep your plan loose. Anything can happen, from blocked roads to bad weather, delays, etc. Whatever happens, strive to keep a positive mindset and let it all become part of the whole experience.

Prep your car

Among the things you need to be sure of is the condition of your vehicle. Basically, you want your road trip to run smoothly and ensure the safety of your car and that of your passengers. A week before your trip, have your car checked – from the fluid levels to the breaks, engine, wheels, etc. Be sure you have a spare tire that is fully inflated. Additionally, get your car cleaned. You and your family (or friends) will be staying on it for many hours. You don’t want the clutter, dust, and dirt to be ruining your trip.

road trip car wash

Pack light but don’t forget the food

Packing is part of any travel journey, regardless if you hate it. So you don’t forget a thing, write down a checklist of your road trip must-haves. Don’t forget to pack some food. You might think you can always buy some at the next gasoline station or at your next stop but again – delays like traffic can get in the way. You don’t want to spoil your trip because of your hunger.

Plan for entertainment

Road trips are fun. But boredom can strike especially after a few hours on the road. Be sure to have something to cheer everyone on – such as music playlists, podcasts, books, magazines, and games for the kiddos, etc. Don’t forget to bring chargers for your gadgets or a power bank. You certainly need those.

Enjoy the ride

The ride is the most important part of your journey. So don’t get too strict with following your itinerary. If there is something you want to see along the way, go ahead and stop. Want to take a selfie? Do so! It’s all part of the experience. Enjoy every minute of the journey.

There you go – some helpful tips to consider when planning for that perfect road trip. Drive safely!