Preparing For Your First Summer Road Trip

One of the most exciting things to experience after getting your driver’s license is taking your first summer road trip! Traveling on your time and no one else’s, there’s nothing like the feeling of hitting the open road. Whether you’re heading down the major highways from city to city or going off the typical busy roads and hitting the backroads to explore small towns and natural scenery, the summer road trip is the perfect way to make lifelong memories about the journey as well as the destination.

Summer Road Trip

Of course, such an adventure isn’t one that you should plan on the spur of the moment, especially if it’s your first time doing this. Preparing for your first road trip will require more than just preparing yourself for a long drive. You should expect a lot of planning, packing, and preparations to do at home. The following tips should help your plan for the best summer road trip!

Plan on additional time

While hitting the gas pedal to the floor is tempting on the highway, you don’t want to overdo it and end up rushing your first summer road trip. It would be a good idea to plan out a schedule that will allow sufficient time to take a few breaks to stretch, rest, stay overnight, and most importantly, not feel tempted to speed because you’re running late to reach your destination. One experience that would be certain to put a damper on your first road trip is getting pulled over by the police for speeding and having to pay the fine, gain demerit points, and have an increase in insurance premiums. This means, take your time.

Pack plenty of snacks

Many sections of the road will warn you that an upcoming highway exit is the last exit for a certain amount of time. The roadside signs let you know which exits have fuel, food, and lodging. If you find yourself feeling hungry between planned stops, you’ll want to make sure you have brought enough food to snack on. Even without those feelings of hunger, you can avoid the high prices and impulse buys at rest stops along the way by stocking up ahead of time.

Keep a small bag of your snacks and a small cooler of cold water on the floor in the backseat. This will make it easy for your front-seat passenger to reach without causing any major distraction for you.

Prepare your music playlist

Once you reach outside of the major media markets, your favourite radio station becomes unreliable and other radio stations may not be to your taste. Ensure your playlists on your phones are updated so you’ll have uninterrupted music for your trip. What’s a summer road trip without music? Now is your time to catch up on new albums and any podcasts you may have missed, so ensure to load up before you go.

Plan for something to go wrong

Preparing for your first road trip also means preparing for any worst-case scenarios to happen as well. This means you should have a survival kit ready to take with you. It’s not a huge kit, but just a few items you should pack in a duffle bag. Pack a first-aid kit, a flashlight, blankets, and other essentials in case something goes wrong while you’re on the road and any roadside assistance isn’t available immediately. Whether you’re driving across town or the countryside, safety should always be considered.

Daytime travel is ideal

It should be noted that congestion and heavy traffic are part of your summer road trip while going through any major city. It’s normal. Just go with it and try not to get too uptight. You may want to travel later at night to avoid rush hour, although it’s not ideal. This is because unless you know exactly where you’re going, you may miss your exits or turns.

The problems of traveling at night include reduced visibility, a higher increase in wildlife activity, driver fatigue, and the fact there will be fewer services available, including gas stations, rest stops, and restaurants should you need them.

Drowsy driving

To feel drowsy behind the wheel, it may have been that you had poor sleep recently, perhaps over the last few days. After you get behind the wheel and begin to drive, your eyes may seem to get extremely tired after a while of driving. This is when you realize you really need some sleep.

Having a 15 – 20-minute nap can make a big difference to help keep you awake so you can continue driving. However, sometimes you can’t safely pull over. There are a few things you can do to help you remain awake long enough until you do get a chance to pull into a safe place to have a rest, including blowing cold air on your face, singing to music, and having a conversation with a passenger. Switching drivers once you do find a safe place to pull over is a good idea.

In an emergency

Having a roadside assistance membership is definitely a big plus before heading out on your road trip. Think of it as a form of insurance. If something does go wrong with your vehicle, you have access to being towed to the closest garage for repairs.

Deer and other nighttime wildlife can also be a concern during your summer road trip. If an animal approaches directly in front of you, try to resist the urge to suddenly swerve out of the way. It’s a normal human reaction, but there can be safer responses.

Moving your eyes from treeline to treeline will help you spot the larger animals before they reach the road. This can give you time to brake quickly and early to avoid them. Hitting a larger animal is not recommended, so doing whatever you can to safely avoid them is key for survival.


Summer road trips are a lot of fun, but they do take planning and driving should be taken seriously. Following these suggestions can help make this first summer road trip memorable.