100 Road Trip Hacks for a Great Summer

We’ve spent the past few months researching different tips and tricks that will make your life that much easier when you and your family decide to hit the road. Below are 100 hacks that can save you time, money, and stress when preparing for your next weekend getaway.

1. Make sure you’ve had your car checked over by a mechanic you trust before hitting the road.

2. Do number 1 at least a week before your scheduled trip to avoid any serious complications.

3. Hang your tablet or iPad off of your car’s sun visor for a makeshift TV monitor for handsfree streaming and movies.

4. Use cling wrap for a makeshift lid on any drinks you bring to avoid spills.

5. Pack a bag or two with napkins and eatery to make sure you’re ready for any “on the go” meals.

6. Get a cooler and pack meals, snacks, and drinks ahead of time to save money on take out and avoid having to stop to eat too much at a time.

7. Take a cereal container, add an old grocery bag, and snap the seal on top. You have yourself a car sized covered trash can.

8. You can also do the same thing as above, hanging old grocery bags in specific places in your car, to just throw away any loose garbage while on the road.

9. Using your phone as a GPS? Go hands free by making a phone mount that can hang off your air vents with a binder clip and a rubber band.

10. Invest in an actual GPS and keep your phone in the glove box so you are not tempted to answer any notifications that may pop up while driving.  They usually come with window mounts to be hands free. Your safety is priority.

11. Afraid of public restrooms? Don’t fret! There’s an app developed by Charmin known as “SitorSquat” which provides ratings on different public restrooms in any area you’re driving. You can find the closest and the cleanest ones to go to by color coordinated TP rolls.

12. Even that last penny can make a difference, they say.  Download the “Gas Buddy” app to search for the cheapest, and nearest, gas station to fill up at.

13. Are you planning on skipping the hotel for your car instead? Bring along an inflatable pool raft for maximum comfort in the back seat.

14. Please park in a safe, public location, in order to ensure your safety while getting some rest from being on the road.

15. Got little ones and not enough Tupperware? Upcycle your old coffee creamer containers by filling them with small snacks your kids can munch on while you hit the road.

16. Buy a 5 port car charger to keep everyone’s devices in the car charged up.

17. Got enough room for the family companion?  Get your dog a safety seat to keep them comfortable and danger free while traveling the open roads.

18. Just like airplanes, you can invest in portable car tables that will allow you to have a drop down option for meals on the go.

19. If you’re traveling with kids, avoid the inevitable “Are we there yet?” questions with a laminated travel map. Have your kids trace the route and cross off landmarks as you go!

20. Invest in a AAA emergency kit when you are on a road trip. It will have all of the basic essentials for any unpredictable road situations you may incur.

21. Be an AAA member for the same reason above but in case those unpredictable situations go out of hand.  They’re always around to be a helping hand.

22. Keep extra outfits stored in Ziploc bags handy in the car in case you have babies or kids that get messy real quickly.

23. Use your spare sunglasses case to store any chargers, headphones, or loose cables you need while on your trip.

24. Always keep a spare map in case you’re stuck somewhere without phone or GPS reception.

25. When you’re out of spare cup holders, use a big roll of duct tape and stuck your drink in the middle hole.

26. Bring shower caddies and use them to store food, coloring supplies, or other car activities for your kids.

27. Keep an open box of dryer sheets in your car to rid any unwanted odors.

28. Don’t pack a lot, pack smart. Make sure the back end has enough visibility for the driver to use the rear view mirror. Safety is your top priority.

29. Bring an address book and stamps with you so you can stay on top of all of the people you plan to send postcards to.

30. Be sure to know two primary car fix-it tips: know how to change a flat tire, and know how to jump a dead battery.

31. Or, bring someone along who knows how to do the above two things.

32. Get an audio adapter for your phone or ipod so you can listen to whatever you want to hear.

33. Or, go old school and burn some of your favorite songs onto a CD mix.

34. Better yet, bring all of your old CD’s as a blast to the past.

35. Use cloth shoe organizers to hang on the back of bucket seats for extra storage options.

36. Keep spare change and cash on hand to pay toll booths.

37. Sleeping in your car over night? Make a road trip hygiene pack to be sure you and your loved ones stay clean and stink free on the journey ahead.

38. Always be sure to pack extra medicine your family may need for anyone who may be car sick, experiencing a cold, or allergies along the drive.

39. Use shower suction baskets to add more storage space on the sides of your windows in the back seat for the kids.

40. Be sure to keep the child lock on all doors and windows when driving so no one can pull a fast one while you’re distracted.

41. Need even more storage? Get a rooftop cargo box.

42. Cut down on bottled water by having refillable water bottles you can fill up along the way. Consider keeping a large gallon jug of water in the car to prevent dehydration on long journeys when you can’t stop as much.

43. Pack a bag with wet wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and trash bags for any accidental road spills or messes.

44. Pack an old school Polaroid or a Fujifilm instant camera for quick memories on the run.

45. Bring a neck pillow for a more comfortable ride.

46. Take turns with the passenger and give yourself a break and get some shut eye.

47. There’s nothing wrong with a stop here and there. Consider every 2-3 hours taking a break for a quick meal, to sight see, or just to even stretch your legs. It makes your trip more memorable

48. Invest in a pacifier clip so the binky stays close to where your little one can grab it.

49. Use a Ziploc and two bungee cords around the head rest of your vehicle for a DIY tablet mount in the back seat.

50. Never forget to bring a spare pillow and blanket so you can snooze your way through the ride.

51. Do yourself a favor and only go on road trips with people you trust, and that you know you would have a good time with.

52. Sometimes pooling gas money with everyone in the group will save you most in the long run.

53. Never forget any important documentation you will need such as driver’s license, insurance, making sure your registration is up to date, any parking permits you may need, or even a passport if you plan to drive across any borders.

54. Sunglasses, baseball caps, or head visors can be your best friends during those hot summer days.

55. Are you going somewhere with a lot of sun? Be sure to bring that SPF!

56. A beach bag may be ideal for those long days in the sun.

57. If you are going to the beach, don’t forget to pack aloe. You will thank yourself for it later!

58. Pay close attention to your gas gauge while traveling. Don’t ever let it run close to empty. Always fill up around a quarter-tank because it increases fuel efficiency.

59. Taking little ones on your trip? It might be a wise idea for Mommy to sit in the back seat with them while Daddy drives. Or vice versa depending on what works best for you!

60. In case you’re stuck on the side of the road with a dead car battery, always keep a spare charging bank for your phone so you’re not stuck without access to help.

61. Keep the road trip entertaining with a few road games like the license plate game, counting cows, and more. Google can help you come up with tons of fun things to do while on the drive.

62. Using your phone GPS, you can mark your location while you wander around a new city to be worry free about where you left your vehicle.

63. Lost your razor cap? You can solve this in two ways: use a binder clip to cover it, or hot glue. It peels right off.

64. Find a way to keep spare money and credit cards in a hidden compartment in your car in case you end up losing your wallet.

65. Always keep a spare key in case you lock your keys in your car.

66. You can make window curtains with shower suction cups, a towel/fabric/blanket, and tape to cover the windows when sleeping to keep the sun out of your eyes.

67. If you plan to spend the night in your car, you are welcome to do so at your local walmart. They allow cars to take the further parking spaces in their lot to safely get some sleep. You just have to let them know what you’re doing.

68. Trying to stay on a budget but don’t want to sleep in your car? Sites like couchsurfing or BeWelcome can connect you with locals who won’t charge you anything to stay at their house for a night.

69. Apps like Venmo make it easy to digitally transfer money between people so you can pool your cash for things like food, gas, and lodging.

70. Most GPS’s have the option to avoid toll roads when picking a destination route. Be sure to make that option to save on spending for tolls.

71. Using cruise control can increase your fuel economy.

72. Invest in a trunk cover to keep prying eyes away from your vehicle.

73. Get a map, and put it in a plastic sleeve or plastic bag.  Use a dry erase marker and mark your way through your journey as you reach your destination.

74. Plan out your time before you leave so that you know exactly what you’re going to be doing and how much time you will need to do it.

75. Be spontaneous.

76. Try not to over steer while on the road. It can damage your steering and suspension.

77. Besides just having an emergency kit for your car, always pack a first aid kit as well.  It’s better to be prepared.

78. Put silicone cupcake liners in your cupholders to keep all drink residue and other little findings in a secure, clean place.

79. When bringing your fluffy friend for a ride, be sure they have a safe place to travel. But also give them enough potty breaks and time to stretch their legs when you get out too.  Also keep them hydrated.  This is very important!

80. Never leave your animals in the car trapped on a hot day!

81. Eat healthy while you’re on the road.  Most people default to making poor food decisions while traveling. Be different, pack smart and healthy food that will keep you energized and hydrated along your ride.

82. When packing, put the most important things on top to make it easier to locate between stops.

83. Be sure to organize your back end.  Put the bigger, heavier things on the bottom and flow to have the small things on top leaving space to see through the rear view window.

84. Never skip out on the insurance option when renting a vehicle.

85. A good hoodie can double as a sun visor to block out light when trying to take a snooze.

86. Always have a back up option for directions in case you lose reception.

87. There’s always a reason to keep an umbrella in your car.

88. Even if the weather is supposed to be good, always pack at least one hoodie or light jacket in case God changes his mind.

89. Do you have an anxious pooch while driving? Put them in a space where they can’t look out the window. Or, give them something to do like having a nice treat or toy to play with.

90. Don’t be afraid to stock up on coupons you can use for anything while traveling.

91. Take lots of pictures to record your memories.

92. Be in the moment.  Don’t be on your electronics the whole time.  Use this as a chance to catch up with your loved ones and have some great conversation.

93. Store old grocery bags in a tissue box to line your car trash can with while you are on the road.

94. Use an old gum container to store change in.

95. Buy some lap desks for your kids to play games on while they ride in the backseat.

96. If your little one uses a straw in their sippy cup, turn crazy straws upside down in their cup to keep it locked and secure inside.  It would be better for you and your upholstery, however, if you invested in non-spill sippy cups for the ride.

97. Keep in mind to be patient with one another while on the road.  We all act different when we’re tired, hungry, and have been sitting in a car for too long of a time.  That’s why we encourage breaks every couple of hours!

98. Trust your partner with directions. Don’t be a passenger’s seat driver, nobody likes that, and it can make the driver more stressed out. 

99. Roll  down the window on occasion and enjoy a fresh breeze.

100. Enjoy yourself and have fun!

Written by GT Service Center