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5 Tips to Guarantee an Unforgettable Road Trip

May 19, 2020


This May marks one year from my last road trip, when my husband and I rented a car in Aberdeen for a two-week Scottish adventure. We got lost in the Scottish Highlands, sampled countless distilleries in Speyside, ferried to the Orkney Islands, marveled at the scenic North Coast 500, pit stopped at Loch Ness, and wrapped at a quaint B&B at the foot of Ben Nevis. 

While recent global events may bring our road trip closer to home this year, we have no plans to lower expectations for adventure! We are still struggling between spinning our wheels in snow-capped Glacier Montana or lobster rolling through Maine.

Many of our trips have been decided by the flip of a coin. Chance has not steered us wrong and it’s because one thing remains the same no matter the destination — We love to plan! 

Here are 5 ways to ensure you'll have a road trip to remember for the right reasons! 

Rv on a road trip in the mountains.
  1. Select the right vehicle

    You may have thought to consider the number of travelers and amount of luggage, but don’t forget to consider your activities and destination. We opted for a car in Scotland. With two travelers and carry-on bags, this seemed to fit our needs. Once on the adventure, FOMO set in when we realized we neglected to consider a camper van. We longingly watched adventurers set up camp on the breathtaking cliffs in Orkney and along the coast on the North Coast 500. We won't miss out on opportunities like that again. 

  2. Keep two separate bags

    One perk of a road trip is that all of your belongings are with you at all times. Even so, we always pack a second "Go Bag. " You never know what may greet you around the next bend of your adventure. You’ll want your camera, charger, hiking shoes, and bathing suit within arm’s reach to grasp the spontaneity of your road trip without having to dig through your luggage and toiletries on the side of the road. We sometimes make a list to help ensure we pack everything we could possibly need. 

  3. Pack Snacks

    Maybe tip 2 should mention three bags. Always pack snacks! If you pull over for a swim or sightseeing, you’ll be thankful you have snacks for an impromptu scenic picnic. Maybe you got off schedule during the day but want to make it to your destination to watch the sunset. Having snacks will allow you to power through any last-minute changes in your trip without a hangry travel partner.

  4. Use social media

    Many adventurers limit their social media and disconnect on vacation, but don’t underestimate the power of social media to give you a local experience. We were a bit too flexible with our time in Orkney. We would have missed the Yesnaby Castle, local winery, and painter that were less than a mile from our accommodations had it not been for Instagram.

    Search local places and use the map feature on Instagram to find recent posts in the area or ask for recommendations on Facebook to get a more local experience.

  5. Have a plan but be flexible

    Traveler on an arctic adventure to see a real-life glacier. Again, we love to plan! We rough out a draft of our journey before we leave, deciding on what route, what cities, and we secure big-ticket activities.

    We download all of our apps to be prepared, including Gasbuddy, Roadtripper, VanLife, etc. And that’s it — from there, we let the adventure decide the rest!

    During our road trip through Scotland, we discovered the world's best fish and chips along with a must-have Fisher and Donaldson fudge doughnut for dessert after chatting with a friendly local in St. Andrews. And our distillery guide in Speyside invited us to a lovely afternoon tea with his kids where we learned about lambing in the Highlands.

The balance of detail and spontaneity is what makes a road trip unforgettable. Plan enough to be prepared but let the rest of your adventure unfold one mile at a time.

Now, heads for Glacier or tails for Maine …

I would be remiss if I didn't mention considering travel insurance for your road trip.

Just because you're traveling on the road doesn't mean you won't get sick or hurt.

If you're investing a material amount of money in your trip expenses for a road trip here in the U.S. or flying to another country for a road trip, consider purchasing a trip protection plan with the optional Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit. The plan protects your nonrefundable prepaid trip expenses, medical expenses, and your belongings. If you buy CFAR, you can cancel your trip for any reason you wish and receive 75% of your nonrefundable prepaid trip expenses.

Learn about RoundTrip, our trip protection plan.

Get a quote! →


About the Author

michelle decker

Michelle Decker is a member of our People & Culture team and joined Seven Corners in 2016. When Michelle is not connecting talented individuals with Seven Corners, she’s on a mission to plan the next great adventure with her two favorite travel partners: her husband and golden retriever.

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