Summer Vacation Travel Tips

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What’s the best summer vacation travel tip you have ever heard? Many would say that taking a physical map or downloading maps is #1. Because cell signals aren’t guaranteed, right? Others might think the best tip is to bring the pups along for the memories. Some say make dad drive the entire way! 

No matter where you’re taking your summer vacation, the trip will be better with roadworthy travel tips. So, we’ve gathered advice from various sources. For example, our resident car detail guru says to Google “car wash near me” the minute you arrive at your destination to clean bugs from your bumper. Our favorite foodie says to ask a police officer for the best place for dinner since they know the area better than anyone. 

Vacation Travel Checklist 

But before you hit the road, a checklist is a must, according to organized folks. They are right. You don’t want to get to the beach house only to realize you left behind a bag, the boogie boards, or dad. Here’s a printable checklist. And here are the biggies: 

  • Ensure vehicle is road ready - check fluids, tire pressure, etc. 
  • Keep your insurance cards on hand 
  • Make roadside assistance numbers a favorite on your call list 
  • Bring along external cell phone batteries 
  • Fuel Dad with plenty of coffee for the long drive 
  • Pack a cooler for drinks and snacks 
  • Ensure you have an Emergency car kit with you 
  • Don’t forget to keep sunglasses accessible, not packed away 


Now, our car detailing drill sergeant insists he won’t leave the driveway until he’s checked off the carpet mats as “spotless.” A man’s gotta have principles, we suppose.  

Wheels in Motion with Kids 

After you’ve checked off all the boxes, it’s time to put your ride in drive and get out of town. Be prepared for the kids to be… what’s the word? 

  • Impatient 
  • Eager 
  • Anxious 
  • On edge 
  • Restless 

Yes, all of those are a fit. So, if the kiddos are under 10 years old, they may go for games such as counting red cars or funny signs. If they are between 10 and 13 years old, then they’ll likely use their digital devices to entertain themselves so pack plenty of chargers. As for older teenagers, just don’t look them in the eye and everything will be just fine. 

The drive always seems longer because you’re all going to the best place ever. The place with a revolving zip code - Vacation. 

Enjoy the Vacation Journey 

The most experienced traveler we know says that getting there is half the fun. Be sure you soak up that part of the trip by relaxing and being present. The kids won’t be young forever. And having several hours to talk with them is something to cherish. Same thing with your partner. Sleeping while they do all the driving is wonderful, but so is a long chat. 

Experts in travel and leisure recommend not rushing to the destination. Instead, stop for ice cream or boiled peanuts to make the vacation more memorable. Unlike our car detailing buddy who would only dare eat peanuts next to a car wash with free vacuums!  

But seriously, choosing the route to the destination can make a summer trip even better. The interstate can be dull. So here are some great scenic routes for inspiration: 

  • Pacific Coast Highway 
  • Russell Brasstown Scenic Byway 
  • Coronado Trail Scenic Byway 
  • Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway 
  • Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway 

Final Travel Tips 

FYI - any back-country route may call for a “tunnel car wash near me” search after those off-road side trails. And since this travel tip trail is at an end, we’ve saved the best summer vacation tips for last. Lightning round… 

Rolled clothes allow you to fit more inside the luggage and will leave space for a first aid kit. Plan food stops ahead for lower-traffic areas to avoid traffic jams just to get a mediocre burger. Be aware of the weather daily, but don’t cancel plans based on what meteorologists “think” will happen. 

The last travel tip is to simply have fun. Vacationing with the people you care about most is great wherever you go. Oh, and whoever avoided driving duty gets volunteered for the post-vacay car wash once you get back home. Happy trails!