The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip

We’ve all been there. Halfway through the multi-day drive, and you’re ready to jump ship. “Why did I think driving was a good idea again?” you ask yourself.

Last May, my sister moved to California and I drove with her. Can you believe it when I say not a single thing went wrong? Yeah, I barely believe myself. But that’s the truth.

You may not ever experience a “perfect” road trip. Especially if you think part of the fun is in the little disasters. Nonetheless, I’ve compiled a list of things that may help your trip go a bit smoother.

Don’t leave on a weekend.

This trip with Holly (my sister) was quite different from my last drive to California. In 2011, I remember leaving Vegas on a Sunday afternoon. The spot that we should’ve reached in one hour took four.

This time, Holly and I left town on a Monday morning, and it was one of the best decisions we made. Not only did we miss traffic that day; we didn’t hit any over our three-day journey. Driving outside of rush hour wasn’t our plan, it just happened to be the timeframe we drove during each day. I will always choose to leave on a Monday or Tuesday in the future if possible. I don’t remember feeling stressed once during the drive.

Bring a Yeti thermos.

I’m sure any rambler brand will do, but we used Yeti and it did not disappoint.

When driving long hours, coffee is a must. Since we were driving in May, it was iced coffee. We each got a 16oz cold brew from Dutch Bros on our way out of town, and could only finish half. That left 16oz unfinished, which disappointed us, because it was only a matter of hours before it would go all melty and warm.

But THEN, we remembered. My sister had brought her Yeti! So we put it to the test. After dumping the rest of the coffee into the rambler, we checked on it later that day. Not only was it still cold, but the ice inside hadn’t even begun to melt. We drank a few sips for an afternoon pick-me-up, and left it once again. We didn’t touch it until the following morning, and guess what. The ice was still in tact.

What could’ve turned into an expensive three stops for coffee was just one.

Plan an activity to do halfway.

Sitting in the car for hours on end isn’t good for anyone’s body. Alas, that’s part of road tripping. This can be eased, however, by doing something active halfway through your trip.

I’m not talking about a stretch break. You should be taking those every two to four hours. I’m talking about something that takes at least an hour. Like a hike.

The most obvious place for my sister and I to do this was in Utah. We spent our first night in Richfield, and got up early the next day. This allowed us to fit a two hour hike in before our second day of driving. Since it was a Tuesday, we were the only ones on the trail, and the view was rewarding. If we hadn’t done this, I know I would’ve been grumpy.


After just one good road trip, inspiration slapped me in the face. Usually, I choose flying over driving. I never used to enjoy road trips all that much, but I think that can be attributed to two things - a car full of people, and getting sick whenever I didn’t sit in the front seat. I had never taken a trip with Holly alone, and I know that’s part of what made this road trip ‘perfect’.

Spend time driving with somebody you love, and let me know how it goes.

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