ivana rizik

Puerto Rico Photographer

5 Tips for Road Trips

5 Tips for Road Trips

Tips, Travel Tips

Road trips, they always sound like fun but planning one for the first time might seem overwhelming. When it comes to planning trips (not road trips) I usually plan pretty loosely. I have an idea of what I want to do but I’m never fixed on the plan because, worse comes to worst, I pull out google and everything will be just fine. Had I planned a road trip this way, it probably would’ve been a mess. Thankfully my first road trip was a success and no, I didn’t plan it on my own. For today’s blog I’m sharing the details and five tips I learned from my first road trip.

Our Road Trip through Oregon & Northern California

You’re probably wondering, “Well if you didn’t plan this trip, then who did Ivana?” Thankfully Alex, my husband, and I weren’t alone on our travels. We took this road trip with my brother, Isai and sister-in-law, Caitlin. These two had already done this similar road trip route before, so they were a huge help and basically planned the trip for us. The trip was about a week long. We traveled from Bakersfield California straight to Portland Oregon, a thirteen hour drive in one day. Then spent the rest of the week driving back down highway 101 and highway 1 to San Francisco; taking The 5 from San Fran to Bakersfield. We made stops in Portland, Bandon, Klamath (Redwoods National Park Area) and San Francisco. We had a great time and the views were beautiful, stay with me to the end to see the photos! Now, here are five of the biggest take-aways from our first road trip.

Tip #1: Have a Plan

I know, this tip might seem obvious, but it’s super important. If you’re like me when it comes to planning trips the way I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, then be sure to listen to this first tip! Look on google maps to figure out how long it takes to get to your destination; THEN count on it taking longer than what it predicts. Why? Because you need to take breaks. Maps might say it takes 8 Hours to get to your destination, but remember you need to stop for things like gas, food and bathroom breaks. That 8 hour drive can easily turn into a 10 hour drive.

It’s also important to plan out these stops because you’re not going to be familiar with the areas you’re driving through. There might be parts of the trip where there isn’t a gas station or rest stop for another 60-100 miles. That is super important to know to make sure you have enough gas before entering that desolate zone. Bonus tip: Tell someone else your plan. Whether it’s a family member or close friend, it’s good to let someone else know where you’ll be in case of an emergency.

Tip #2: Download Offline Maps in Google Maps

Did you know that you can download maps in Google Maps App so that you can get to your destination offline? YUP! This is great for those times when you’re driving through areas where the internet is slow or worse, you don’t have any internet connection. It’s an awesome tool to take advantage of anytime you’re traveling. It’s simple to do, here are the steps:

Step 1: Open Google Maps.

Step 2: Search for a place, like San Francisco.

Step 3: Tap the location/address at the bottom.

Step 4: Tap the More Symbol (…) in the top right corner

Step 5: Click “Download Offline Map” & download the section of the map you need.

Bonus Tip: Keep in mind, YOU DO need to be connected to the internet to download the map. This means download it before your trip. Don’t try to download it once you realize your internet connection is slowing down. I may, or may not, have made this mistake on the road trip.

Tip #3: Take a Break Every Two Hours

Look, driving can be can be exhausting. The first day we each drove 4 hours. What helped, was that there were four of us. It was easy for one person to drive and their partner to help them while the other couple were able to relax and sleep. However if it were just Alex and I doing this long of a trip alone, I think I’d prefer to take turns every two hours. I’d rather drive two hours and still have energy than to drive 4 hours straight and feel exhausted after.

Tip #4: Pack Light

Pack light, I cannot stress this enough. Alex and I didn’t pack as light as we thought. We each had a carry on size bag plus my camera bag, PLUS Isai and Caitlin’s bags, PLUS our ginormous coats we only used once. We packed my brothers car full. When you do this, not only can it be uncomfortable, but it’s also obvious that you’re traveling. Which could make you a target for thieves.

Bonus Tip: Leave the camera gear at home and use your phone for pictures. Bringing my camera equipment on this trip just added stress.

Another Bonus Tip: It might be a good idea to leave certain items at home and buy what you need at your destination. Alex and I brought coats that were too thick for the weather. We ended up buying lightweight jackets that were just what we needed.

Tip #5: Be Prepared

Be prepared, in what way? For one thing, make sure your car can handle the drive. Can it handle the weather? Are the tires in good condition? Do you have a spare tire? Do you know how to change a tire? Be ready people! Take your car for an oil change and maintenance check before your travels.

It’s also a good idea to look into the State’s Laws you’ll be traveling through. It might seem like a weird tip, but did you know, in Oregon you can’t pump your own gas? Yup it’s illegal. So be sure look into the state’s laws before your trip.

Besides water and munchies, it would be a good idea to make sure to have certain items in the car like:

  1. A Plastic Bag – for car sickness. Thankfully we had peppermint essential oil that saved my life! (P.S. don’t use any peppermint essential oil you find. I only recommend dōERRA’s)
  2. Toilet Paper – you never know!
  3. Mini First Aid Kit
  4. Back up USB Cord to charge your phone
  5. Paper Map – it’s never a bad idea to be over prepared. Have your stops marked on the map and make sure you know how to read it!

Save & Share

There you have it! My 5 tips for road trips! If you’ve found these tips helpful, be sure to pin it to your road trip or travel board on pinterest to reference back to it; or share with someone who’s planning a trip. What tips do you have to add to the list? Leave them for me in the comments!

Below are photos from our road trip with links to some of the places we discovered! Click here to learn more about Alex and I, or follow me on instagram!

5 Tips for Road Trips
Multnomah Falls in Oregon is beautiful and easy to get to; you can also do an easy hike around it.
Bonus Tip: Be careful with whom you choose to go on a road trip. 😜
Portland Japanese Garden
Bernstein’s Bagels – There was a line out the door for these bagels.
Portland Juice Co. – One of our favorite places on the trip!
See the difference between the jackets? We could hardly move in the ones we brought on the right.
Culmination Brewing and Sizzle Pie were favorites!
Powell’s Books was a HUGE book store. It’s a little overwhelming for me but heaven for bookworms.
Backwoods Brewing Company – be sure to also order the Tot-chos
Somewhere along the Oregon Coast
The sky was unreal this day!
Pack a lunch!
Fern Canyon
I think these were Elk…
My Love.
This was the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen of the horizon. It was hard to distinguish where the ocean and sky meet.
The only photo we took in the most random town off hwy. 1, Gualala
We ended the trip in San Fran!

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