Driving across the United States has always been a dream of mine and while I haven’t had the opportunity to cross this big adventure off of my travel wish list, I recently drove to Canada which was no small feat.
Last year the 2018 Women in Travel Summit was held in Quebec City, Canada. While flying to the conference would have been the most convenient option, flights from New York City to Quebec City were outside of my budget so renting a car and driving to the conference was the best alternative.
Eager to get to the conference, I drove 8 hours from Connecticut (USA) to Quebec City (Canada).
To get to Quebec City, I ended up driving through New Hampshire and Vermont, and boy, those mountainous views were breathtaking! I highly recommend driving through New England to see the foliage and forested mountains.
Despite being nervous about the long drive (the longest I had ever driven was 3 hours or so), I’m glad that I welcomed the opportunity to experience something new.
I had a wonderful time on my first solo road trip and not only did I learn how to plan for a road trip, but I also learned how to navigate alone.
If you’re considering going on a solo road trip (woohoo!), here are the important things that I learned which can help make your solo road trip more enjoyable.
And regardless of if you decide to rent a car or drive your own, before you head out on your road trip, be sure to search for affordable car insurance rates from a comparison site like TheZebra.com. Getting the right coverage especially when you plan on going on a road trip is important.
7 Road Trips Tips for Solo Travelers
Drive During the Day
It’s best to head out early in the morning (daylight) after a good night’s sleep and healthy breakfast. Getting a full night’s rest the night before helped me stay alert on the road. The last thing you want to do is doze off while driving. If you’re like me, you might also need a cup of coffee throughout your trip as reinforcement.
Pack Snacks and Hydrate
Pack water bottles, fruits and vegetables, chips, protein bars, and your favorite nuts.
If you prefer to bring your own food, pick a meal that’s not too messy.
You also can’t go wrong with a PB&J sandwich.
Avoid soda and unhealthy snacks which will make you feel lethargic.
Keep in Touch with Family and Friends
Let your family and friends know your plan. This includes where you are going and how long it will take you to get there. Check in every few hours and always let them know when you’ve arrived.
Keep Yourself Entertained
During my first solo road trip, I noticed that on long drives, I prefer music over podcasts and audiobooks.
Avoid getting bored and sleepy on the road by creating an extensive playlist of your favorite songs on Spotify. Since cellular coverage may not be reliable, do not rely on YouTube.
During breaks, you can also journal about your trip on Awesome Map’s travel journal maps. I love that this map is virtually indestructible.
Also, don’t forget to bring your car charger with you!
You can easily hold your phone in place and charge it wirelessly with the Easy One Touch Wireless Fast Charging Dash Mount.
Furthermore, make sure your phone is fully charged before heading out the door.
Fuel Your Body
Try your best not to skip meals and eat before you get too hungry. On the highway, you’ll see lots of pit stops for gas and food.
When to stop for gas?
I recommend stopping for gas when you hit half-a-tank so you don’t run the risk of running out of gas during your trip. This is important because depending on where you are, sometimes you won’t be able to find another gas station for miles.
Also, not all gas stations are right next to the highway. You might have to exit the highway and find a gas station somewhere in town.
When exiting your car, be aware of your surroundings.
Stay safe – only stop at busy places with good lighting.
To avoid speeding, put on the cruise control and cruise to the speed limit. This helped me avoid getting pulled over by the cops. Remember, even if your foot isn’t on the gas, remain focused and alert at all times.
Lastly, if you’re driving across the border, be sure to add time for crossing the border to your total travel time.
During my trip to Canada, crossing the U.S. and Canadian border didn’t take long. I recommend scheduling at least 30 minutes.
Don’t forget to bring your passport. This may be a good time to consider signing up for expedited clearance with Global Entry.
As I head to the 2019 Women in Travel Summit in Portland, Maine, I’m looking forward to my next solo road trip. A four-hour drive from Connecticut to Maine will be a piece of cake!
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.