15 Solo Travel Tips to Enjoy Long Road Trips Alone

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I’ve had my share of long solo road trips, taking my first cross-country road trip alone which lasted over 6 months. After the initial excitement wears off, long road trips can definitely start to drag out. I’ve traveled across the United States multiple times, sometimes driving up to 12 hours a day. Those long travel days can be exhausting and sometimes drag out long enough for me to say “I’ll never do that again” (of course I always do).

The beauty of a long solo road trip rests in the enjoyment you get from the freedom and spontaneity of the unpredictable adventures along the way. Stepping outside your comfort zone and exploring something new often leads to quirky roadside attractions, unique landscapes and new cultures that wouldn’t be discovered otherwise. It’s a good idea to hit the wide open road if you are looking for a spontaneous road trip adventure or searching for some solitude. 

While long road trips can drag out, and present a level of monotony that not everyone can appreciate, they are perfect for self-discovery, embracing solitude, and gaining a sense of independence. But how do you get over those long boring travel days so you can actually look forward to driving long distances? Over the years, I’ve made more of an effort to make road tripping into something more memorable and ultimately more enjoyable. 

Whether its your first road trip or your 10th, here are 15 best tips to make every long drive more enjoyable as a solo female traveler.

Be Safe

High on the list is solo travel safety. Following common sense safety protocols, like being aware of your surroundings, not driving at night, and keeping the gas tank full will lead to a better road trip experience. Knowing your vehicle is in good shape reduces the likelihood of breakdowns, contributing to a smoother journey. Carrying essentials like a first aid kit, paying for roadside assistance like AAA (American Automobile Association), and storing emergency supplies to repair a flat tire, prepares you for unexpected situations, and gives you peace of mind in case of an emergency. I’ve never had an issue while driving across the country alone but have always followed safety protocols and listened to my gut.  It is smart to have a backup plan and alternative routes in mind to ensure a successful journey. Anything can happen!

Take the Scenic Route

After all, what are road trips for? Research and plan scenic stops along your route to break up the drive and enjoy the surroundings. Interstate highways easily transport you cross country but the best advice for an enjoyable long road trip alone is to embrace spontaneity and take the scenic route. National Parks make great road trips. There are so many dramatic landscapes in the US and in the world that creating a road trip route with as much natural beauty thrown in, is a sure fire way to enjoy long drives by yourself. You’ll be too busy looking at the scenery to realize how far you’ve driven.

Plan Interesting Pit Stops

Aside from scenic views and natural beauty, quirky local attractions or historical sites easily make your journey more interesting. Look for fun rest areas and drives that offer rest stops in charming towns and significant areas. Route 66 is the epitome of quirky roadside attractions in the United States, but there are many other cross country routes perfect for solo travelers. Think about what you enjoy and plan a stop at least every 2-4 hours. Even if it’s just a small town, a quick stroll down Main Street may be all you need to add some spunk and excitement into your long trip. 

Curate Audio Entertainment 

Create a diverse playlist for different moods Download engaging audiobooks and helpful podcasts to keep you entertained during the journey. There is no better way to pass time! I’ve got playlists for every mood including country, pop, 80’s 90’s, Classic Rock, Beach vibes and even instrumental. As far as podcasts, I have a few favorites like Out Alive, Oprah’s Masterclass and almost any True Crime podcasts. Don’t forget to download them to your favorite device so you can enjoy your playlists even in remote areas with no cell service.

There are so many audio books out there it is hard to choose just a few favorites. You can look for an audio book narrated by your favorite actor or take the self help route on your next solo trip. Some of the best selling self help books include; Rich Dad Poor Dad for personal finance, Getting Things Done for productivity, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, for anxiety and Think and Grow Rich for mindset.

Snack Smart

Healthy snacks are a must on any long drive-with a few treats here and there. I’ve had my fair share of gas station junk food but after eating my weight in sugar and Oreos on numerous drives, I realized the importance of snacking smart. Avoiding overly processed and heavy foods helps you stay alert and focused during long road trips.

Balanced meals and healthy snacks prevent energy crashes, promoting better concentration and mood throughout the journey and reducing the likelihood of feeling sluggish or fatigued. When you feel better you do better. And when you are more comfortable, you are able to enjoy the adventure and make the most of your travel!

Bring a Cooler

Eating healthy is so much easier when you are able to store food as you go and stop relying on fast food and convenience store junk food. A road trip cooler improves your ability to make healthy food choices and have enough food during your trip in case some areas don’t offer good food. It allows you to store perishable, healthy snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables, and yogurt to eat on the go which contributes to a more enjoyable and energized road trip. It’s important to take along and non-perishable food in case of emergency but at the end of the day, having fresh food on the go is such a game changer for long solo road trips.

It also enables you to carry cold beverages, keeping you hydrated and reducing the temptation to opt for sugary drinks. There is nothing I love more than a cold drink on a long dive. A cooler makes it possible!

Travel Slow

Give yourself a generous amount of time to complete your solo road trip. This allows for spontaneity and new exciting adventures that may unexpectedly come up along the way. Planning shorter driving days reduces stress and fatigue associated with rushing from one destination to another. 

You don’t want to get burned out on your first road trip, especially if you have a lot of road to cover. So take it slow. By savoring the experience and embracing a more relaxed tempo, you create lasting memories and a deeper connection with the places you encounter, making the road trip more enriching and enjoyable.

Capture Memories

You’ll want to remember the places you’ve visited and the experiences you’ve had, so why not bring along a camera? Photography adds a creative element to your solo adventure and gives you something to share with others.

I’ve always loved capturing my experiences along the way and often choose to visit photogenic destinations with the sole purpose of photographing them. 

Whether it’s a breathtaking landscape, a quirky roadside stop, or a memorable meal, documenting these moments contributes to a more meaningful connection with your long solo road trip. It’s is an easy way to cherish the unique moments encountered along the way.

Document Your Trip

If photography isn’t your thing, consider a Road Trip Journal or even a video diary. Documenting your thoughts, experiences, and interesting sightings in another creative way adds depth to your road trip and allows you to cherish your memories for years to come.

Stay Comfortable

Creating a comfortable environment inside your car, from your driving seat, to the air temperature and clothing choices can go a long way when wanting to enjoy a long road trip. 

It’s smart to invest in a supportive car seat cushion, adjust your seat for proper posture, and take breaks to move around and stretch during long drives. 

I love bringing a pair of Birkenstocks to quickly slip on when getting in and out of the car so I can drive shoe free. I also always keep a cozy hoodie hanging on the driver’s headrest. It stays in the car so I am never without something cozy to throw on. 

Pack Smart

Packing smart for long road trips involves strategic packing to ensure convenience, safety, and comfort. Pack essentials including important documents, medications and emergency kit in easily accessible places.

Whether you are car camping across the country or taking a shorter drive, staying organized is key for an enjoyable long road trip experience. It’ll help you find things easily and alleviate stress in emergency situations.

Bring what you need but be conscious of overpacking. Choose items that serve multiple purposes to maximize space and minimize clutter. 

I organize my clothing in a clear storage container to locate items easily and quickly and use a car seat organizer to store small necessities. All my long drives are made so much more enjoyable when I have a tidy and organized car. 

Be Flexible

Road trips are best experienced with an open mind and willingness to embrace spontaneity. Great things happen when you least expect them. You never know when a small town, a scenic byway or tasty looking diner will catch your eye and lead to a memorable experience.

From unique attractions, connecting with locals or picturesque landscapes you didn’t know existed, flexibility opens the door to creating memories and experiences that contribute to a more enriching and fulfilling road trip. I’ve discovered so many hidden gems just by being willing to take the road less traveled- it’s one of the best things about road tripping alone!

Stay Connected

Whether it’s your first solo road trip or you are a seasoned traveler, long road trips can bring on loneliness and feelings of isolation. Although you are alone, you don’t have to feel alone. It is a great idea to inform friends or family about your itinerary, and stay connected through regular check-ins. Not just for safety but for added enjoyment and entertainment along the journey. 

If you can, meet up with a trusted friend or family along the way. Interacting with others along the journey helps avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation and leads to a better road trip experience.

Download Offline Maps

A paper map is a good back up but offline Google Maps makes driving alone so much easier! It ensures you know where you are going even in areas with poor or no cellular signal and help conserve mobile data. You’ll minimize your chances of getting lost giving you peace of mind which helps make your solo road trip smoother and more enjoyable.

Don’t forget to download offline maps when you have strong internet- preferably before you leave.

Enjoy the Experience!

Last but not least, enjoy your experience. Get excited for what is ahead! It might be your first trip but if done right it won’t be your last!

The purpose of a solo road trip is not only to reach a destination but also to enjoy the journey itself. By prioritizing fun and enjoyment, you enhance the overall experience and make it a more positive and memorable adventure for years to come!

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