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Tips and Tricks for Your Summer Road Trip

There’s nothing like a summer road trip. The car is packed, the route is set, and the windows are rolled down. We asked our Gearheads, employees, and community members to share their favorite road trip destinations, tips, tricks, and gear to inspire you to pack up the car and hit the road for an end-of-summer adventure.

Kait Vanhoff / @kaitvanhoff

Based in: Salt Lake City, UT

Favorite summer road trip: LA > Lake Tahoe > Crater Lake > Mt. Shasta > Mt. Hood > Cannon Beach > Squamish > Whistler

Listening to: Podcasts!

3 road trip tips:

  1. I love being active on road trips, so we always have all of our mountain biking gear and our touring setups. It’s a game changer to have all of that with you so you can stop wherever, whenever, and get outside to explore!
  2. There are bound to be times when things don’t go exactly how you planned … but that’s the fun thing about road trips! You’re in a car and can stay or leave whenever you want. If you meet some rad people, then stay a little longer! If you’re dying to see a cool place that someone told you about, then go see it! Don’t plan so meticulously that you miss the great moments in-between. In the end, those moments might end up being the highlight of your trip. Stay present, stay open, and have fun!
  3. Have a little bit of a plan … but not a strict plan! It’s always fun to go with the flow–you’ll meet new people and might get to see things you wouldn’t have if you were sticking to a specific itinerary with no wiggle room.

William Woodward / @wheretowillie

Based in: My VW Vanagon…so life is kind of one big road trip!

Favorite summer road trip: The North Cascades

Listening to: Books on tape. I love travel author Bill Bryson for inspiration.

3 road trip tips:

  1. While the views from the car can be stunning, hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing, and camping can all enhance your interaction with nature on the road.
  2. Before: Don’t over-plan. It’s great to know about the area you’re visiting, but it’s best to leave some flexibility in your schedule. Weather, new friends, and unexpected discoveries will pop up, so it’s great to have extra time built in.
    During: Talk to locals! If you want to get off the beaten path, the locals have the best beta.
    After: Take time to reflect on your trip. While “living in the moment” seems to be the new movement, reflection has consistently been proven to make our experiences more valuable, emotional, and lasting in our memories.
  3. Road trips are no different than life. If we expect every day to go completely as planned, we’re inevitably disappointed. Going in with an open mind and knowing that every experience is one that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have otherwise sets you up for success. Great weather, great views, and great experiences are often just a matter of perspective.

Jess Grambau / @jessgrambau

Based in: Park City, UT

Favorite summer road trip: Grand Teton National Park

Listening to: Podcasts! It’s a fun way to learn new things or learn more about something you’re interested in. It’s always fun to jam out to classic 80s, too.

3 road trip tips:

  1. Traveling with a baby isn’t always the easiest, but if you plan ahead you can make it a little smoother. I always pack extra clothes, toys, and diapers. We have had to pull over many times for a new diaper and outfit change! Toys and books help keep them entertained while they are not sleeping. We’ve found that pulling over and going for a little walk half way through the drive helps break it up.
  2. Before every trip I always plan the travel time and what activities we would like to do while we are there. Then I can take note of mileage for hikes, what we need to bring, and directions for getting there. I’ve also found that it’s fun to plan nothing at all besides arriving at your destination and going from there.
  3. On road trips, things do not go as planned and you have to just learn to roll with the punches. I try not to set any expectations, because it’s not an adventure until something goes wrong–that’s the fun in traveling! And though it can be frustrating, I always try to remember to embrace the challenges because it makes for good stories later on!

Zinaida Bougri / @girlonthesharpend

Based in: Salt Lake City, UT

Favorite summer road trip: The 3,000 mile solo trip I did through the PNW last summer! SLC > Bend > Eugene > Yachats > Redwoods > Yosemite > Lake Tahoe > SLC

Listening to: The Growlers, Mac Demarco, Courtney Barnett, and the like. I like having lots of different genres throughout the drive–rock and roll, electronic, R&B, Bluegrass, you name it.

3 road trip tips:

  1. I use Furkot to map out my road trip routes. It’s easy to use and even provides inspiration if you’re not sure where you want to visit next.
  2. Have an organizational system and stick to it! If your black duffel starts off with your clothes in it and your blue one has kitchen utensils, keep it that way throughout the trip. There’s nothing worse than driving 6+ hours to your next destination only to realize that you have no idea where your Jetboil is.
  3. My YETI Tundra 45 is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. It’s perfect for myself for about a week, or for two people on a long weekend. Also, these battery-operated string lights from ENO instantly transform the vibe to calm and cozy–no matter where you are. I bring a 35mm film camera with me on every road trip. It makes for really cool memories!