How To: Plan the ultimate weekend road trip

Road Trip Planning

5 tips for planning for the ultimate weekend road trip

The weekend road trip is a difficult beast to truly master, the small amount of available time is a precious commodity and not to be squandered, however on the flip side if you try to cram too much in then chaos could easily ensue and sabotage the entire weekend.

For the weekend warrior the weekend is, obviously, very important and sometimes planning the ultimate weekend away can be very daunting. Because of course, if it all goes pear-shaped then we get back to work on Monday tired, stressed and not at all relaxed. 

And then, when you’re annoying colleague Anne asks you what you got up to on the weekend, before immediately interrupting you to tell you all about how she and girls partied all night, then binge watched Below Deck hungover on Sunday, you then have to smile and pretend it was excellent. 

When really you spent 6 hours arguing with your insufferably annoying partner, 7 hours stuck in traffic, 4 hours slaving over a disastrous dinner, 2 hours crying in the rain, 3 hours driving around Kidderminster looking for a parking space and 0 hours enjoying yourself.

We have a full mini series dedicated to planning motorhome and campervan adventures – check it out:

#1 Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Yep – we’re gonna start off with a military saying – that’ll set the tone for a relaxing trip right…? Yeah! Maybe?

Well actually yes.

Time and time again we reiterate that for the successful weekend warrior the key success actually lies during the week.

Get your planning done Monday to Wednesday or even a few weeks before – not forgetting to check the forecast for where you want to go and then get as much packed as you possibly can on Thursday evening. 

This means that by 5pm Friday you are ready to hit the road and absolutely max out your time off. 

There’s also no harm in having several ideas on the cards and then each weekend you can just choose which idea you’re gonna do this weekend – pre-plan several trips in advance and do them as you feel like and as the weather allows.

#2 Don't take on too much

You remember David and Goliath right? 

Little dude is challenged to a fight by a behemoth of a warrior, everyone tells David not to take on Goliath as he will surely lose, but David decides to be a moron and take him on anyway. 

But then in a surprise turn of event David defeats Goliath and emerges victorious. On the face of it – this sounds like it’s proving the opposite of what we’re telling you to do right? David took on too much, overcame on the odds and won. Yet we’re telling you to not take on too much because you’ll lose.

Well behind the scenes, guess what, David did his proper planning prevents piss poor performance and figured out in advance how to overcome his adversary, and he won by using his slingshot to his advantage. 

Now we’re not advising you to start slingshotting stones at everyone you meet but the principle is there – if you know ahead of time what you plan to be getting up to then you won’t be trying to take on the world and you’ll be relaxed in the knowledge that you have ample time to do everything you wanted. Be a David not a Goliath!

As a specific and easy to address example, there is no point in setting off on a 2000 mile round trip and you want to visit a forest, a lake, a beach, climb a mountain, visit three towns and spend a week with great Great Aunt Ruth. 

This is too much for a single weekend, obviously! The more weekend road trips you do the more you’ll learn about just how much you can comfortably fit into a weekend. 

For us, we typically travel Friday evening after work and return sunday afternoon/evening and we tend to plan 3 things for a saturday and 2 for a sunday. Now obviously we adjust if one of our plans is a 6 hour hike – that’s probably enough for one day!

#3 Decide what you want from the weekend

Early morning campervan

If you’re in desperate need of a relaxing time then plan for that. If you want an adrenaline fuelled, action packed weekend, plan for that, if you want a sex, drugs and rock’n’roll kinda weekend – then, well, plan for that but don’t let us know the details.

And don’t be afraid to change your mind if you planned something a long time in advance and your mindset has changed a couple of days before setting off. 

Sometimes we thought we were gonna want to spend a weekend chasing giant rolls of cheese down a ridiculously steep hill, breaking all the bones in our bodies before being tackled by a line of waiting rugby players. 

But perhaps mid-week before setting off you’ve already had your fill of broken bones and rough’n’tumble for the week and actually you just want to sit down with a glass of wine and eat the cheese like a damn normal person.

#4 Plans can change, and that's ok - so long as you're prepared

Have a plan b – particularly if weather is likely to change. This will just take the stress off everything if stuff outside of your control forces your hand. It also means that should you have a change of heart last minute – you can quickly and easily adjust on the fly.

On the flip side, don’t over plan – if you over plan then chances are you’re gonna be pretty pissed if you have to change things last minute – also over planning means that you’ll be spending a lot more time in the planning stage which will take up more of those weekday evenings.

#5 Have the tools you need

Now we don’t mean to pack your hammer, jigsaw and trusty workbench into the back of the van – no – what we recommend is that everything you’ve used for planning, from physical books and maps, to the apps and websites you’ve researched. 

Make sure all this stuff is with you so that should plans need to change for whatever reason, you have everything to hand to make a u-turn on the fly – check out the most comprehensive motorhome packing list on the internet (…maybe) to help you.

Or perhaps you want to know about taking a road trip with your dog or how to keep warm in the winter

We would also recommend packing some actual tools to do any basic maintenance that may come up – a screw driver set, small hammer, socket set, pliers and maybe a couple of spanners as well should stand you in good stead.

Final thoughts

And there you go – five easy to follow steps to having a great road trip – no more excuses then so Go Explore!

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