Planning the Perfect San Diego Road Trip

The call of the open road is often an irresistible siren song. There are few activities more distinctly American than packing the car with snacks, a change of clothes, and a sense of adventure, and striking out to discover some fresh scenery.

Whether you’re planning a road trip from San Diego or making your way here by car, take a look at some tried-and-true tips for making the most of your journey.

Reliable and Roadworthy

Road trips are a lot of fun — right up until the moment an unforeseen vehicle-maintenance issue throws up a roadblock in front of your progress. So before you head out, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to your favorite mechanic and get your ride a checkup. Sure, sussing out potential issues can sometimes run a couple of bucks, but It’s hard to put a price on peace of mind — especially when you get an early warning on issues that could become bigger problems down the road. Any friendly neighborhood wrench expert can check your fluid levels, inspect tires, maintain brakes, and see to it that all your bulbs are burning bright. That way, you can get moving with confidence.


Declutter for the Drive

Let’s be honest — car clutter is a fact of life. Any car without a stray gum wrapper or drink bottle knocking around under the seats is probably one that’s just come off of a dealer lot. So giving your car a good once-over to sweep out the water bottles, burger bags, and other refuse will create an atmosphere of fresh cleanliness for every traveler inside. As an added bonus, lightening the load can also improve your gas mileage! Don’t forget to give the trunk a little bit of attention while you’re at it — all the better to pack extra adventure gear

Chart Your Course

Some of the best road trips start by throwing caution to the wind and simply picking a direction to drive in. Even so, when it comes to getting from point A to point B, a little planning goes a long way. And since getting there is always half the fun, it’s often a good idea to plan your stops a bit. See any fun restaurants along your route? Don’t be afraid to build in time to visit. Roadside attractions may be heavy on the kitsch, but they make for great photo-ops. And, of course, taking the occasional leg-stretching restroom break is a road trip necessity. So don’t be afraid to embrace spontaneity, but always make sure you keep your destination in mind.

Fuel Isn’t Just for the Car

An oft-repeated bit of Internet wisdom says, “It doesn’t matter how old you get — buying snacks for a road trip should always look like an unsupervised 9-year-old was given $100.” And that’s part of the fun. In addition to the kid’s stuff, you may want to consider including some healthy options such as protein packs, trail mix or beef jerky to help sustain energy. So don’t necessarily skip the candy and soda, just be sure to balance them out! Also, try to plan your eats well in advance. A lot of roadside stops have limited options, and charge premium prices for those top-shelf snacks. And don’t forget: A cooler full of ice and beverages will keep you well-hydrated without having to stop.

Tune Time

It’s no understatement to say that the right soundtrack can take any trek from good to great. So why not take the time in advance to put together a custom playlist for your drive? Spotify, Pandora, and other streaming services are great for assembling a collection of songs that will keep your spirits up during extended drive time. The road might also be a good time to catch up on audiobooks or podcasts. Just be careful: If your route takes you through mountainous or open regions, data reception can be unreliable. So it also helps to have an emergency backup of MP3s ready to go just in case.

Safety First

Road trips are a bundle of fun. But nothing is a bigger buzzkill than running into a problem you didn’t plan for. So be sure your adventure kit includes some safety gear. Make sure to check your spare tire and jack to make sure both are in good shape. If you have the room, bring along a rechargeable battery-jump unit. These handy devices also often come with recharge outlets for phones, emergency lights, and other useful functions. And, since COVID-19 is still very much a concern, you and your passengers will want to bring along disinfectant wipes, face masks, hand sanitizer, and other protective items. 

Here’s hoping some of our tips will help you when planning your San Diego road trip. When you’re ready, check out our exclusive offers and make sure you get the best rates.