Since I recently traveled almost 800 miles to visit family, I’ve decided to share some tips on how to solo road trip as a female. There’s many things to consider when traveling alone, especially as a woman (and a woman of color) so continue reading to learn my best tips!
When I was in high school my dad decided to move the family from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Fast forward to the present day, I currently live in North Carolina so this has required me to go back and forth to both states since I still have family in both. Although my preferred method of travel is flying, I have opted to drive some times mainly to have more flexibility and freedom. So throughout the years I’ve learned a lot from my experiences driving 8+ hours in one day, many times by myself. My longest day solo road trip was around 13 hours from PA to IL, although I’m not sure I’d do that one again lol. Here are some of my best tips for your first or next solo road trip.
This first tip seems like common sense but I have to add it for those spontaneous souls. When considering a road trip, make sure you have your daily set destination(s). Are you spending the night somewhere in order to split your trip in half? Or are you driving directly to your final destination in one day? Another thing to plan is where you want to stop. For instance, I actually brought my dog with me during this last solo road trip so I made sure to look up dog friendly gas stations ahead of time.
The one I used was the Love’s gas station because some of them have a dog park area. Some also have amenities such as RV hookups, showers and even laundry. I chose the location halfway to my destination so I knew ahead of time where I was going to stop.
Other things to consider are the following:
- Be mindful of the weather you’ll encounter in order to prepare for it
- Have some spare cash just in case. Don’t keep all your valuables together in one place either. Keep some cash and/or cards in different places
- Don’t broadcast your trip to the world with specific details
- Mentally prepare for the trip by meditating or simply setting an intention for it to go smoothly and safely
- Get a lot of rest the night prior to your trip to ensure focus and alertness
- Dress comfortably and modestly in order to avoid bringing attention to yourself
- Have medications ready such as headache or allergy relief medications, cough drops, etc.
Planning might seem boring but it is necessary when traveling solo as a female so don’t skip this part.
Prepare your car
Make sure your car is ready for the long trip. When I had my 10+ year old car I took it to the mechanic to get it checked just in case lol. Fill up your gas tank, check the oil, make sure your tires have air, make sure you have windshield wiper fluid, etc. Finally, make sure you have your proper documents with you such as active car insurance coverage, your car registration, active drivers license and even roadside assistance.
Know your limits
Knowing your driving limits is super important because you’re taking this trip by yourself. What’s the longest time and distance you’ve driven before? I typically stop every 3-4 hours and try to drive less/around 8 hours per day so that means I try to stop only once per day. If this is your first solo road trip, consider taking a shorter one first to test it out. Either way, remember that there’s no rules and if you ever feel like you need to stop more than you expected, don’t beat yourself up for that. Just make sure you do it safely.
Bring your own food
This next tip not only saves you time and money but it can make the ride more enjoyable, in my opinion. I typically bring a cooler and place it on the floor of the passenger side. Using reusable ice packs to keep my food/drinks cold during the trip always does the trick. I enjoy snacking while I drive because I find it keeps me alert and energized. I wait to drink my smoothie till I’m close to stopping because I don’t want to have to use the restroom prior to that.
Some of my favorite snacks for the road are the following:
- ready to eat sliced bell peppers
- washed and ready to eat apple(s)
- trail mix (or nuts such as unsalted almonds, peanuts or walnuts)
- rice crackers
- protein shake/smoothie
- you can also do string cheese, healthy protein bars or healthy beef jerky
You can also bring the meal you want to eat at your rest stop. I recommend bringing sandwiches or wraps but I typically end up bringing homemade pasta or even rice with beans that I eat with chips or something. Most gas stations have a microwave that you can use to heat up your own food. Bringing your own snacks and meals saves you time from waiting in line. It also prevents you from eating junk food or candy that’s readily available in gas stations.
Make a list
My next tip for your solo road trip is to make lists. I have a general “travel items” list on my phone that I use to check off when I’m packing. You can also create a list of your daily schedule/itinerary if that sounds good to you.
Some of my essential travel items are the following:
- lip balm
- phone charger
- disinfectant wipes
- plastic bag for garbage/wrappers
- hand lotion
- water bottle(s) / filled Camelbak water pouch
- EZ pass (electronic toll pass..check out Uni)
- umbrella/rain jacket
- hair ties/hair clip/hat
- *extra pair of new contact lenses and prescription glasses
This is all aside from clothes, shoes, makeup, toiletries, etc. As a matter of fact, I typically keep most of the items listed above within hand reach to my driver’s seat and then place them in an overnight/carry-on bag after arriving at my destination.
This next tip is super important for your solo road trip. Always remain cautious of your surroundings at all times. As mentioned previously, let a few of your trusted loved ones know of your plans (and update them if your plans change!). Share your location with them so they can track you at any time throughout your trip. I typically also text my sister when I’m at a red light close to my rest stop/gas station.
A few other tips for this category are the following:
- Try your best to drive during the day (avoid stopping at night)
- Always lock your doors as soon as you get in your vehicle
- Avoid being distracted in your car during stops. This isn’t the time to catch up on social media
- Stay protected by keeping pepper spray, a whistle or even a mini stun gun
- Keep your phone fully charged by using a car charger or portable power bank
- Keep a low profile during your stops. Go in and out. No need to talk to anyone, no need to “be nice”
- Park close to the entrance and avoid parking next to sketchy vehicles or low lit spaces
It’s better to be safe than sorry. It also kinda sucks having to consider all these things and more as a solo female traveler but it is what it is. We have to stay safe and always err on the side of caution.
Avoid a low gas tank
Try your hardest to keep your gas tank more than half full at all times. Depending on the mileage of your car, this shouldn’t be hard to do since you’d most likely want to stop every few hours anyway. When I stop, I use well known gas stations like Love’s, Sheetz, Wawa, Pilot, etc. Avoid sketchy small ones especially if they aren’t well lit. I avoid using state rest stops when traveling solo. Whenever I stop it has to serve more than one purpose (fill up my gas tank, use restroom and stretch). I stretch inside the female restroom because I don’t want to draw attention to myself outside. Last thing you want is people knowing you have been on the road for a long time by yourself and are tired.
By keeping your gas tank more than half full, you’ll avoid needing to stop at a random sketchy station or worse, get stranded on the side of the road if you hit unexpected traffic or something. Stay on the safe side since you are traveling solo.
Have entertainment ready
A final tip is to have music playlists ready and downloaded, if possible. Same goes for audiobooks or podcasts. By downloading them to your device, you’ll avoid losing connection if you’re driving by areas with limited cell phone data. By having your music, podcasts, etc ready to go, you’ll also limit yourself from being distracted and not paying attention to the road, which is your number one priority when taking a solo road trip.
One final thought I have on taking a solo road trip is to not rush it. If you don’t fully feel ready to do this, you don’t have to. Start off with going on a road trip with a friend or loved one. Don’t push yourself to do this if it doesn’t feel right to you. Honestly, these tips can apply to any type of road trip even if you’re taking it with your whole family.
Let me know your thoughts on this post! Did I miss any useful tips? Feel free to DM me on Instagram at any time. Also, follow me on Tik Tok! Yes, your girl is on there now. And finally, make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you never miss a blog post or other things I’m up to! Thank you for reading!!
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