Planning a Florida Road Trip: Don’t Forget These 10 Things

road trip planning

As you get ready to embark on your carefree Florida road trip, take a few minutes to prepare. To guarantee a stress-free adventure don’t forget these things prior to stepping on the gas. Here’s our list of what NOT to forget when planning a Florida road trip.

1. Let Someone Know Your Plans

Whether you’re planning your Florida road trip as a day trip to nowhere in particular, or a two week tour of the Sunshine State, it’s important do some basic planning.

From experience, we know there are stretches of Florida roadways that simply do not get cell service. There are lots of roads “less traveled” across the state. It’s good to alert someone as to your general route even if you’re not exactly sure which roads you’ll take.

Think of this as flight plan for your road trip! That way, if you don’t check in at your destination by a specific time, someone will know where to look for you. There’s nothing less enjoyable than being stranded on an off-the-beaten path road as darkness descends. This is especially important for solo Florida road trip travelers.

Use your GPS, map apps, or even go old school with detailed maps. Review the highways and byways before you head out on your Florida road trip.

2. Make Sure to Secure the Premises

Don’t give criminals an opportunity to ruin your Florida road trip. Avoid the temptation of boasting to your friends and followers that you’ll be traveling to exciting Florida destinations. Or if you absolutely cannot get through a day of your trip without posting photos make a point of acknowledging your house sitter and very large breed dog at home (even if you have neither!). This might deter unwelcome visitors from considering entering your home while you’re away.

You might also consider adding a home security system like this one.

3. Don’t Forget the Batteries

All the security cameras and surveillance equipment in the world is useless if your batteries are dying or dead. A few days before heading out on your road trip, be sure to charge your security devices, including smoke and other detectors. And make sure your cell phone batteries and backup batteries are fully charged as well. While at it, don’t forget to grab your cell phone charger.

4. Hold Your Mail

Uncollected mail or newspapers piling up on the front lawn are signals to criminals that you’re away from home. Ask a neighbor or someone else to pick up and store your mail while you’re away. If that’s not an option, go online or to your local post office and request that your mail be held until your return. The same is true of your newspaper or any other regular scheduled deliveries. You can never be too safe when planning your Florida road trip.

5. Clean Out the Leftover Sushi in the Back of the Fridge

There’s no better or quicker way to lose the happy vacation feeling then walking into a home that smells less than home-sweet-home. Don’t forget to remove perishables from the fridge and take out the garbage. When planning your road trip don’t leave home without ditching that already slightly wilted lettuce or leftover chicken. Power outages can ruin otherwise good food.

Place a quarter on top of a frozen container of water in the freezer. If the coin is not still on top when you check it it’s a sure way to know your freezer fell below safe temps while you area way and that food needs to be tossed.

Oh! And empty and turn off your automatic ice maker. If the power goes out while away, your ice will be a puddle of the water on floor by the time you return home.

6. Have a Friend on Speed Dial

In addition to sharing your travel plans, when planning your road trip consider creating a folder with copies of your license, health insurance, credit cards, and other documents you’ll have on the road with you. This folder is our favorite one. Leave this with someone you trust who has access to a scanner or even a fax machine.

If you lose any of the above they can provide you with the numbers and info you need to get replacements, or at least get out of a sticky situation (think being pulled over only to realize you can’t find your license).

7. Get Your Car Road Trip Ready

If you’re planning your road trip in your own vehicle, this is as good a time as any to muck-out your glove box! Get rid of those fast food ketchup packs and napkins! Be sure you can easily get to your current auto insurance info, registration, and any roadside service documents or cards you might need. You can keep this in a sturdy folio like this one. However, never keep your license, wallet, phone, or other hard to replace items in an unattended car.

Even if you’re driving a rental car, it’s always a good idea to check out your ride before you hit the road. As you’re planning your road trip, investing a few minutes to get your vehicle road ready can make or break your travels. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure with a gauge like this one. Don’t forget to check the spare tire too! Take a look under the hood to check the levels of fluids like oil, radiator, and brake fluid. If you’re not mechanically inclined, many repair shops offer reasonably priced “Road Trip Checks.”

8. Note These Rental Car Basics

If you’re traveling in a rental car keep whatever documentation the rental agency may give you in the glove box. It’s becoming more common for car rental companies to send your contract electronically. If that’s the case, don’t forget to capture screen shots of the documents in case you have an issue, or get pulled over in an area with no access to the web (these areas do exist in Florida!).

Be sure to take a picture of the vehicle, note any damage prior to leaving the rental lot, and get a shot of the license plate in case you have difficulty identifying or finding the car. For more on safe travel in a rental car, including what to do if you’re in an accident, check out our article here.

9. Protect Your Finances

We believe that Vacations should provide an escape from reality. No one wants to do math or adult while getting away from it all. By doing a daily quick check of your credit card statements and bank balances you can avoid the harsh reality of your cards and bank account being hacked. When planning your road trip, if your card or bank offers spending alerts, set those for a reasonable amount. These steps will stop thieves in their tracks if they get access to your cards – which can happen even if you still have them with you!

10. Make a List – and Check it Twice

When planning your road trip don’t forget any prescription medications. If you don’t want to take full pharmacy containers get one of these travel pill cases ask your pharmacist to print you out a list of current medications that you’ll be taking with you. This can help if you need to get refills while on your road trip.

Be sure to pack 2020 essentials including multiple face masks, hand and surface sanitizers, hand lotion, toilet tissue, paper towels, and sunscreen. Don’t forget to fill a small cooler with bottled water and healthy snacks.

If travelling with your four legged family members, don’t forget their comfort items including sunscreen! See our article about protecting your pets from the sun in Florida.

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

The call of the open road, a full tank of gas, a trusted friend by your side! Jumping in the car and driving off into the sunset has its appeal. Unless you’re “Thelma and Louise” then it just gets complicated.

Don’t jeopardize your happy Florida road trip memories. Maximize your fun in the sun. A little planning for your Florida road trip can take you a long way!

And don’t forget, if you get in a car accident along the way, contact a Florida injury attorney.

Written by Jacqui May

Jacqui May has a background in nonprofit project management and writing. She is currently a freelance consultant, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, and writer. She enjoys working with diverse organizations to connect them with resources, and make a difference in the community.

Jacqui is a straight ally and several of her close family and friends identify as lgbtq. She volunteers with organizations serving veterans, developmentally disabled adults, the homeless, and low-income community members.

Originally from New York City, she is a long-time Floridian and has extensively explored the Sunshine State. Jacqui loves history and believes that everyone has a story worth listening to.


Our Sponsors & Community Partners