How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip, from an Expert

In 2020, the concept of a “summer holiday” will be very different. And now that we’re well into August, it’s difficult to think that vacation season is drawing to a close when the majority of us haven’t left our homes in months.

Travel instills in us a sense of restoration, exploration, and introspection that is difficult to match, but pausing journeys also tends to foster fantasies about future excursions.

In recent months, the classic American road trip has experienced a rebirth. Jordan Fronk, one of Camille’s best friends and the founder of Fronks, packed her family into an RV and drove from Texas to California, and the journey appeared to be nothing short of miraculous. While they were able to avoid airports, security, and boarding deadlines, a trip like this, especially with children and a dog, is undoubtedly difficult. Jordan was kind enough to share the ultimate road trip checklist with us, as well as the lessons she learnt from her family’s voyage. Hopefully, getting a look into Jordan’s adventures will quench your wanderlust and inspire you to plan that road trip you’ve been thinking about…

Make a plan.

Where have you always wanted to go? If you want to make the most of your road vacation, start by reviewing your bucket list and mapping out a route that is both driveable and efficient. Travel books and Pinterest are fantastic places to start for inspiration, but don’t forget to leave time in your schedule for relaxation.

How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip, from an Expert

Jordan’s route: “West Texas has always been a favorite of ours, so we started out on our regular route and just kept going!” Chris found some wonderful places in Arizona and New Mexico to camp the RV beneath the stars. We counted 12 shooting stars one night and got a fantastic view of the NEOWISE comet. The creatures of the Sonoran desert interest our son, Townes, so a visit to Saguaro National Park was a necessity.

We went via Joshua Tree, Malibu, and then inland to Los Alamos to see some friends and relax for a few days after arriving in California. We slept in a wonderful airbnb, wandered around the little, peaceful town, ate and drank excellent wine, and played in the park to take a break from driving. From there, we went up the coast to see sea otters in Morro Bay and Elephant seals in San Simeon, before stopping in Monterrey for a few beach days. After that, we drove through San Francisco, stopping in the Marin Headlands for a little beach visit with an old acquaintance, and ending up at the Point Reyes Seashore, another family favorite. We kayaked Drakes Estero this morning, picked some oysters, then returned to the campsite for the afternoon. From here, we’ll travel to Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, Death Valley, White Sands, and the rest of the days are yours to choose!”

Determine where you want to end.

Now that you’ve planned your path, you’ll need to decide where you’ll stay along the way. You’ll want to look into hotels, airbnbs, camp sites, and RV parks at your key stops, as well as make any necessary meal or activity bookings.

“We planned out the first week and a half of the trip to a tee,” Jordan adds. “We looked up fantastic takeaway spots along the route, like the greatest margs in El Paso, the best coffee and chocolates in Tucson, and the best roadside Artichoke stand in central California.” “With a little forethought, we can make the most of our frequent puppy toilet stops, especially during COVID. We’re leaving the days a little more free on the way back so we can be more spontaneous.”

Get some amusement on your computer.

Make sure to download any podcasts or audiobooks you wish to listen to on the road before you go. You may also create playlists for different sections of your travel to help you keep focused on the road once you’re on the road.

Gather your belongings.

According to Jordan, having a nice bag and some packing cubes is a must. “I use packing cubes for every vacation since they’re easy to shift from your bag or duffel into hotel drawers (or RV drawers”),” Jordan explains. “They’re also wonderful for youngsters since they know where to look for stuff in the morning.” Don’t forget to bring any more small bags or coolers you might need along the journey.

“Duffles are for road trips!” “It’s a family rule that everyone must observe,” Jordan explains. “It’s so much more carefree and romantic to travel with a duffel bag, plus it’s easy to grab things on the go” (especially when everything is sorted into packing cubes, another must have). I’m not capable of opening a luggage in the backseat of a moving vehicle. In brown leather, Chris and I have a blend of Louis Vuitton and Billy Reid. The kids have Lands End canvas backpacks with monogrammed zip tops.”

Create a packing list.

Even though you won’t be weighing your luggage at an airport, road vacations follow the same packing standards. When it comes to your clothes and accessories, don’t overpack and strive on comfort and efficiency. It’s a good idea to start with yourself and make sure you’ve addressed all of your wardrobe needs.

Shoes are essential since you’ll want to be able to stop the car at any time to climb or snap photos. Depending on the nature of your journey, you may want water shoes, trail shoes, or just comfortable shoes that you can wear for hours on end. Jordan’s words of wisdom: “You’ll always need additional socks!”

Make a list of what you really must have.

When traveling, you’ll need a few things on hand, similar to your carry-on luggage on the airline. “It’s constantly at my feet for every road trip,” Jordan said of her “mission control bag.” It has chargers, a camera, a computer, face masks, a dog’s leash, CBD, and all the other essentials I need close at hand.”

Jordan’s must-haves include:

Headlamps: Everyone in the family has one, and we use it for everything from walking the dog to getting ready for stargazing to filling the water tank on the RV. They’re quite useful, and who has the time to hold a flashlight?
My hunter green men’s Patagonia puffy: The nicest thing that’s happened to my wardrobe this trip is my hunter green men’s Patagonia puffer. I’m instantly toasty and comfy wearing cut-off Levi’s and a tank.
Our natural wine haul from Cool Kid Wine: waking up refreshed and ready for another day on the road requires superb natural wine.
Oils, masks, and everything else I’m used to using at home came with me in an attempt to outwit the desert and mountain air.

Bring a cooler and any other outdoor gear you might need.

Don’t forget to bring food and drinks, as well as a nice cooler for any goods that need to be kept cool. Even though you’ll most likely stop for meals along the route, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared for extended stretches of driving.

Go with the flow of things.

“Plan as much as you can, and then recognize that a lot of things are going to blow your plan to bits, and that’s alright too,” Jordan advises. It’s a thrilling journey!”