Here's Why You Should Plan Your Rest Stops For A Long Road Trip

Road trips are one of the best ways to explore a region or even entire countries all while getting to have fun at your own pace. Whether you're road-tripping with friends, family, or going solo, road trips are a great opportunity to see new places and make lasting memories on the road. Plus, it's often cheaper and more relaxing than flying or taking a train or bus since there's no need to book tickets in advance, and if you decide to make any last-minute changes, there is less stress. With so many advantages, it's no surprise that more people are opting for road trips as their preferred method of travel.

However, if you're embarking on a long road trip — let's say across the United States — you are definitely going to need to keep a few things in mind. Beyond making sure you have some idea of what route you want to take and where you'll be sleeping each night, you will need to plan frequent rest stops (per The Road Trip Expert). And besides it being good for your health, no road trip would truly be complete without taking some time off the road and enjoying a break.

The importance of rest stops on road trips

Whether it's for a few hours or an entire day, planning rest stops will ensure that you have enough energy and enthusiasm to continue your journey without feeling overwhelmed by the long stretches of driving. RACV writes that taking regular breaks every two to three hours is the best way to avoid drowsiness and fatigue. Additionally, writes that driving for extended periods of time could even result in something called highway hypnosis. So take frequent rest stops to give you and your travel buddies a chance to properly stretch your legs and switch drivers if needed. Stopping also gives you the chance to grab a meal that you can safely enjoy rather than multitasking with your driving.

And what would a road trip be without taking the opportunity to explore new places or take a break from driving? Whatever it is that you decide to do during your rest stop, it could help make the road trip more exciting and memorable. Lastly, taking regular stops also keeps you and your travel buddies from getting too bored or possibly annoyed with being in a small space together for extended periods of time. By taking frequent stops, you can all walk around a bit and find new things to talk about and enjoy the fresh air.

Best places to take rest stops while on the road

By now, you understand the importance of taking regular rest stops along your journey. The Road Trip Expert recommends at least 15 minutes of rest every 2 hours or 45 minutes of rest every 4.5 hours. If you're planning to drive a long distance, you may be making a lot of stops. So, where are the best places to stop along the way?

You should take care to locate rest stops along your route as these usually have bathrooms, some food (though it may be from a vending machine), and are a good spot to take a nap if needed. But if you're looking for something more interesting, find a town along the way that has a quiet park or beach, enjoy the local food, or visit a nearby museum. However, try to avoid busy gas stations or highways as these can often be crowded and noisy which won't provide much relief from road-trip fatigue.

If you're taking a road trip through Europe, some countries have great roadside stops that are the perfect place to rest and eat. In Italy, there are places called Autogrills that often serve fresh food and coffee and even sell gourmet products like cured meats, cheese, and chocolate. You could practically build your own charcuterie plate right in your car! Now that sounds like a fun road trip.