Going for a multi-city road trip is a great way to spend vacation time. However, from picking your destinations, booking hotels and main flights, and figuring out your driving strategy to creating a budget, planning a multi-city road trip with family and friends can be overwhelming. To get you started, here are 11 tips to help you prepare for a memorable and exciting multi-city road trip.

1. Choose your destinations

The first step in planning a multi-city road trip is picking your destinations. Start by drafting all the cities you want to visit. Next, consider your budget to zone in on favorable cities. If you are working under a tight budget, choose cities close to each other to lower travel costs. 

2. Pick your stops along the way

 Choosing the cities you want to visit is not enough. You should further determine the locations you want to explore in these cities. If you do not already have spots in mind, conduct in-depth research on your destinations to pick memorable locations. However, consider the length of the trip, family interests, and your driving strategy when choosing your stops. Next, pin the sites on an ideal route planner such as Google Maps to help you maximize the time spent exploring different surroundings on your multi-city trip.

3. Plan for transportation

If you want to drive or take a bus to your destination, leverage Google Maps to compare information on the different transportation modes. With that being said, keep your preferred traveling time and cost in mind when picking an appropriate method of transportation.

4. Choose your driving strategy

If you decide to drive yourself to your destination, be sure to first pick a driving strategy. You could drive all day, explore, and have fun the next day. Alternatively, you could do a little of both daily or combine the two strategies. Picking a driving strategy beforehand enables you to allocate time accordingly, allowing you to make the most out of your trip. 

If you do not own a vehicle and want a short-term lease to make your multi-city road trip with your loved ones more enjoyable, consider opting for a monthly car rental. Monthly rental cars are less expensive, offer you the ability to swap vehicles, and you do not need a credit check to acquire the automobile.  

5. Establish where you want to start and end your trip

Once you choose the cities you want to visit, decide where to start and end your trip. Establishing your starting and ending points lets you determine the most effective and cost-efficient routes. Be sure to also research your destination when choosing your starting and ending points. Some cities may not have trails and public transit running on specific days, impacting your desired travel dates and the period you will be away.

6. Plan for living arrangements

Your multi-city vacation will involve making Airbnb or hotel reservations. Be sure to research affordable options for accommodations in the cities you intend to visit. If you are traveling on a budget, consider homeswapping. This involves staying in someone’s house when vacationing in their city as they live in yours. Other pocket-friendly options for living arrangements for those under a tight budget include homestays, Couchsurfing, pet sitting, and hostels.

7. Consider the weather

One of the most significant things to consider before leaving home for your multi-city road trip is the weather. Checking the weather enables you to pack appropriately for each destination. It also helps you to prepare for any climatic conditions you will likely encounter on your road trip. If you discover the weather may not be favorable at a specific destination, consider changing your routes or choosing another city to avoid issues.

8. Pack wisely

Packing for a multi-city road trip can be daunting because not only do you have to hop from one hotel to the next. You also have to visit different cities experiencing different weather conditions. To make things easier, consider packing for each segment of your trip.

You should bring an extra suitcase or carry a few laundry baskets to store dirty clothes. If you intend to explore an area that requires special equipment or clothes, consider packing them in a smaller, separate bag. Be sure to bring food and beverages, especially when visiting sites you could experience difficulties finding a place to snack or eat. 

9. Prepare for emergencies

It is best to plan for unexpected happenings during your multi-city road trip by packing an emergency kit for yourself and your vehicle. Your vehicle emergency kit could include a monkey wrench, engine replacement parts, and a spare tire. This ensures you have the right repair tools in case your car breaks down in the middle of your trip. If you are traveling solo, be sure to inform a loved one of your travel plans to ensure you get help in the event of an emergency. 

10. Invest in a route planner app

Navigating different routes during your multi-city road trip can be problematic. You could end up wasting a lot of time and money if you are unsure of the best way to follow. Consider investing in a route planner app to find the best routes from one location to the next. Route planner apps can also help you identify the fastest ways and those without tolls. Some free route planner apps you could invest in include Google Maps, Waze Route Planner, and MapQuest Route Planner, to mention a few.

11. Create a budget

Your multi-city road trip itinerary comes down to your budget. How much are you willing to spend on the road? Create a reasonable budget beforehand to determine the cities and spots to visit. A budget also helps you to decide the best time to travel, the length of your trip, and what to experience. 


A multi-city road trip is exciting and fun, but it can be overwhelming to plan. Be sure to pick your destinations, arrange for transportation, pack wisely, create a budget, and invest in a route planner app to embark on an incident-free road trip.