Holiday Travel with Salt Lake Express

Are you a homesick student? Or perhaps it’s been forever since you’ve visited your extended family. To many people, the holiday season represents a time to come together. To celebrate relationships and enjoy the end of the year. However, getting home for the holidays can be a challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with winter travel you may not feel comfortable traveling home. But fear not. No matter how far you go, Salt Lake Express is here to help with all the ways we help with holiday travel.

Travel to Utah or Idaho

Saint_George_Shuttle_Service

We have routes all throughout Idaho and Utah. Traveling is as simple as picking your destination. The most popular route goes from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake. However, the bus does stop in towns along the way. If you are traveling from Idaho to Utah, or vice versa, you need to think about the weather. Utah and Idaho weather is often similar, however Utah can be slightly warmer. In the winter, your best bet is to pack for cold weather either way. If you travel to St George, you have the option to get dropped off at your door. Which can come in handy if you’re hoping to save time.

Travel to Nevada

Aerial view of Las Vegas strip, in front of teh Bellagio
Getting to and from Las Vegas is simple and affordable with our shuttles.

Salt Lake Express has several popular routes from Utah to Nevada. The most popular destinations lie near Las Vegas, but there are several other options. If you do travel from Utah to Nevada, planning for weather is key. Nevada weather often reaches the 70s in the winter, while Utah rests below freezing. You’ll want to dress warm for the trip, but have layers you can remove as it gets warmer. Pack for warm weather, but bring a light jacket just in case. Pack a swimsuit in case you want to enjoy warm weather at it’s fullest. Once you’re packed and ready to go, you can relax and enjoy the show of Christmas lights and Vegas neon.

Travel to Wyoming or Montana

We have several routes if you’re traveling to Wyoming or Montana, most being to Yellowstone or Jackson Hole. You’ll need to prepare for very cold weather if you’re traveling that far north. You’ll want to pack heavy clothing for your trip. Especially if you’re planning any outdoor activities or ventures. Bring a large suitcase to carry sweaters, pants, and thermals. Dress appropriately for travel. Check weather conditions for Wyoming and Montana before you leave. Bring extra layers in your carry-on bag to add as you travel and wear a heavy coat that is easy to remove on the bus. Your coat can double as a pillow if you’re hoping to sleep on the bus. If you can, bring an extra dry, warm pair of clothes, just in case.

Further Travel

Salt Lake City's international airport
The Salt Lake International Airport has become a major hub connecting the mountainous West with the rest of the world.

If you’re traveling further east, you’ll need to travel by airplane. However, bus travel can help you save on gas and airport parking. Salt Lake Express provides transport to airports in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. Simply pick the one closest to you and we can get you to the destination. But if you are planning to travel by plane, you’ll need to plan how you pack. Most airports have a weight limit for your luggage. The standard limit comes to around 50 pounds per suitcase. Salt Lake Express allows you to bring two suitcases, but you can pay an additional fee if you need to bring more. However, additional baggage fees can add up. If you’re only traveling for the holidays, try limiting yourself to one suitcase. It’s a good idea to leave with one suitcase, then return with two after the holidays.

Check out the closest stop to your destination.

Holiday Events in Salt Lake

Travel and See Holiday Events

October has officially come and gone. Now the holiday season continues with Thanksgiving and Christmas. We at Salt Lake Express know our travelers are itching to get home for the holidays. While we want to get you home quickly and safely, it’d be a shame if you missed out on some of the wonderful opportunities this season has to offer. Which is why we’re breaking down the best holiday events in Salt lake this season. If you are planning on visiting Salt Lake, check out some of these great events and performances. Consider this our gift to you.

For more info on our routes and stops, check out Salt Lake Express

Dickens Christmas Festival – Nov 18 – 20

Charles Dickens practically made Christmas the powerhouse holiday it is. The popularity of Christmas celebrations and traditions was greatly influenced by his book A Christmas Carol. This November, you have the chance to celebrate Christmas the way they did in Dickens’ day. The festival includes traditional performances, old English shops, entertainment, music and much more. Kids visiting the festival can meet a surprise visitor from the north. Travel with Salt Lake Express and get into the holiday spirit the old fashioned way.

Festival of Trees – Nov 22 – Dec 4

The Festival of Trees is an annual charity event held by Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake. At the Festival, local artists and designers have 24 hours to decorate and present their original Christmas tree artwork side by side. The presentation is like walking through a forest of Christmas trees. And the proceeds go to treatment and research at Primary Children’s Hospital. If you are looking for a way to get involved with a great cause, travel to the Mountain America Expo Center in Salt Lake and stop by the Festival of Trees.

A Christmas with David Archuleta – Nov 26

Were you ever a fan of American Idol? Over a decade ago David Archuleta competed on Idol and became a Utah celebrity. Archuleta is an incredibly talented singer and performer, and this concert marks his first Utah performance since the pandemic. The concert is a great opportunity to hear a ballad of your favorite Christmas song or carol. He’ll be performing at the Orpheum Theatre the day after Thanksgiving 2021. If you are traveling with us this Thanksgiving, consider getting tickets. You won’t want to miss this!

Visit Orpheum Theatre to get tickets now.

Temple Square Christmas Lights – November 26 – Jan 1

Take a shuttle to St George for the holidays.

We have talked before about the Christmas lights, but we’ll keep talking about them as long as we can. Nobody celebrates Christmas quite like Salt Lake City. Throughout the valley, homes put up Christmas lights and displays up and down the street. Salt Lake is beautiful in December. But the crown jewel has to be Temple Square. The Salt Lake Temple is the pride and joy of the city during Christmas time. You can see the light display all across the grounds. They light their tree the day after Thanksgiving every year. Travel to Salt Lake anytime in December to see it.

Holiday Concerts with the Utah Symphony – Multiple dates in December

The Utah Symphony presents a plethora of performances this winter. If you’re in the mood for great music and a powerful performance, this is the stop for you. The Symphony plans to perform a wide range of pieces such as; traditional pieces like Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos 3 & 4 or modern music from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Overall its a great holiday event for music lovers. If you travel with us to Salt Lake this December, stop by Abravanel Concert Hal to check out a performance.

Check out Utah Symphony for dates and performances.

Reasons To Visit Cedar City

Cedar City

If you’ve ever traveled from Salt Lake to Las Vegas, you’ve most likely passed through Cedar City. Residents of Utah will tell you it’s a great stop. But, if you’ve never stopped there, you’re missing out on some of the great things Cedar City has to offer. Cedar City has access to the outdoors, entertainment, and views you can’t find anywhere else. Whether you’ve been there before or not, Salt Lake Express is here to show all the great reasons to visit Cedar City!

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is one of the five National Parks in Utah. The Canyon has more than fourteen hiking opportunities. Each with their own unique views and access to the park. Visitors to Bryce can find a hike for them no matter how much experience they have. The park also offers opportunities for horseback riding, bird watching, camping, and much more. If you’re traveling with Salt Lake Express, you should definitely add Bryce Canyon to your travel plans.

Zion National Park

Like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park provides hiking, camping, and other activities for visitors. However, Zion is known as one of the premier national parks in the country. In addition to the activities we’ve already mentioned, Zion provides opportunities for rock climbing, cycling, canyoneering, and more. Visitors with an interest in adventure can go to the extreme in this park. For travelers with a more laid-back approach, there are several tours, small hikes, rivers, and picnic opportunities to enjoy. If you travel to Cedar City, know there is something for everyone in nearby Zion National Park.

Utah Shakespeare Festival

Crowd at the Shakespeare Festival

If you’re looking for something closer to the city, you can always stop by the Utah Shakespeare Festival while they’re in season. We’ve mentioned this festival before. But, no matter how long its been, we always have to mention it again. Because the Utah Shakespeare Festival is amazing. The Festival runs from June through September, and provides entertainment and opportunities for both theatre enthusiasts and thespians. Southern Utah University has hosted the Shakespeare Festival for over fifty years. Each season, actors perform three classic Shakespeare plays. While volunteers help run activities, competitions, seminars, and tours. The festival has also won several awards. Including a Tony, Emmy, and an award from Utah’s governor. If you travel to Cedar City next summer, be sure to stop by the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Kanarra Falls

Visitors willing to go a short distance outside of Cedar City can visit the beautiful Kanarra Falls. The falls lie in a slot canyon. Hikers have to traverse the narrow canyon floor and climb a short ladder in order to get to the falls. The hike is relatively difficult, so inexperienced hikers had better travel in a group. As always in these situations, bring a first aid kit and let someone know where you are going just in case. The hike requires visitors to wade through water at some point so be willing to get a little wet. The view is definitely worth the trip.

Skiing Opportunities

Cedar City is a short distance from Brian Head Resort. One of the best skiing resorts in Utah. The resort opens ski runs Nov 19, 2021 and will close at the end of ski season. Anyone who loves skiing knows that Utah has the best snow on earth. Professionals love the light, soft, powdery snow that you find in the Rocky Mountains. What better place to enjoy winter weather than a resort with over 71 runs and skiing opportunities. Even if you have no desire to ski, the resort offers plenty of activities, hot and cold, to keep you entertained. If you’re a Salt Lake Express traveler looking for a vacation in the winter, this is the place.

Planning For Your Road Trip With Salt Lake Express

Must-Haves for Every Road Trip Warrior

I’m something of a cross country, road trip traveler! I actually grew up in the back of a seven-passenger vehicle driving across the country for most of my life. And I know that there is a lot to remember when you’re planning a trip. After spending days and even weeks at a time driving in a car, I’ve become somewhat of a professional traveler. Which might help you out with your next trip on Salt Lake Express. The principles of cross country travel remain the same regardless of what vehicle you’re in. Here are some of the things I do to make my trips more comfortable.

Nutrition

healthy snacks on a road trip

Food and water come first in any travel situation. After long hours in close conditions, we all get understandably tired and hungry. Which is why you need to pack snacks and water beforehand. Salt Lake Express stops every few hours to fuel up, but you can’t rely on these stops alone. Most people will be in a rush for the bathroom during these stops. You don’t want to hold up the bus because you were trying to buy a gas station sandwich. I suggest you take a look at how long your trip will last and then pack enough snacks for at least two-thirds of the meals you’d usually have during that time. Also bring a medium sized refillable water bottle.

In addition, try to pack light and with easily disposable packaging so you’ll have more room in your carry-on after you eat. If you’re planning on taking a flight, make sure you eat all of your food before you leave the bus. You wouldn’t want to waste anything.

Comfort

The next tip I have for you involves maximizing your comfort throughout the trip. Make sure to wear travel clothes. These should be your most comfortable pair of clothes that are appropriate for the weather you are traveling in. Many of you will want a neck pillow to help you sleep sitting up right. I’ve never been able to sleep while traveling, but I’d suggest you bring one if you plan on getting some rest. For the men out there, take your wallet and phone out of your back pockets and store them either in your carry on or coat pocket. You’ll be sitting down for a long period of time and that wallet becomes death in your pocket after two hours! That small change will make the biggest difference in your comfort level.

Pack Light

Packing light increases your chances of being comfortable. Try to only pack one suitcase with all the essential clothes and toiletries you’ll need. You should have one pair of clothes for every day of your trip. But for a longer trip, try planning on doing laundry. For a long trip pack;

  • Four shirts, two regular and two formal
  • Three pairs of pants or bottoms, 2 casual and 1 formal
  • Two pairs of shoes (formal and non-formal)
  • Four pairs of socks
  • Underwear
  • Toiletries

All you need should be able to fit into a small to medium sized suitcase. Then bring a backpack or carry-on bag with the other essentials;

  • Food and water
  • One extra pair of clothes
  • Charger
  • Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Pocket money
  • Phone

Fit these into your backpack as best you can. I suggest rolling the clothes into a bundle at the base of your backpack. And that is how you properly plan for your upcoming road trip. And don’t forget to frequently check saltlakeexpress.com for surprise sales and other promotional deals. You can also subscribe to our email where we regularly send out stellar discounts!

Travel Apps

Your Road Trip Checklist: 7 Things to Remember

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to. – J.R.R. Tolkien

What does freedom feel like to you? For new students, snowbirds, or fortunate victims to wanderlust, this freedom likely manifests itself in the form of a full tank of gas and an open road. Whether you are heading home, to the airport, to the coast, or simply wherever the road takes you, the commencement of any road trip is full of possibilities.

Just like any type of freedom, it comes with a cost. There is a literal cost associated — road trips tend to dip into your wallet, if just for gas alone. You also face several hours in the car alone or, for better or for worse, with a full cab. You need to consider food, lodging, and not to mention you are racing several thousand pounds of machinery through the country which denotes some obvious hazards.

Prepping for your road trip, however, can be a joy. After all, remember, with the freedom of the open road there are innumerable possibilities. How will you equip yourself for such a journey? Here are some things we believe you should absolutely consider when getting ready to hit the road.


healthy snacks on a road trip

Snacks

A robust cache of road trip snacks is invaluable when driving cross-country. Your body is still burning calories just by sitting there, and more so if your playlist is good. Plus, what else is going to keep you awake when the hour is late and the scenery is bland? (Or if your playlist is bad.) You never really need an excuse for snacks, but a road trip is a good one.

Some tips: avoid too much sugar. It tastes delightful and makes you feel great while listening to “Life is a Highway” for the fourteenth time. But you’ll crash hard. Maybe in more ways than one. Caffeine may or may not sustain you; a good alternative is orange juice or green tea. Try throwing in some healthy snacks like apples or something that will make you work, like sunflower seeds.

listening to a podcast on a road trip

A Curated Soundtrack

Depending on your destination, you’re facing a lot of hours just staring straight ahead. Thinking time is criminally underrated, but it is also good to fill the silence.

Assemble a killer road trip playlist with a good mix of your favorite tunes. Get creative and try to explore beyond the hooks of the afore-mentioned “Life is a Highway” or “Surfin’ USA.” Finding songs named after your destination or places you’re traveling through can be fun — then again, your music choice doesn’t have to evoke a place at all. Songs with deeper meanings and plenty of layers engage your mind — rotate these in with more danceable tracks.

You don’t have to limit yourself to music, either. Subscribe to different podcasts that interest you, or rent an audiobook online or from the library. However you can best engage your mind and senses is worth preparing beforehand. Above all, avoid distracting yourself from attentive driving.

hand out the window - road trip

A Working Vehicle

There’s something thrilling about going by the seat of your pants, just hopping in and handing the reigns over to fate and adventure. But you may find that if you’re too footloose, you could end up stranded on the side of a lonely stretch of highway — you don’t want that much adventure.

Swing by your favorite service center on your way out of town for a last-minute checkup. Get an oil change, top off your fluids, replace wipers, whatever you have to do to ensure a safe journey. Your vehicle will thank you and show you a heartwarming amount of loyalty throughout your road trip.

road trip buddies

The Buddy System

Some of the best memories you can create are shared memories of a road trip. Inside jokes, stories both intimate and exaggerated, and experiences at that one place with the guy will follow you forever. This is the principle upon which some of the best travel and buddy comedies build: Planes, Trains, and AutomobilesThelma & LouiseDumb and Dumber…in fact, has there been a good travel comedy recently? Shout at me.

Whether you take a friend, a family member, or a perfect stranger, this person or people will undoubtedly make your road trip memorable. That being said, Salt Lake Express generally advises against picking up hitchhikers.

idaho map for a road trip

An Old Fashioned Map

Yes, I know you usually get your instructions from Siri. And sure, if you’re heading home chances are you already know the way. This one is more of a fun invitation: buy a roadmap from the gas station while you’re filling up and let it be your guide. Not only does it enhance the adventure but it gives you a bigger picture of where you are. You’ll learn more about surrounding areas and maybe even be tempted to take a quick detour to see that thing over there. Plus, when dead zones may strip your phone of its authority, your map will cease to be a novelty and will save the day.

However, it is the digital age, and we recommend you also keep your phone charged and ready to save your bacon. Physical maps don’t update as quickly or often as Google Maps…you should be ready to let technology go to work when you need it.

first aid kit on a road trip

Emergency Supplies

As they say, “[stuff] happens” and perhaps, despite all your precautionary measures, you end up stranded or worse (we certainly hope not). You don’t have to plan on it before you head out the door but absolutely plan for it. Again, this undercuts the spontaneity that can be so fun about road trips. But when it comes down to it, you’ll be very glad you thought ahead.

Keep some emergency cash on hand and pack a little extra food and water than you normally would for yourself. Also, and this is just a good rule of thumb, keep a full first aid kit and blankets in your car.

And don’t just pack safely for yourself — it’s good practice to carry extra automotive fluids, a spare tire/jack, and if you’re a super prepper maybe even a gallon of gasoline. The most important thing is that you feel secure when hitting the open road.

open road on a road trip

Games

What was your favorite road trip game to play as a kid? Pumping your arm to make semi drivers honk their horns? I Spy? M.A.S.H.? Mad Libs? Kids are amazing at coming up with fun ways to pass the time, and as an adult, you can too.

Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper if you are the driver and can’t get too distracted. You can entertain yourself (and your passengers) without the luxury of “games”, too; pretend you’re a guest on a talk show host and ask yourself questions or sing about things you pass on the road. It sounds a little crazy right now, but after enough time in the car (and perhaps enough caffeine) it can become very entertaining.


Assuming you have everything else packed, you’re all set to get going. Charge your phone and your camera battery, lock up behind you and let the road trip begin.

Travel Apps for St George Express

Travel Apps to Download for Your Road Trip

After writing Travel Tips For The Ultimate Road Warrior, we realized we could do a whole separate piece just about helpful travel apps to download before hitting the road.

So if you’re planning a road trip this summer, or you know you’ll be driving your way back to Rexburg, make sure you try these travel apps and let us know your experience.


GasBuddy

If you’re driving instead of flying, you’re probably trying to save some money. So why not save on gas too? GasBuddy is a mobile app that shows users all of the available gas options nearby and their prices. The app works based on user reports, and GasBuddy rewards users for updating a station’s prices. If you earn enough points, you can enter raffles for prizes, like free gas. 

iExit

Think about all the reasons you might need to make a quick pitstop — that’s exactly what iExit is for. Need a nap? Need to grab some snacks? Need to get some cash from an ATM? iExit helps you see what businesses and facilities are coming up on your route and what exit you need to take to get there. The app also lets you search for specific businesses or perks so if you’re looking for Taco Bell, it’ll help you find the closest one. If you’re looking for Wi-Fi or a campground, it can help you find those too.

Google Maps

While there are countless navigation apps that you could use for mapping your trip, Google Maps is easily one of the most functional and simplistic to use. It offers turn-by-turn directions specific to your mode of transportation, so even if you’re riding a bicycle for part of your trip, it’ll get you where you need to go. You can also add multiple destinations if your plan is to hit several locations in succession. Maps also lets you know when places with strict hours of operation close and checks to see if the route you’re taking includes tolls.

Spotify

Road trips, especially cross-country hauls, are a great reason to catch up on all the music releases you’ve missed since high school. Spotify arguably is the most practical way to control the soundtrack of your journey with on-demand music. Spotify provides curated playlists specifically designed for road trips and an enormous library of artists, bands and podcasts to listen to. The app is free, but if you want to ditch the ads, you might want to consider the $9.99-a-month premium subscription ($4.99 for students). And unless you’ve got unlimited data, make sure you download everything for offline listening.

Flush Toilet Finder

It might seem like a joke to include an app that helps you find and rate public restrooms, but Flush Toilet Finder might be what saves you and your shorts from a nasty gas station porta-potty.  The app uses location sensors to check its database of more than 200,000 toilets worldwide, and even while offline will show you nearby toilets with information about fees, key requirements or handicap access. With the ability to integrate with Google Maps, you can even get specific directions to the restroom of your choice.


Travel apps to accompany you on the road

Obviously, there are countless travel apps that will help you improve your travel experience. Depending on what you’re looking to do, there might be something out there that these apps just can’t do. But these are some of the best for any road trip experience. If you decide to give them a try, or if you find something you like better, let us know. We’re always looking for cool new travel apps.

All of these apps are free to download and can be used on iOS or Android devices.

Travel tips for the ultimate road warrior

Travel Tips for the Ultimate Road Warrior

We’ve all seen the movie. A group of close friends piles into a car together for an iconic carpool across the country filled with sightseeing and memories that will last a lifetime. But unless you’ve done your homework, you might be looking down the turnpike at a Planes, Trains & Automobiles sequel.

If you’re thinking of planning your first road trip, or if you’re an experienced cross-country traveler, these tips will help elevate your experience and hopefully help prevent some unnecessary headaches.


Put together a travel playlist

Whether you’ve got the entire Harry Potter audio-book discography to listen to or a perfect playlist of your favorite songs, you’ll occasionally need something to fill the silence on long drives. If you don’t have time to plan your trip’s soundtrack, Spotify has curated playlists like Classic Road Trip Songs and Songs to Sing in the Car that will keep you entertained on your drive.

Keep cash on hand for tolls

Check ahead of time if the route you’re taking includes toll roads and plan accordingly if you want to avoid them. Google Maps has a feature that will tell you if the route you’re taking includes tolls and lets you select alternate routes. Depending on where you’re driving and what state lines you might be crossing over, it can start to cost a pretty penny. In states like New York, some toll stations don’t accept cards. Make sure you’ve got enough cash on hand to get where you need to go, or you might be taking an alternate route that will set you back a few hours.

Get comfortable

Dealing with several different people who all want the temperature set differently can be frustrating. Layers are a major key anytime you’re traveling anywhere. When the AC starts to feel a little chilly, just throw on a sweatshirt. Bring a travel pillow and blankets. Wear slip-on shoes or sandals. Do what you can to get yourself comfortable and let your travel companions do the same.

Be prepared for “sticky and stinky”

There will be unexpected spills and messes. Bring hand sanitizer and napkins to clean up. Bring deodorant and air fresheners. If you’re planning to camp, bring a dry shampoo and wet-wipes to keep yourself clean. No one wants to travel with someone who can’t clean up after themselves, so do what you can to keep yourself and your space free of “sticky and stinky.”

Take the scenic route

The ultimate trip tip for any road warrior: take the scenic route. Plan your stops around landmarks and soak in the sights of the states that you’re driving through. If you’re going to be on the road, you might as well do it with someone you love and see the sights you’re driving through.


A road trip can be an interesting conversation starter or story you tell for the rest of your life. The right amount of preparation can make all the difference in how you remember your trip ten years from now. If you’re making memories, might as well make some good ones.

 

car on u.s. map for a road trip

The Road Trip Checklist: 7 Things to Remember

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to. – J.R.R. Tolkien

What does freedom feel like to you? For recent graduates, spring breakers, or fortunate victims to wanderlust, this freedom likely manifests itself in the form of a full tank of gas and an open road. Whether you are heading home, to the airport, to the coast, or simply wherever the road takes you, the commencement of any road trip is full of possibilities.

Just like any type of freedom, it comes with a cost. There is a literal cost associated — road trips tend to dip into your wallet, if just for gas alone. You also face several hours in the car alone or, for better or for worse, with a full cab. You need to consider food, lodging, and not to mention you are racing several thousand pounds of machinery through the country which denotes some obvious hazards.

Prepping for your road trip, however, can be a joy. After all, remember, with the freedom of the open road there are innumerable possibilities. How will you equip yourself for such a journey? Here are some things we believe you should absolutely consider when getting ready to hit the road.


healthy snacks on a road trip

Snacks

A robust cache of road trip snacks is invaluable when driving cross-country. Your body is still burning calories just by sitting there, and more so if your playlist is good. Plus, what else is going to keep you awake when the hour is late and the scenery is bland? (Or if your playlist is bad.) You never really need an excuse for snacks, but a road trip is a good one.

Some tips: avoid too much sugar. It tastes delightful and makes you feel great while listening to “Life is a Highway” for the fourteenth time. But you’ll crash hard. Maybe in more ways than one. Caffeine may or may not sustain you; a good alternative is orange juice or green tea.  Try throwing in some healthy snacks like apples or something that will make you work, like sunflower seeds.

listening to a podcast on a road trip

Soundtrack

Depending on your destination, you’re facing a lot of hours just staring straight ahead. Thinking time is criminally underrated, but it is also good to fill the silence.

Assemble a killer road trip playlist with a good mix of your favorite tunes. Get creative and try to explore beyond the hooks of the afore-mentioned “Life is a Highway” or “Surfin’ USA.” Finding songs named after your destination or places you’re traveling through can be fun — then again, your music choice doesn’t have to evoke a place at all. Songs with deeper meanings and plenty of layers engage your mind — rotate these in with more danceable tracks.

You don’t have to limit yourself to music, either. Subscribe to different podcasts that interest you, or rent an audiobook online or from the library. However you can best engage your mind and senses is worth preparing beforehand. Above all, avoid distracting yourself from attentive driving.

hand out the window - road trip

Working vehicle

There’s something thrilling about going by the seat of your pants, just hopping in and handing the reigns over to fate and adventure. But you may find that if you’re too footloose, you could end up stranded on the side of a lonely stretch of highway — you don’t want that much adventure.

Swing by your favorite service center on your way out of town for a last-minute checkup. Get an oil change, top off your fluids, replace wipers, whatever you have to do to ensure a safe journey. Your vehicle will thank you and show you a heartwarming amount of loyalty throughout your road trip.

road trip buddies

Buddy

Some of the best memories you can create are shared memories of a road trip. Inside jokes, stories both intimate and exaggerated, and experiences at that one place with the guy will follow you forever. This is the principle upon which some of the best travel and buddy comedies build: Planes, Trains, and AutomobilesThelma & LouiseDumb and Dumber…in fact, has there been a good travel comedy recently? Shout at me.

Whether you take a friend, a family member, or a perfect stranger, this person or people will undoubtedly make your road trip memorable. That being said, Salt Lake Express generally advises against picking up hitchhikers.

idaho map for a road trip

Map

Yes, I know you usually get your instructions from Siri. And sure, if you’re heading home chances are you already know the way. This one is more of a fun invitation: buy a roadmap from the gas station while you’re filling up and let it be your guide. Not only does it enhance the adventure but it gives you a bigger picture of where you are. You’ll learn more about surrounding areas and maybe even be tempted to take a quick detour to see that thing over there. Plus, when dead zones may strip your phone of its authority, your map will cease to be a novelty and will save the day.

However, it is the digital age, and we recommend you also keep your phone charged and ready to save your bacon. Physical maps don’t update as quickly or often as Google Maps…you should be ready to let technology go to work when you need it.

first aid kit on a road trip

Emergency supplies

As they say, “[stuff] happens” and perhaps, despite all your precautionary measures, you end up stranded or worse (we certainly hope not). You don’t have to plan on it before you head out the door but absolutely plan for it. Again, this undercuts the spontaneity that can be so fun about road trips. But when it comes down to it, you’ll be very glad you thought ahead.

Keep some emergency cash on hand and pack a little extra food and water than you normally would for yourself. Also, and this is just a good rule of thumb, keep a full first aid kit and blankets in your car.

And don’t just pack safely for yourself — it’s good practice to carry extra automotive fluids, a spare tire/jack, and if you’re a super prepper maybe even a gallon of gasoline. The most important thing is that you feel secure when hitting the open road.

open road on a road trip

Games

What was your favorite road trip game to play as a kid? Pumping your arm to make semi drivers honk their horns? I Spy? M.A.S.H.? Mad Libs? Kids are amazing at coming up with fun ways to pass the time, and as an adult, you can too.

Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper if you are the driver and can’t get too distracted. You can entertain yourself (and your passengers) without the luxury of “games”, too; pretend you’re a guest on a talk show host and ask yourself questions or sing about things you pass on the road. It sounds a little crazy right now, but after enough time in the car (and perhaps enough caffeine) it can become very entertaining.


Assuming you have everything else packed, you’re all set to get going. Charge your phone and your camera battery, lock up behind you and let the road trip begin.