You're planning a road trip, and in the romanticized vision in your head you jump in the car and GO. The windows are down, the radio's up, and you shout "see ya' when I see ya'" to the neighbors as you head off towards the horizon, not a care in the world.

And then you realize you don't have any idea where you're going, you're thirsty with nothing to drink, the battery on your phone dies, the radio station is filled with static, all the hotels are booked everywhere and you've got piles of trash at your feet, so you turn around and head back home with your taillights between your legs.

When you're planning on taking a road trip, planning should be the operative word, but you don't have to lose any of your spontaneity. In fact, with a couple of handy checklists you can be off and exploring in no time.

I admit; I'm a little obsessed with checklists. I'm the type of person that will add something to a to-do list that I've already done just so I can cross it off. One of the reasons I love camping is because it feeds my need to organize. We've got tent bins and kitchen bins and campsite bins and I start planning the menu a week in advance. I'm a veritable freak when it comes to planning a weekend outdoors, so you can imagine what I'm like when planning a road trip.

That's why I am eminently qualified, if I do say so myself, to provide a road trip planner and share a few suggestions for making your getaway as smooth as possible. The most important thing is to have fun, and with these preparations you'll be ready to explore like the carefree roadtripper you've always envisioned yourself to be.

Road Trip Planner

Click the following links for help planning your road trip: