So you've decided to get a few of your people together and go on an exciting journey together. Worried? Don't be. All you have to do is follow the next few steps and then hop in the car. It's as simple as that!

Road Trip Planning

1. Choose a Destination

Where do you want to go? Chances are, if you decided to take a trip, you already have a spot in mind. But don't do a little research first. Whether you're planning a trip of a few hundred or a few thousand miles, there is always something new around the corner.

Once you've decided on your ultimate destination, don't forget to look for extra stops along the way. These stops are what will make your experiences unique and interesting. The trip should be about the journey, not only the destination.

2. Plan the Route and Timing

Planning the route can be one of the more time-consuming parts of the planning process. Making the trip extra fun requires some research of the towns you'll be passing through. You can plan these trips on the fly, but a little forethought will lead to less missed opportunities.

Now that you know where you're going, it's time to plan the trip. Most travelers like to go by hours. But if you're a more easy-going group, only planning a start and stop location for the day lends to more time excursions along the way.

Make sure you discuss the length of the trip with everyone going. People, unfortunately, have lives they have to get back to and some may not be able to handle more than a week on the road. Also, remember that however far you go, you'll have to travel the same distance back.

Google Maps is an excellent resource for planning your route.

AAA's TripTik Travel Planner is a very useful tool to use while panning and while out on the road.

3. Plan the Budget

The budget can always be one of the more sensitive areas when planning any vacation. Be realistic about the expenses that will add up along the way but be thrifty when possible.

The three big budget categories are gas, food and lodging.

AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator will give you the most realistic estimates of how much your group will have to put up for gas.

Food is a necessity you can't get around. Bringing your own snacks and reusable water bottles are just a few of the many things your group can to save cash.

Lodging is another possibly touchy category of the planning process. Some people may be alright sleeping under the stars or even on a floor, while some of the group may insist on having a goose feather pillow under their head every night. A compromise is usually always necessary when planning lodging.

I recommend using to find the best deals on local hotels.

The Tips and Safety page has some very helpful tips for cutting costs along the way.

4. The Meeting

The easiest and fastest way to plan the road trip so that everyone is happy is to have a planning meeting. If everyone meets in person, there is far less chance of miscommunication. This will also ease the stress on whoever is "taking the wheel" of the road trip planning.

But Remember, this is the very minimum you have to do. For more tips on how to maximize your trip, visit the Tips and Safety page.