Hi, this is Michael. My brother recently asked for road trip advice for a week long summertime adventure from Denver to the Grand Canyon. Here is my modified response turned into a list since I figured it might be valuable content for anyone else interested in some domestic travel advice. Let me know if you have any other ideas 😁
Will you be camping? Bring lots of water.
Take lots of photos, external USB power supply, extra chargers for everything. Charge things whenever you stop and see power, or just have a USB 12V adapter or small inverter in the car.
Keep a journal.
Bring a headlamp.
Lots of water.
Download local Google Maps offline on your phone as well since there isn't always cell service.
Add an hour to whatever Google Maps says your ETA is, in order to account for traffic and fuel/bathroom stops and scenic areas and weather.
You can't have too much water.
Stay hydrated and plan stops for food. Meals are often forgotten.
Pre-make as much food as possible to fit in your cooler.
Pre-make and add creamer to coffee in your cooler in mason jars.
Sandwiches - quick and easy to make and don’t require much cleanup.
Lots of trail mix and dried fruits.
Peanut butter. It's hard to have too many calories since meals aren't regular.
Get snacks at grocery stores, not gas stations. Fuel is expensive enough, but gas station foods are insanely marked up and unhealthy.
If you stop for cold coffee, ask for low/no ice to get more caffeine per dollar.
You can't have too much water.
Get a roll of quarters for parking meters and single dollars for tipping.
If it's just a week then you probably don't need too many emergency supplies...
Cheapo knife (since you're flying) and duck tape and rope/paracord and maybe jumper cables.
Always park so the vehicle could be jump started just in case.
Lots of grocery bags for trash and wet things.
Erin’s piece of advice: pack pajamas that you can also wear during the day in front of other humans.
Shoes/boots that are practical for multiple situations.
Same for clothes, multiple uses. 1 pair of jeans + a single hoodie and/or light jacket/rain jacket.
Things to see...(this was about a specific destination so may not apply to everyone. Unless you’re also going to the Grand Canyon.)
Grand Canyon has multiple trails to go down. You can read about them ahead of time to pick one, but there are sometimes closures for maintenance and emergencies, so have a plan B.
Start hikes early in the day, and if you go down, remember it's much harder to hike back up with less water and more heat.
I think they had bear boxes in the campgrounds there, be smart about where you leave food. They had smart crows there that tore into dumb campers' foodstuffs.
It’s huge. The Grand Canyon is more massive and amazing than any pictures can communicate. It’s breathtaking and will change your life.
Ask questions and meet people. People are nice and most are always willing to help travelers.
Know where you are and what to do if there is an emergency.
I would recommend that you have AAA, but if it's just a week then it's not necessarily required.
Also specific to this trip: Google Maps route from Denver to the Grand Canyon might take you through Vegas?? Good buffet options there and some cheap hotels, very touristy and easy to waste money. Four Corners Monument is another option to stop at, although it's probably out of the way. Bryce Canyon National Park & Great Sand Dunes National Park are really cool options too, but national parks are costly and all deserve at the very least a full day to see, so not sure if you'll have time to see those.
That's all I could think of at the time of writing. This turned into a really long list whoops. Anything to add?