Cruisin’ to Concerts: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide to Music Festivals

Claire Grulick
| August 12, 2023 | 3 Minute Read
3 Hippie girls behind a vehicle with guitar.

Whether you're a seasoned festivalgoer or embarking on this adventure for the first time, this guide is here to help you plan an unforgettable journey. From choosing the perfect festival to mapping out your route, preparing your vehicle and packing all the essentials, we've got you covered.

Choose Your Music Festival

There are several factors that go into deciding which festival is worth your mileage (other than the headliners). Consider the entire distance there and back and ask yourself if you’re up for it before embarking. Think about what you’ll do with your car once you get there—check to see if there is parking offered on-site. And most importantly, don’t forget about your company. Really think about who you don’t mind sharing a car and hotel with for the entire festival. 

Driver on a windy road Prepare for your journey ahead of time to avoid any mix ups while on the road.

Map Your Route

Use a reliable mapping service or GPS navigation system to plan out the best route from your starting point to the festival location. Consider traffic conditions, road closures and alternative routes. Don’t forget to factor in rest stops, meal breaks and overnight stays if needed.

Did You Know? AAA offers members access to AAA TripTik for seamless route mapping that can include several stops, hotel recommendations and any changes in traffic patterns. Discover the AAA TripTik online or access it on the go from the AAA Mobile app. Members also have access to free TourBook Guides for insights on landmarks, must-try restaurants and more along their travel route.

Set a Budget

Unexpected expenses are bound to pop up when you’re on the road. Calculate the expected fuel costs, accommodations, meals, tickets, parking and festival merchandise. It's also wise to have some extra cash for emergencies.

Plan Any Accommodations

Ideally, you want where you stay to be as close to the festival venue as possible. This may include hotels and vacation rentals. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance to secure your spot. For the best-rated spots to stay and peace of mind, check out AAA Diamond Hotels for AAA-approved accommodations and save when you book with AAA Rates at preferred partners while earning hotel loyalty points.

Organize Your Vehicle

Arguably the most important step in any road trip is to ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Before your trip, check the tread and pressure of the tires. Take note of the condition of the brakes, fluid and overall maintenance. Also, have a spare tire, jumper cables and emergency road reflectors in case of an accident. 

Pack Safety Essentials

A must for every road trip is a car emergency kit! Here are some essentials to include in case of the unexpected happening: a first aid kit, a flashlight with spare batteries, a cellphone charger, a hard copy of emergency contact information, bottled water and non-perishable snacks, blankets and extra clothing, a paper map and extra cash.

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