Avoid Driving Over This Many Hours A Day While On A Road Trip, Per Samantha Brown

"It's not the destination, it's the journey." That famous quote probably wasn't inspired by road trips, but it could have been. Road trips are the perfect way to make travel memories, from the unique rest stops to the road trip games that'll keep your family busy. However, it's possible to have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to driving time. Just ask travel expert Samantha Brown.

Brown shared her best road trip tips in an article on her website, and one of her most critical pieces of advice is to limit how long you spend on the road each day. She wrote, "As a rule of thumb, I like to limit driving on a road trip to 2-3 hours a day, no more than 4 hours. I find that any longer, I'm not going to have a lot of time to do anything but drive." She added that hours spent sitting in car seats can also lead to aches and fatigue.

The "Samantha Brown's Places to Love" host noted in a Martha Stewart Living interview (via Brooks Group PR) that it's especially important to not drive too long when traveling with children. "With young children, I never drove more than four hours a day since the joy was the journey, not the destination," she revealed. Each day, Brown and her family prioritized one big, fun activity and a meal or two along their route.

How many hours you should drive, according to safety experts

Besides taking time to visit famous sites and relax at roadside restaurants, limiting how much you drive each day is crucial for safety. Driving too many hours in one day puts all road trip travelers at risk, especially if you don't have a driving partner to swap places with. With that said, regulations for professional drivers extend far beyond Samantha Brown's recommendations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), passenger-carrying drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving time after eight consecutive hours of rest. This can be extended by up to two hours if the driver encounters adverse driving conditions.

However, keep in mind that these lengthy driving shifts might not apply to you, unless you're highly experienced and confident behind the wheel. AAA spokesperson Aixa Diaz told USA Today that, when it comes to recommended driving times, it varies depending on the person. "We want to err on the side of safety. We want people to be safe on the roads and drive the speed limit and not rush it, but everybody's different," Diaz explained. If you feel fatigued or distracted, it's probably time to park the car and take a break.

Choose your road trip destination wisely

Assuming you have limited PTO or a similar cap on your vacation time, you'll want to keep your road trip manageable and realistic, especially if you'll only be driving a few hours each day. For instance, a cross-country trip from the East Coast to the West Coast in a week will feel rushed, and you'll likely end up spending more time behind the wheel than enjoying the attractions along the way. A shorter trip from the East Coast to, say, Chicago is much more doable.

Samantha Brown counted this as one of her top tips in her article. She explained that while road trips offer immense freedom — with only the ocean limiting your range — self-imposed limits can keep a road trip from becoming overwhelming. "The key to making a road trip fun is to make sure it's manageable," the travel guru shared. "Consider how much time you have and how long you realistically can be in a car before you get too fatigued to do much else. Then plan out your route from there."

If you have a specific destination in mind but it's a far drive away, consider flying in the direction of your end point, cutting out a portion of the journey. Then, rent a car from the airport to carry you the rest of the way. This allows you to take a road trip to a distant place without spending all your time stuck in a car.