2024 Total Solar Eclipse Trip Tips



If you are traveling for the eclipse, or even staying close to home, here are some tips to help you make the most of this magical event:

  • Watch the weather forecast. If you aren't already doing so, start checking the weather forecast for your destination. As of right now, large parts of Texas look like they may be in danger of getting rained out, while the North-East looks more promising. Forecasts can change rapidly though, so check regularly, and check multiple sources. Remember too that even a cloudy sky can be a magical eclipse experience, and breaks in the clouds can always occur. 
  • Enjoy Other Activities. Even if the Eclipse is rained out, don't let it ruin your trip! Look for other places to visit and things to see and do in the city or region you're visiting, and all points in between.
  • Stay for the whole show. The total duration of the eclipse will be about 3 hours from first contact to last contact. Don't limit yourself to just experiencing the few minutes of totality. During the partial phases, look at the shadows on the ground and how they change. Bring something like a colander to view hundreds of little crescent shadows during the partial phases. Note too how the environment around you gradually changes as totality approaches.
  • Totality is more than just the Corona. During Totality, you can remove your eclipse glasses to view the Solar Corona. You may also see some other planets and bright stars nearby - look around and take in the full experience! Pay attention to the temperature, the animals, and how the whole environment changes. Don't forget to put your eclipse glasses back on as totality ends!
  • Arrive early, and be patient and prepared. There are tens of millions of people trying to enjoy this event, and many places are going to be entirely overwhelmed and beyond capacity. Many cities and towns have declared a state of emergency because of the expected influx of people. Be prepared for services and restaurants to be completely overwhelmed.
  • Roads will be packed! Be patient and prepared for complete gridlock. Fill up your gas tank or top up your EV before the event. You will also want to get where you want to be as early as possible. Traffic heading into Totality will likely be complete gridlock in many places the day of the eclipse. In 2017, once the Eclipse ended, 90% of people started flooding the roads to try to get home. Many gas stations ran out of fuel, and what might have normally been a 4 hour drive took more than 12 hours! Stay an extra day at your destination if you can.

Essentials to Pack

In addition to any other items you’d pack for a normal trip, here are a few specific items to take along. 

  • Sunglasses & Eclipse Glasses You’ll want both to make the most of the experience. You’ll need the eclipse glasses during the partial phases of the eclipse, to look periodically as the Moon slides in front of the Sun. You’ll also want sunglasses for other activities.
  • Sunblock: You’re going to be standing out under the hot Sun (we hope), and you don’t want to get burned. Apply sun screen early. It’s also a good idea to reapply after totality, as the Sun is again emerging from behind the Moon.
  • Hat: A baseball cap or any hat with a visor is a good idea.
  • Umbrella: Not just for rain. If there is no natural shade around, the shade under an umbrella can be a wonderful respite from the hot Sun. 
  • Camp Chairs & Blankets: Bring some camp chairs if your location allows. A blanket to lay out on the grass can also be nice. Make a picnic out of the event.
  • Cold Drinks in a Cooler If you are driving, put a cooler in the car, and pack it with lots of everyone’s favorite cold drinks and lots of extra water. Being outside in the Sun can dehydrate you and the kids quickly. Make sure everyone stays hydrated.
  • Meals & Snacks: Plan to see the full eclipse from the first contact through totality to last contact. The entire event lasts about 3 hours, and traffic will be gridlocked before and after. Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and pack a meal to two to keep your energy up. A total eclipse can be a very high energy, exciting experience.
  • Allergy and Prescription Medications: If you have allergies, it’s best to be prepared. Pack extra perscription medications in case you get stuck longer than expected. Of course, a first aid kit is always a good idea for any bumps and scrapes.
  • Blankets, Sleeping Bags, Emergency Supplies: In case you do get stuck, have the just in case items with you. Extra water and food, to be able to share with those less prepared, is also a great thing to be able to provide.

All of us at Mile High Astronomy wish you a wonderful, magical Total Solar Eclipse experience!