How to Take a Road Trip Across the United States. Whether you suffer from wanderlust or you’re simply adventurous, a road trip across the US will satisfy your hunger for miles and new places. With the country being so huge, you can expect nearly anything from your trip. However, if you want to avoid some less than welcome surprises, thorough preparation and careful planning are crucial. Take a look at these tips on making your road trip across the States a great one.
You can’t expect to see the whole country in just one trip, so just opt for one part of it and create a route that suits you. Choose to go north and visit Yellowstone or Niagara Falls, or go south to see Florida, Texas and Saguaro National Park, but make sure you know exactly where you’re going and what you want to see there. As each state has a lot to offer, pick the exact sights you want to visit and calculate the distances between them, so that you don’t have to spend more than four hours driving at a time.
Servicing your car is the first thing you should do before going on any road trip, especially one this big. You might be able to check the oil and other liquids yourself, see if your windshield wipers are working properly or if your tires are still good, but taking your car to a professional mechanic is still the safest option. You might want to inspect your spare tire, since it could be a lifesaver on the road. Another essential is the first aid kit, so don’t even think about leaving without it.
Today, one just has to have access to the internet. It has a vast number of uses, but some of the most important things you do when it comes to the web include: booking accommodation, checking traffic on the road, maps, and emergency information. Also, there is that new saying “Insta or it didn’t happen” – social media has become an essential part of our travels. A great way to ensure you have internet access, if you are not from the US, is to count on the good old AT&T store locator to find their nearest store, and buy a sim card with a good internet plan. Relying on Wi-Fi on the road just isn’t gonna cut it. This is one of the cheapest and fuss-free ways to make sure you satisfy those internet cravings.
Before packing your clothes, you need to decide if you’re going to do your laundry along the way, or if you’ll simply pack enough for your whole trip. Washing your clothes by hand or using laundry services in the towns you pass through could be a good idea. Having less luggage means a lighter car, which can save you some gas money. Check the weather forecast before packing, so that you know what kind of clothes you’ll need, but still try to be prepared for any temperature or weather condition. A warm jacket and comfortable shoes are a good place to start, but you could also bring a good sweater, a hat for sun protection, a swimsuit, just in case, and an umbrella or a raincoat.
Your driving license, car registration and proof of insurance are the three things you shouldn’t even start your car without. You may not have to bring your passport, but you can, just to be on the safe side. Keep your credit cards in your wallet, but you could make copies of them, as well as of your passport, ID card and other important documents. If you lose any of them, you’ll be grateful for the information on those copies, so definitely pack them separately from the originals. Have a list of important phone numbers in your phone, but also on paper, so that you have a backup plan in case your phone stops working. These numbers should include road assistance, your insurance company, or, if you rented a car, the number of the rental agency.
Once you choose the route, you’ll know exactly which states, cities and towns you’ll be going through. This is when you should do some online research and find the hotels or motels you’ll want to stay in, or even restaurants where you’ll eat. Look for places with good reviews and affordable prices. Before you go, book your rooms, so that you don’t find yourself wandering around some town in the middle of the night, just to learn that there are no vacancies in any of the hotels there. Also, print all your reservations to avoid any discussions with managers or receptionists who can’t find your reservation.
You don’t have to pack your whole fridge. You’ll find grocery stores along the way and buy what you need, but you should have at least some snacks in your car. Some fruit, a bag or two of nuts or some graham crackers will help with hunger, but also keep you healthier while traveling. Plus, always have several bottles of water with you. You never know what could happen. If you get stuck in a traffic jam on a hot day, you’ll be grateful for every drop of water you have.
The final tip would be to enjoy each moment of your trip and to make some good memories to last until your next one.
Guest Post by Luke Douglas