Since the release of Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, most Americans have harboured a desire to drive at least some of their way around the country. What better way to get a feel for the most amazing sites? Sure, you could head off for a day, or even a weekend in the places you most want to visit. Heck, you could drive there if you wanted. But, it doesn’t quite have the same rustic and life-altering feel of a road trip.
There’s just something about life on the road which appeals to many of us, especially if we’re keen travelers. It’s a chance to experience each state in the most authentic way imaginable. Plus, a road trip like this would allow you to visit many destinations in one round trip.
Of course, hitting the road in this way requires a little more thought than, say, hopping on a flight. In fact, if you don’t plan every last aspect of your time on the road, you’ll fail to make the most of the experience. Which is why we’re going to take a look at a few of the considerations you may want to make before setting off.
A workable route?
The most crucial aspect of this trip is, of course, your route. And yet, this is the trickiest thing to get right. The primary challenge is just how much you need to consider here. For one, you need to think about your timescale. That involves plotting how long you want the vacation to be as a whole. Once you know that, you need to consider how many states you can cover in that time. So, it’s important to take time to research distances between states. You should know, too, how long each leg of your route will take you. Ideally, you won’t take any less than a week or two here. Otherwise, you wouldn’t manage to make it far.
It’s also important to consider a logical route. After all, there’s no point zigzagging across the country. Try to develop a plan which takes you in a straight line. It’s okay if you go off course by up to an hour, but anything more may not be worth your time. This is especially essential if you want to make the most of a short amount of time. You may have to let go of some plans you care a lot about, but accept that you can’t tackle everything in one trip.
Lastly, consider whether you’re going to drive in a circle, or catch a flight to a destination, and drive from there. Driving in a circle could be a good idea if the states you wish to see are scattered, but it’s sure to take longer. Flying to a set destination, however, allows you go head further out in a shorter time. You could do this and turn to an interstate car transport company who can drop your car at your chosen destination. Or, you might want to hire a car in your chosen destination. Bear in mind, though, that this would involve needing to work out how to get said vehicle back in the end.
Where are your stopping points?
Once you have a decent road trip plan in place, it’s time to consider where you’ll be stopping along the way. As this is a once in a lifetime experience, it’s essential to consider this carefully. If you’ve followed the above points as you should, you’ll already have some ideas here. But, to ensure your trip is productive, it’s essential you know this for sure. This includes where you plan to stay overnight, and where you’ll stop during your days. At all times, you should refer to your timeline to ensure these stops fit within the frame available.
When it comes to your overnight stops, you’ll need to ensure you’re covering enough miles in the day beforehand. And, you can only guarantee that by working out which stops you’ll be making during the days. Ideally, those daytime stops will stay short. You certainly shouldn’t stop for any longer than an hour or two if you have a lot of destinations in mind. For areas you’d like to see a little more of, an overnight stop may be best. That way, you can explore for the evening, and see some sights in the morning, too.
Of course, the importance of all the above depends on how much you’re trying to fit in. A road trip with a lot of destinations will, obviously, be much harder to navigate. If you only have a few destinations in mind, you may even be able to stop for a whole day or more. If you find that you can’t fit everything in as it stands, you may need to make some compromises along the way. Don’t worry; you can always do this again at a later date.
What will you take with you?
Last on the planning list; you need to think about what you’ll take with you. This is crucial with any trip, but it has real prevalence with a road-based option. After all, you can’t leave your luggage in a hotel. You’ll need to take it right along with you. And, you’ll have limited space in which to do so. What’s more, the heavier your car is, the faster you’ll burn fuel. That would hardly be ideal when embarking on an extensive trip like this.
Which is why you should think hard about what you’re taking. Keep things to a minimum, and try not to take more than one hand luggage sized bag per person. Definitely avoid thinking that you can take what you want because you don’t have to pay a baggage allowance. The cost may not be as apparent, but you’ll pay for those extras.
What’s more, you need to make sure the car is comfortable. You are going to spend a long time there, after all. But, if the space is crowded, you’ll struggle to sit in there for hours each day!