For millions of travelers, it’s not about the destination — it’s about the journey.
The Great American Road Trip is a bucket list item for many, and with a couple of tips and tricks for how to plan a road trip, you’ll be on the road in no time.
Before getting behind the wheel, answer these questions.
- WHERE TO GO? Flexibility is a road trip perk — but plotting out your stops will give you an idea of how long your overall trip will take, and how long you’ll drive each day.
- WHO TO TRAVEL WITH? Who’s in the car can make or break a trip. Choose wisely.
- WHAT TO PACK? Pack light.
You don’t want to fight over leg room with a suitcase full of sandals.
- WHAT’S THE BUDGET? Gas. Food. Lodging. Tickets. Souvenirs. These are all things to consider.
- IS THE VEHICLE IN GOOD SHAPE? The best road trip car is a personal decision based off needs and preferences, but whatever you drive, get your vehicle checked out before you embark to ensure you don’t run into any mechanical
- IS THE VEHICLE INSURED? Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that you have all documents handy.
Additionally, consider getting extra coverage. Anything can happen on the road from breakdowns to medical emergencies.
Choose Your Destination(s).
There’s a whole world out there, but for the best road trips in the USA, you could take a weekend trip to the nearest beach or go the extra mile and see the whole country through a few famous routes.
- PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY. Also called “the 101,” this stretch of highway extends from Southern California to Washington State and passes through more breathtaking coastal scenery than anyone should be allowed to experience.
- THE LONELIEST ROAD. Following the old Pony Express route, this road from California to Maryland passes through 12 states and three mountain ranges. And that’s only the beginning.
- US 20. The longest highway in America, from Oregon to Massachusetts, goes through unique spots like ghost towns, Yellowstone, Carhenge and the Jell-O Museum.
Keep Yourself Occupied.
Whether you need audiobooks or games to pass the hours, there are many ways to stay entertained.
- ALPHABET GAMES. Use license plates, bumper stickers or billboards to start from A and end at Z.
- ROAD TRIP BINGO. Create bingo cards with things like seeing a mountain or having your picture taken in front of weird roadside monuments.
- 20 QUESTIONS. Use this classic format to learn more about your travel companions, or guess celebrities, occupations and more.
Don’t Forget the Essentials.
In addition to paperwork, water and comfortable clothes, consider these other road trip essentials.
- NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES. These can help you relax, sleep, or have “alone time.”
- SUNSCREEN. You’ll be getting sun from several different angles while driving. Make sure your skin is protected.
- HEALTHY SNACKS. The road is not known for healthy meals. Load up on fruits, veggies, nuts, and other whole foods that won’t leave you feeling blah.
- A SENSE OF HUMOR. Anything can happen on a road trip from inclement weather to seedy motel rooms. Understand that it’s all part of the journey and will make a great story later.
And, finally, the most important thing to remember — have fun!
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About the Author
Sven is a friendly puffin who's interested in two big things: coffee and travel. He loves sharing his adventures with readers.