Road tripping is one of the great American traditions and though in other countries it would just be a heck of a long drive, in the USA, it is somehow transformed into something magical - a journey that really takes you somewhere.
From the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to New York or from the freezing Great Lakes down to the heat of New Orleans, there is plenty to see and plenty to do. Of course, the most famous road trip is Route 66 - you can start from Chicago, Illinois and end in Santa Monica, California.
Let’s get the boring, practical stuff out of the way first. You will need to make sure that your vehicle is road trip ready with a quick visit to a mechanic who can assure you that the car will be fine. You don’t want to end up stuck in the middle of nowhere with a silly error that could have been avoided!
You should also make sure that you personally are safe to drive. This means that you should either make sure that you have enough rest stops or that you share the driving between you and your friends. The road might be long, straight and quiet, but you don’t want to be calling accident lawyers in the middle of your trip.
Plan Activities Along Your Route
Route planning is a lot of fun and the more you can cram into your trip the better. If you can, try to arrange your trip so that there are interesting things to see and do at every rest stop. This means searching for attractions along the way, not just focusing on what you can do when you reach your final destination. Google Maps is ideal for this.
Fortunately, because Americans love road trips so much, there are lots of cafes, bars and hostels that cater to travellers and will be able to point you in the direction of a nice cold drink. As you plan, make a note of the addresses you plan to visit and let someone who is not coming with you know where you will be (just in case).
Pack the Car Right
Figuring out what to take on a road trip is a bit more complicated than your average holiday. While you won’t be sleeping in the car (unless you have a van), you will still be spending a lot of time in it and will require some basics like food, drinks and entertainment as you drive. Cars with bigger trunks are usually better for road trips as you will be able to fit more stuff out of the way so you have more room to spread out as you drive.
Make sure that you have plenty of water for each person in the car itself as well as the classic sweets in the glove box. You should also have a few creature comforts and passengers might like to have a neck pillow if they want to sleep. If you aren’t on a route with a lot of hostels or you want to do something a bit different, make sure you pack a suitable tent.