Many people in the United States and, in fact, all across the world, still love the idea of taking a great American road trip. Of packing up the car or truck or even motorcycle and heading off into the great unknown. Who wouldn’t find that exciting? This is the traditional road trip to take, traveling from one side of the nation to the other, stopping along the way to enjoy all that each state or city has to offer. There aren’t many better rites of passage than this. So, if you want to enjoy the great American road trip, no matter where you actually live, there are a few things you should consider and plan for beforehand. After you’ve thought about these factors, you’ll be ready to go on the trip of a lifetime.
Get Your Documents Together
If you are an American and you intend to take this kind of road trip, whether it’s just going to take you a few days or whether you expect to be away from home for many weeks at a time, then you’ll need some documentation to take along with you. This will be in the form of your ID, such as your driving license, and it is also a good idea to take any documents relating to your car – insurance and ownership papers, for example – just in case you need them. In most cases, you’ll never need to show this information to anyone, but it’s better to have it with you just in case.
If you’re traveling from further afield and you need to fly into America to get your road trip started, then you’ll need some additional documentation. You’ll need your license and passport, of course, but as well as this, you’ll need to have organized your visa. You can do this at Official ESTA so that you’re legally able to be in the country. Then, once you arrive, you’ll need to ensure you have your rental car information with you when you are making your trip, again, just in case any official ever needs to see it.
Clean Your Vehicle
It may seem to be a small, even unimportant detail, and if you’re renting a car it’s a slightly different matter, but cleaning your vehicle before embarking on your trip is critical. Psychologically, it gets you ready for the journey ahead of you, ensuring that you are absolutely ready to begin.
Clean the car’s exterior so that you can begin your journey with a gleaming, new-looking vehicle. Then clean the interior as well. Make sure you get rid of all the garbage, old food wrappers, drink bottles, and anything else that has no place in your vehicle. You will be amazed at how much trash you can get out of one vehicle, most of which you hadn’t even realized was there. You should also clean every surface and vacuum it thoroughly.
When packing the car, only have the items you plan to bring with you, and you’ll have a less crowded vehicle and a less cluttered mind. Plus, with extra space, you’ll be able to add more mementos from your trip!
Examine Your Vehicle
Before you go on a possibly lengthy journey, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. If you know what you’re looking for, you can do it yourself; otherwise, it’s strongly advised that you take the car to a professional technician. Check the fluid levels in the vehicle, the tires, the brakes, the engine in general, and anything else that could create a problem for you when traveling a long distance. The last thing you want is for your vehicle to break down and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Pack a spare tire just in case, and keep an eye on the oil and water levels every time you stop.
It’s wise to become a member of a vehicle rescue organization as well. In this way, if something happens and the car does break down, at least you’ll be able to call on someone to help you and hopefully get your car fixed or towed to somewhere safe. Your vehicle may be in excellent condition, but anything can happen, and if you get stuck on a back road someplace with no passing cars or other kind of aid, you will require roadside rescue services. You can look at the prices and conclude that it’s an unnecessary expenditure because, ideally, you will not need to use it at all, but what if you do need it? It’s much better to spend the money and be safe.
Make A General Plan
You don’t have to have every single day precisely planned out – in fact, a road trip is probably better experienced with a fair amount of spontaneity – but it’s a good idea to have at least a rough schedule written out before you go. You may have delays due to weather or traffic, for example, so if you have a rigorous schedule, you are sure to have some issues – it may mean you have to miss out on some of the things you really wanted to see. That’s why it’s better to keep things loose and flowing in case of delays, diversions, or complete halts. You don’t want to have to cancel hotel bookings and try to book others at the last minute.
Always have a backup plan in place so that you can keep moving ahead even if your initial idea fails. Remember that just because you believed you were going to do this or that when you got there doesn’t mean you have to. If it doesn’t seem as interesting as you thought it would, or if you want to switch things up and try something else, go ahead and do it – this is your vacation.
Don’t Limit Your Travel To Highways
In general, using highways to travel from one location to another is the shortest and most direct method. When you’re on a road trip, though, speed isn’t always a priority. Unless you have a really tight schedule and need to be somewhere at a specific time, taking the smaller rural back roads is much more fascinating. You’ll see a lot more of the country this way, and you may even come upon something fascinating enough to stop and explore.
It’s important to double-check your map to verify that the back road you plan to travel is not a ‘blue highway’ (simply a road with a bunch of shops placed along the side – not particularly picturesque or mind-broadening). You’ll want to stick to the roads labeled as scenic routes. If you’re unsure, look it up online (assuming you have a good signal, of course).
Have A Variety Of Entertainment Options
You can’t ensure that the radio stations you’ll be able to pick up on a long drive will be interesting, so make sure you preload your cellphone with enough music, audiobooks, and podcasts to keep you entertained for the duration of your journey. You may also want to pack some movies and games on your tablet or smartphone, as well as a selection of books, so that when you do stop for the night, you can relax. If you have to depend on lousy cable channels and a weak TV signal for amusement and have no other options, it might be a very long night, and you won’t wake up feeling particularly refreshed, making the rest of the day unpleasant.
Also look in advance at any entertainment in the places you’re planning on stopping for the night. There might be clubs, cars, theaters, or special events that would be fun to go to. Checking in advance means that if you have to buy tickets, you can make sure you have them and enjoy yourself thoroughly.