Cross country driving is becoming increasingly popular, even with the rise in gas prices. As air travel gets more expensive and becomes more of a hassle, many are discovering that taking your own vehicle on a road trip can actually be cheaper and more enjoyable.
Besides, taking your own car offers more freedom, saves money, and helps you avoid all the fuss with baggage checks, security screenings, flight delays, airport parking, and all the other unpleasing hassles that flying comes with.
In most cases, the journey can become part of your vacation, as long as you use proper planning. We live in a great big beautiful country with tons of free stuff to enjoy. Why not take advantage?
Proper Planning For A Cross Country Driving Trip
Most people who decide to venture out on a cross-country trip don’t adequately plan their route. Being prepared for your adventure could save you lots of time, money, and frustration. By planning properly, you can make the most out of your time on the wide and open road.
There are several things to consider when you’re planning a cross-country road trip. Scroll on the links below to see how prepared you are. When it comes to long-distance travel, it’s always much better to be overly prepared, than not prepared enough!
Traveling With Your Dog
Bark…bark…wag…wag…smile! Let’s go! Your dog is ready for a road trip. He loves the thrill of riding in the car, smelling new scents, visiting new areas and above all, spending time with his human or the family. Preparing for the road trip is an important part of enjoying a pleasant and memorable outing. Some simple steps will ensure a safe, happy trip and keep the smiles coming and the tails wagging. Some advance planning and preparation will make it a smooth and enjoyable trip for all. The first step involves a visit to the veterinarian. It is important to be sure Buddy is in the best shape for traveling and vaccinations are current.
Preparing Your Vehicle
Your cross country trip doesn’t go smoothly unless your vehicle is properly prepared. There is no greater buzz kill than sitting on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck, watching all the other cars fly by at 65mph cruising along to their destination. Most of the time, those who end up broken down during a road trip could have avoided the situation altogether. When preparing your vehicle for a road trip, most preparations can be done by anyone and no screwdrivers or oil pans are required. Just by taking some super fast and easy steps, you could save yourself a lot of time, money, and even a ruined vacation.
Plan Ahead To Save Money
Sometimes, it’s fun to just “wing it” on a road trip. But planning ahead for your driving vacation could keep more money in your pocket so you can have more fun at the destination. For instance, many drivers on cross country road trips only fill up when the gas tank gets low. But what if you were able to map out the cheapest places to stop for gas instead of simply filling up when you have no choice? It’s saves a ton of dough! Also, making hotel reservations online can often be much cheaper than paying after simply showing up. Don’t want to pay for greasy fast food on the go? Pack a lunch! Not only will this save you money, but it’ll be much healthier and help keep you alert and awake while driving.
Packing For Road Trips
Most people don’t give much thought to how to pack for road trips. This can be a grave mistake! Imagine you get a flat tire. It’s raining outside but your raincoat is packed in a suitcase under 4 other suitcases. Your spare tire is covered by a cooler and kids’ toys. Your tools are in the car top carrier, the flashlight is buried in the trunk, and the jack to raise your vehicle is nowhere to be found. You’re already feeling aggravated and now the wife is upset, the kids are crying, and the dog is barking. A simple 15-minute tire change just turned into a nightmare! Don’t let improper packing ruin your next road trip!
Cross Country Trip Routing
With GPS devices and Google Maps, cross country trip planning has become a breeze. Unfortunately, there are some things that your GPS device and Google Maps can’t compete with, and that’s good ol’ fashion trip planning the time-consuming way. Why would you want to plan your road trip in a time consuming way? Because it’s part of the fun, silly! Millions of road trippers miss incredible places located only a few miles and sometimes, only a few feet from the expressway. A quick 10 minute stop to take in the sights could be a life-changing experience. There’s a great saying, “getting there is half the fun!” Well, so is planning the trip.
Plan out all your stops, research what worthwhile sites are in and around the area, and set aside time to go visit each one. While you’re at it, you can also lookup restaurants and cafes that you and your travel buddies can visit for a quick bite.
Give yourself something to look forward to!
Road Trip Games
One word scares many parents out of taking a cross country road trip… Kids. While most grown adults are able to sit still for long periods of time (with some serious exceptions), it is much more difficult to keep children occupied during a road trip. If you’re lucky enough to have those little flat screen TV’s for them, you’re already 3/4 of the way there. But eventually, even Disney movies get boring. That’s when you break out the surprise game! Until that gets boring, at which point, you bring out the next surprise game! Rinse and repeat as much as necessary. We’ve got enough ideas here to last you at least 6 to 8 hours. Beyond that, you’re on your own!
Customize a Road Trip Playlist
If you’ve ever wanted to experience those cinematic road trip montages they show you in the movies, then this is your chance! Pick out all of your favorite music and categorize them into different folders and play them during your trip.
If you’re using Spotify, you can download your playlist for offline listening, so you won’t have to worry about dead spots while on the road. Alternatively, you can also buy a CD of your favorite album or even make a cassette like in the time of the dinosaurs. (Just make sure to bring a CD or cassette player with you because I’m not sure most cars come with those features anymore.)
Customizing playlists isn’t for everyone. Some people might find the task of segregating music too tedious and unnecessary. If you’re one of those people, no need to fret — Spotify has a variety of pre-made playlists that you can simply follow and download at your convenience. You can also download an audiobook or podcast if music isn’t your thing or if you simply want to add variety to the things you listen to during your trip.
Get The Most Out Of Your Road Trip
A cross country road trip shouldn’t be about making the fewest stops and driving as fast as possible. While the destination may be the ultimate highlight of your cross country vacation, it doesn’t have to be the only highlight. Too many people forgot what road trips are all about. I am amazed at how many people drive right on by historical land markers and scenic overlooks. The world is in such a hurry these days. Ever see those “tourist centers” at state lines? Ever stop in one? You should! Most of the people working in those tourist areas can tell you about some amazing things right along your trip. Whether you want to see the worlds biggest thermometer, tour some caves, or do some shopping, it doesn’t matter. The folks who staff the tourist centers are normally retired state workers and can give you the scoop.
Road Trips For Togetherness
Most importantly, a road trip is about being forced into a tiny vehicle with the ones you tolerate. Oh wait, no, that didn’t sound right. What I meant to say is, road trips are about being with the ones you love. Nothing sparks conversation and openness than being in a car for hours on end. Enjoy it! Talk to each other, swap stories, and remember good times you had on your last vacation. Road trips are what you make of them. It can be a boring, miserable experience that you are forced to endure because plane tickets cost too much, or you can make it one of the most enjoyable days of the year. What you choose the latter, you’ll become addicted to cross country road trips.
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