Taking a cross-country road trip is a unique way of exploring the United States. Slow down and take time to experience the various iconic sites as well as multiple hidden gems only accessible when on a road trip.
A cross-country road trip is a great way of traveling a long distance while seeing the sights out the window rather than being stuck in a cramped airplane seat. These types of trips are perfect for spending part of the day driving and then making time for some pit stops along the way. Part of the experience of a cross-country road trip is seeing the sights along the way and enjoying the trip, not so much driving nonstop. Nonetheless, stopping and getting enough sleep to recharge your energy is essential.
Among things you need for a good cross-country road trip, you’ll want to make sure you have enough snacks for the drive, as well as good entertainment and excellent company. Before leaving on your road trip, make sure you have all the necessary documents with you, like insurance and registration papers, as well as a vehicle with a full tank of gas that has been recently serviced. You can also check out our blog post on guide to road trips to help you prepare better.
Plan a route
To begin planning a cross-country road trip, you’ll want to have an idea of where you’re starting and where you’ll be ending up. Use Google Maps to plan your road trip route and also save points of interest/restaurants along the way. Be realistic with the hours you want to drive per day, and research stopping points along the way. Nonetheless, keep your schedule flexible; you never know what you’re going to find between point A and point B. With a general idea of how much you wish to drive per day you can figure how many days it can take to get to your destination, and the cities or towns where you can stay the night. Consider taking a route off the main highways and interstates and exploring some of the back roads as well.
Set a timetable
Driving across the United States can be done in two or three days if you plan on non-stop travel, but where’s the fun in that? In addition, it can be dangerous to drive so many hours without taking breaks. Ideally, a cross-country road trip in the United States can be done in a few weeks. This amount of time gives you enough margin to stop where you want to stop and not push the drivers too hard.
Look for sightseeing stops along the way
For instance, say you want to make the drive from Los Angeles, CA to New York City. These cities are about 3,550 miles apart and the route can require more than 50 hours of driving, but there is so much to see in between. On this cross-country road trip, you could drive through some amazing national parks like Zion and Grand Canyon, as well as Monument Valley. From there, travelers can follow the famous Route 66, stopping in Albuquerque, NM and making pit stops at places like Cadillac Ranch or the Springfield Car Museum. After going through Memphis and Nashville for some great music, road trippers will make it to the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Soon enough you can see the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., and last but not least, the New York City skyline.
One last tip: Don’t rush your cross-country road trip and be realistic with how much you can see and drive without being overwhelmed.