Tips for Planning a Cross Country Road Trip


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There’s nothing more freeing than embracing the open road and watching the sunset in your rearview mirror. An American cross-country road trip should be on everyone’s bucket list, whether you’re a citizen or a tourist visiting from afar. Road trips are unique in that they give you a better understanding of what America is truly about. You’ll meet people from all walks of life and will gain a deeper appreciation for the freedoms and values we all share. However, planning a cross country road trip is no easy task. That’s where we come in to help. Below, we provide our best tips for planning a cross country road trip that will make your journey one to remember.

Invest in a Reliable Car

Before you go anywhere, you’re going to need a reliable car. Unless you plan on trying to cross the country on foot like Forrest Gump, a car will come in handy. Depending on your style and finances, you can go to a Mercedes-Benz dealer in Houston and drive in luxury, or err on the more affordable side and go to a Ford dealer in Dallas. Wherever you are, going to a dealer will ensure you have the most reliable car possible.

However, embarking on a cross country road trip doesn’t mean you need to spend all your savings on a new car. The car you have now may be in perfect condition, or may need a few repairs, to make the journey across the country. And if you do need a more reliable car, you can always rent a car, or purchase a used car that’s in good condition. 

Plan a Route

The next step to planning a cross country road trip is creating an itinerary and mapping out the route you plan on taking. If you’re traveling by yourself with your pet, or with friends or family, it’s important that everyone has a say in where they’d like to stop along the way. Sure, it’s most likely not feasible to hit every major destination in the United States but creating a precise map will allow you to visualize which areas can be visited and which ones are entirely out of the way.

There are numerous road trip itinerary apps that will help you create the perfect map for you and your passengers to follow. But, make sure you leave some wiggle room. You never know when unexpected detours may divert you off your path, or whether a local will recommend an attraction that you must see!

Set a Budget

Knowing how much money you’ll need to get you through your weeks, or month-long journey is imperative. The last thing you want is to make it halfway through your trip realizing you have no money left for food, gas, and lodging. It’s best to begin saving money for your cross country road trip as soon as possible. This way, you’ll be able to afford a comfortable journey with no stress weighing you down. Below are some finances you should stay aware of as you plan your excursion:

  • Gas
  • Lodging for hotels, Airbnbs, campsites, etc.
  • Food
  • Entertainment, such as entry fees to museums and national parks
  • Maintenance repair costs (you never know when something will happen to your car)
  • Spending cash

Additionally, don’t forget about expenses waiting for you at home. Unfortunately, student loan payments, mortgage payments, and other loan payments won’t go away when you do. So, plan according and create a budget and factor these expenses are accounted for.

Bring Entertainment

As you travel from the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean to the evergreen forests of New England and stop everywhere in between, there’s going to be a lot to see. However, some areas of the country, such as the Sunbelt, are filled with endless rows of corn and other agricultural products. It’s during these times, and stop-and-go traffic, where entertainment will keep you and your passengers sane. If you’re making your cross country road trip in an RV, you’ll have plenty of room to stock up on board games and movies.

However, if you’re traveling by car, you may not have as much room for games or technological features to make the time go by faster. In this case, investing in a Bluetooth aux port will be heaven-sent. With a Bluetooth aux port, you’ll be able to connect anyone’s mobile device to your radio so that you can listen to your favorite tunes, podcasts, and radio shows.

Time to Hit the Road

Now that your travel bags are packed and ready to go, it’s time to gather your crew and hit the road. The key to planning a successful cross-country road trip is to stay extra prepared. So, pack extra snacks, a car emergency kit, and plenty of entertainment items. With these tips in mind, from finding a reliable car to planning a budget, you’ll be on the road in no time.


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