Hey fellow travelers! Have you ever dreamed of spontaneously packing your bag, grabbing your car keys and drive to new horizons? How cool is it not too have to book any expensive train nor plane tickets and just feel totally free going on a road trip, with your best friends, singing in the car like crazy, windows wide open and wandering wherever the road leads you? Sounds pretty fun doesn’t it?
Here are 5 tips I have learned from my USA Road Trip, which will help you to plan a road trip.
Pick a route
Firstly, try to get together with your friends to discuss where you want to go on this road trip and how long you will be gone for. When you plan a road trip, you don’t have to pick a destination but rather a direction. From my experience, it is however easier if you have a few ideas of which place shall be your last stop, to ensure there are plenty of great activities and cities to visit on the way to your final destination. In our case, we had decided to rent a camping-car with my family in Los Angeles and decided to finish our road trip in San Francisco. As we had planed to spend 1 month on the road, instead of going straight from LA to SF we drove down to San Diego and then went to each and every single stunning National Parks in Arizona, Utah, Nevada and then headed back to California.
Find a place to stay at night
If you are traveling with a car, although the idea of sleeping in the car sounds attractive to adventurous souls, it is not really comfortable and can be dangerous too. Thus, one of my best tips to plan a road trip with a car, if you have a tight budget, is to skip the expense of a hotel and find out if you or your friends have some long lost relatives living along your chosen route. However, if you travel with a camping-car like we did, then you can just give a call on the same day to a beautiful campground which will be near to your following day activities. I unfortunately cannot recall the names of all the campgrounds we have spent nights at, however I will never forget how I felt when waking up every day with a different view, whether it was when we stopped at a campground near the Canyon Lake in Arizona, the Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah or falling asleep under the stars at the Natural Bridges National Monument in South East Utah.
Make a list of things to do at each stop
Once we had picked a route and organized our lodgings, it was time to figure out what we wanted to see. In our case it was pretty clear as we wanted to discover all the National Parks in the 4 states we went to and do some walking, kayak and other fun activities. At the time we were using printed itineraries and were trying to get mobile phone signals, which truly was a real challenge as most of the places in Utah, Arizona and Nevada did not have any signal at all. But obviously, as we are now in 2016, depending where you travel, you will be able to google the top 10 activities to do in the place you are visiting directly on your mobile phone, so no need to print itineraries anymore. 😉
Pack only the Necessary
Packing the right things is important to plan a road trip but don’t panic, keep it simple. You are not going to a fashion show but to explore new places, thus only take the minimum in terms of clothes and maximum 2 pairs of comfortable flat shoes. I know, it is easier to say than to do as I personally took way too much stuff when I went to the US and ended up almost always wearing the same clothes. For more in depths packing tips and tricks, read my post on Packing Tips here.
Last but not least, Enjoy the ride!
Now, although we were well prepared, we quickly realized that no matter how much we had planned our road trip, there was always something that did not go as we had thought it would. Chances are this might happen to you too and there is nothing more normal than that when on the road with your friends. It is actually the fun part of planning a road trip because in the end, these unwanted events become your best memories! So when you plan a road trip, (speaking from experience…) if your plans are changing last minute, because you got into a big fight with your friend who was driving and who accidentally exploded one tire (if not two!) in the middle of a national park, when it is about to close and it is pouring rain… Smile, walk to the nearest SOS Phone Station and remember that this is part of the journey! 🙂
That’s about it, you are now ready to jump in your car/camping-car and drive to your new adventure. There’s a lot to discover in this world and I hope your future road trip will be as fun and adventurous as our was on the West Coast!
Want to discover more pictures of my amazing road trip in the USA? Click here! 🙂
Have you experienced any funny situation during a road trip? Share it here with us under the comments section!