It’s everyone’s lifetime ambition, but is planning a road trip around the USA easier said than done? When you get down to the nitty gritty it’s really not as easy as landing at LAX and jumping into a hire car with your mates. You really need to plan every step of the journey, get your visa sorted, buy insurance, and check accommodation rates. I reckon you need a year minimum to plan it properly, and to make sure your group knows the itinerary and what they all need to do before travelling. Here are some top tips for planning your dream road trip.
- Book your car hire from the UK
It’s so much cheaper to book it from home that to wait until your Stateside. You might think it’ll be awkward or confusing but it’s easy to compare car rentals online and make your reservation from the UK. With US hire companies they don’t advertise taxes or insurance so you’ll be left with a huge bill double the cost of what you thought you’ll be paying. With UK sites they include everything in your quote so you have a clear understanding from the offset what you’ll be paying. Explore your options online with this eDreams promo code for a further discount.
- Make a plan, but not a firm one
Plot out an itinerary amongst yourselves. Start with the date and location of where you land and the date you need to be back for your departing flight home. Next, pinpoint exactly where you’ll sleep each night and then work out the driving time to each location. So each day you wake up you know where you’ll end up at the end of the day. It’s wise to limit driving hours to under eight per day. Even have a few days not driving so you can all relax. Then what happens in between is up to you – those are the moments that make the trip more memorable.
- Bring back up for the Sat Nav
Your hire car will probably be kitted out with the latest Sat Nav, but it’s cool to go back to the old paper road maps. Take one with you and have someone plot your destinations and draw with a marker your progress so far. It’s a great memento to have at the end of your trip.
- Anticipate trouble spots
It’s best to time big stretches of your journey to coincide with working hours – you don’t want to be stuck on a motorway at rush hour or heading into a city at 5pm on a Friday of a public holiday weekend. Be clever about it.
- Pack light
This advice will be hard for the ladies to take in, but it’s an absolute must and the best advice I can give – pack lightly. You really don’t need those heels or bags for the Nevada desert. Things like toiletries, socks and clothes are cheap in America from stores like Target or Walmart so don’t waste your luggage allowance by bringing everything in your wardrobe. Plus you’ll want to bring back some authentic souvenirs and stuff for yourself. Don’t be disappointed because you can’t fit anything else in your case.
- Carry cash for tolls
Toll roads can pop up in the most bizarre of places, and their fares might be higher than you expect. Make sure everyone chips in and you carry at around $50 in loose change for the toll booths. You don’t want to go home to a pile of fines from the roads department.
- Ask a local where to eat
It’s the same everywhere, the locals know the best places to go for cocktails and a meal better than TripAdvisor. They usually can direct you to a tastier and cheaper dinner with a better atmosphere. So find a local and get some advice from them rather than reaching out to review sites.