Road trips are probably the best way to see a vast and diverse country like the United States. From National Parks to funky roadside attractions, road trips literally take you places you’ve never been before. And as the saying goes, "getting there is half the fun". Taking a road trip is a great way to spend time exploring the country, bonding with family or friends, and enjoying new experiences.
Plot a loose route. Have a sense of the main places you want to hit, and a rough idea of when you want to get there. Check mileages -- in the United States, places can be hundreds of miles apart in reality but look quite close on the map. Think about how long you can realistically drive per day.
Plan some meals. Make a note of some of the places you’ll eat along the way. For some great suggestions, go to roadfood.com or websites like yelp.com where locals can weigh in on the best food in their areas. Try to stick to a loose meal schedule so you’re not ravenous and looking for food along a stretch of road with nothing. When in doubt, you can always get a good variety of foods at grocery stores. If you have particular diet (vegan, gluten-free, etc.) grocery stores are often going to be your best choices.
Decide if you're going to cook. If you are going to be staying in one place for a few days, it might make sense to rent an apartment and cook for part of your time there. You will end up saving a lot of money on food, and can even prepare food for the next leg of driving.
Make some reservations. It’s fun to drive aimlessly sometimes and just find a hotel for the night, but it’s often hard to find the best lodging at the cheapest price if you don’t plan ahead. Sometimes you also get stuck going much farther than you had hoped because you can’t find lodging, or the lodging you find is not at all what you wanted. You certainly don’t need to plan every stop for every night of your trip -- think about planning one or two nights ahead if you like to keep things loose.
GETTING YOUR GEAR READY
1. Check your vehicle. Make sure your car, van, or recreational vehicle is in working order. Get it inspected shortly before your trip to ensure everything is in proper order and functioning appropriately. Make an appointment at your auto repair shop at least two weeks before you are due to leave -- sometimes there are more issues with your car than you realize and your mechanic will need more time to get your vehicle ready.
2. Pack your clothing. Check the weather forecast for the places you'll be visiting -- it might be much different than where you are and you need to be prepared. Pack clothing you can layer and pieces that can easily be worn together. Jeans, shorts, and t-shirts are typical road trip choices, since they are casual and comfortable for riding long distances in the car.
3. Get snacks together. Having food for snacks or if you can't find a meal when you need it is essential for any road trip. Some popular road trip food choices are:
4. Put perishable food in a collapsible cooler. Snacks like yogurt or dips need to be refrigerated (and go well with your other snack foods). And a cooler is the best way to make sure you always have access to cold beverages. Make sure to replenish your ice supply every morning to keep your food and drinks from sitting in a pool of warm water. of gas, it’s going to be easy to rack up reward and points and money off. Make sure you choose a gas card that’s going to be the most useful depending on your region -- check which gas stations are most common where you are going.
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