America is a fun country to explore by car. You’ll find everything from the glamour of Beverly Hills to the frenetic pace of New York City to the charming small towns that dot the Midwest. And, of course, you’ll also have more than 420 national parks that you can visit, as well as state parks, beaches and deserts. For the most part, your biggest issue when planning a USA road trip will be narrowing down the sites that you’ll want to visit. Still, before you hit the road, you’ll want to check out these five tips that will help make your cross-country trip a successful one.
1. Make Reservations in Advance for Popular Sites
Many of the popular spots in the USA can book up months in advance. For example, if you want to stay at a campsite or hotel in Yellowstone Park, you may have to make your reservation a year in advance. Disney World tickets for popular dates can also book up months in advance. In addition, some national parks — such as Yosemite and Glacier National Parks — are also limiting the number of visitors that can enter on a daily basis by requiring advanced reservations. These requirements can change suddenly, so always check a park’s website for the most up-to-date information.
2. Don’t Let Your Gas Run Low
In many areas of America, you can travel for long distances without seeing a gas station and/or restaurants. So, if your gauge is on the low side, don’t take chances, especially if you’re out in the country or in the desert — fill up your tank. Oh, and while you’re at it, make sure to use the restroom and pick up some snacks for the road.
3. Don’t Be Overly Ambitious
America is vast. The distance between the east and west coast of the contiguous 48 states is approximately 3,000 miles; from north to south, about 1,600 miles. It’s an important factor to consider when planning your itinerary. Your destinations may not be as close as you think. You should also keep in mind that 15 miles on the traffic-choked streets of Los Angeles is going to take a lot longer than out in the middle of the desert. Also, make sure to leave time in your itinerary to stop at some of America’s quirky roadside attractions.
4. Be Prepared for Weather Extremes
If you’ll be traveling across the USA, be prepared for every type of weather. For example, if you’ll be traveling in March, you could run into a blizzard in Montana, a heat wave in California, or tornadoes in Texas. So, make sure to bring gear for all types of weather. Also take the time before you hit the road to check the weather forecast for your intended route.
5. Share Your Itinerary with Loved Ones
Road trips are fun. But they can also have those moments that make great stories later, but can be frightening while they’re occurring. Your rental car, for instance, could break down, or you could get into an accident. By sharing your itinerary with a loved one, they can keep track of your progress. And if you fail to reach a certain destination, they could alert the authorities that you are missing and could be in need of help.