If you have always wanted to plan a US trip but never quite had the courage to go ahead with it, then you have to understand that you are not alone. So many people are in the same situation as you are right now, but there are things that you can do to try and make your trip easier and less stressful.
Do- Have a Rough Itinerary
You don’t need to plot out anything strict or rigid when you plan your trip, but you do need to have a rough itinerary as this will help you to plan out where you want to go and what you want to see. This will also help you to budget accordingly as well, so make sure that you keep that in mind. People often forget how big the United States actually is, and they also forget about how long it will take them to get from A to B.
Don’t- Get too Caught Up
If you plan too much, then you will have no way of being able to make a detour or any random stops that you may want to make at roadside attractions. You won’t be able to make any stops at souvenir shops either and this is the last thing that you want. Whatever itinerary you do come up with, try and make sure that you factor in some amount of flexibility as this will allow room for spontaneity in return.
Do- Get a Map
Leave Google behind. Even though the coverage in the US is very good, at times, you may find yourself in areas where you are unable to get coverage at all. In situations like this, you have to make sure that you have a real map to hand. This is very smart, and you may find that it saves you in your time of need. Carrying a physical map with you can feel old school too, not to mention that it can add to your travel experience.
Don’t- Wait until the Last Minute
If you hate planning, this is something that you are going to have to get over. Make sure that you do your homework in advance and also make sure that you take the time to book tickets. During the summer especially, a lot of national parks and even attractions will be crowded and busy. Sometimes you may not even be able to get booked in if you leave it too late, and this is the last thing that you want. If you are visiting the US from another country, it may be worth exploring the idea of a fast track ESTA.
Do- Plan some Quirky Attractions
When you choose to road trip across the United States, you need to know that it is okay for you to be a tourist. In fact, you should actually try if you can. If you are driving through the US then you need to make the journey fun. Take in all of the quirky attractions that are available on the roadside and take the time to just enjoy everything that is around you. If you are taking kids with you, going to quirky attractions may break up the trip for them too.
Don’t Drive During Rush Hour
You also need to try and avoid travelling during rush hour if you can. This is especially the case if you are arriving in, or leaving major cities. You need to avoid rush hour traffic because it will significantly increase your drive time and it will also cause you way more stress, which is something that you just don’t need.
Do- Visit National Parks
The US National Parks and the system they have is fantastic. They have done a great job at preserving wildlife and they also have some of the most unique landscapes around too. You have places such as the Grand Canyon and you also have the Zion National Park too. Although areas like this are often crowded, they are home to some of the most unique landscapes in the world. Places like this are popular and for a very good reason. If you can, you need to try and go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This will give you the best chance to see everything you need without the stress.
Don’t- Travel with Someone you Don’t Get on With
Travelling with someone on a road trip is very different to travelling with someone for days or even weeks on end. For this reason, you have to make sure that your travel buddy is someone you are actually able to get along with. You also get bonus points if you can make small talk easily and if you have a very similar taste in music, so keep that in mind if you want to have the best experience.
You will know a lot of your basic costs upfront. If you are renting a car or if you are pre-booking all of your accommodation, then you will need to put the time and work in to make sure that you know how much this is going to cost before you start booking. The last thing that you want to do is start booking everything, only to find that you can’t afford to book everything.
Don’t- Overestimate your Budget
The USA is not a cheap place for you to travel. It is usually cheaper for you to travel via a car as opposed to a plane but that being said, road tripping can go against the grain. Gas, accommodation and food can all be expensive. It’s helpful to set a budget for yourself and then take way extra than you think you need. You need to take a few hundred dollars extra so that you can make some spontaneous decisions and so that you can work with the budget you have with ease.
Do- Decide who is Going to Pay
If you are travelling with friends, then you have to make sure that you agree on everything before you leave. Are you going to take turns in paying for gas? Are you going to pool all of your money together? By exploring things like this, you can then be sure to make the most out of your experience in general.