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How to Plan an Epic Cross-Country Road Trip


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Are you looking for a way to adventure and escape the usual routine? Do you want to create an experience with you and your family/friends that you’ll never forget? If so, then you need to schedule a cross-country road trip.

Doing so can help you create a vacation getaway unlike any other. It will include multiple stops, sights, and sounds, rather than just flying to one location. However, the success of your trip rides on how well you plan.

See below for an in-depth guide on several practical tips that you can use to create the awesome cross-country trip you’ve always wanted.

1. Establish a Firm Headcount

You will have to account for everyone that comes with you on this trip. The more people that you have, the more that you’ll need to plan.

Perhaps you’re a dad or mom that’s wanting to take a memorable trip with your spouse and children. Maybe you and your friends are wanting to take a trip to do something random and exciting.

Whatever the case might be, we recommend getting a firm headcount right away. Don’t let people make you a victim of hope. Give them a cutoff day to say whether they’re in or out.

You’ll also have to factor in any animals that you want to take with you. Pet safety should be your number one priority while you’re on the road with your pup. Make sure they’ve got everything that they will need.

Once you have a firm headcount, you can start your planning. You can pinpoint how many rest stops you’ll take, the cities people want to hit on the way, the end location that you want to arrive at, how many people can take shifts driving, and so forth.

Start a group text with everyone that’s coming so that you can all be on the same page when it comes to planning your trip.

2. Hammer Out the Details

Here’s the thought process you should have while planning your trip: be as prepared as possible to limit the number of surprises on the open road.

First, start by deciding what vehicle you’ll be taking for your cross-country road trip. Which car seats everyone comfortably? If there are too many people, then consider adding a second car.

Now that you’ve chosen the vehicle you’ll drive, you need to make sure that thing is ready for the long road ahead (pun intended!). Schedule a time to drop it off at your trusted auto shop to have the tires rotated, oil changed, and everything else checked on.

Once you have your end destination in mind, start to factor in the time that it will take to get there. We recommend driving no more than 8 or 10 hours a day. Remember, you want to enjoy the trip, not just long for the end destination.

What will you be doing once you get to your end destination? Does it require extra cargo space? If so, then you might consider renting a trailer that you can hitch to the back of your car.

3. Make the Entire Trip Enjoyable

This is the area in which most road trips fall short. Instead of focusing on the entire trip, most people just plan for an end location, then driving as long as it takes to get there.

But what’s the point of a road trip if you don’t enjoy the road. You need to ensure that the ride itself is going to be enjoyable for everyone.

First, start by looking at the route you’ll be taking, then finding a couple of cool places to stop along the way. Decide whether you’ll stay the night there or just spend an hour or two at a local spot.

Next, make sure to make an awesome playlist and have some movies handy for the passengers to watch. It never hurts to listen to a podcast or bring a good book as well.

4. Create a Packing List

Once you’re on the road, there’s no turning back! Make sure that you have everything that you need for your trip packed and ready to go.

Start by gathering things such as:

  • Clothes, toiletries, and essentials for each traveler
  • Cooler to store snacks and drinks for the drive
  • Pillow and blanket for each person
  • First aid kit
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Car chargers for the number of travelers (or number of USB ports in the car)
  • Bluetooth speaker (for inside or outside the car)

Start by writing down a list of things you intend on bringing. Double-check with your other travelers to see if there’s anything you forgot. You can then use that list as a checklist when you go pack the car.

5. Consider the Weather

Road trip safety is important. We understand that you might feel bottled up from a long winter indoors, but you should hold off on the trip until the roads are safe.

Always, always, always check the weather before you head out. While you may have planned to stop at one city for the night, it makes sense to stop earlier if there’s a huge storm awaiting you. Best to get some sleep and let it pass.

Lastly, pack according to the weather you’re anticipating. If you’re making your way down south to hit up a beach, then pack beach gear for sure, but don’t forget a jacket as well.

Plan Your Cross-Country Road Trip Today

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on how to plan the ultimate cross-country road trip for you and your friends, be sure to use this article to your advantage.

Remember, start by determining where you’d like to go. Once you have that, you can make all of the other plans around it.

Be sure to browse our website for more articles on planning a cross-country trip, as well as many other helpful topics you’ll love.




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