Image from Wikimedia
America is a massive country with a vast amount of diversity – both in its different cultures and the raw geography. Visiting a few different cities can blow your mind, but for some travellers that’s simply not enough. To make sure you have the freedom to soak in as much as possible, I recommend a road trip. These are more flexible and in a lot of cases much more enjoyable than your standard American vacation. Here’s how to get the most from yours.
First of all, set a plan of the things you want to see, but don’t make this plan too rigid. Odds are you have a time limit on your road trip. Because of this, it’s a good idea to know which city or town you’re going to be sleeping in on which night. Try to keep your driving time under 8 hours per day, but aside from that keep your mind open. No matter which state you happen to be ploughing through, you’re bound to see little roadside curiosities. These will draw you in and give you some great memories. Research the areas you’ll cross, of course, but don’t trust the tourist guides too much.
Image from Wikimedia
Another big pointer is to pack light. This will make your first few days of travelling more convenient and smooth, but also leave you a lot of room to collect. Believe me, you’ll need it! Sending all the things you want to take home with you can be very expensive. Wouldn’t it be a disappointment to find an awesome mounted alligator head in Florida, or a hand-woven Apache rug in New Mexico, and not have the space to bring it home with you? Remember that all this space won’t be used if you don’t bring a proper road trip attitude. You’ll find that America is full of strange signs. When you see “Smallest Bowling Alley On Earth” or “World’s Largest Artichoke”, don’t just point and giggle, investigate!
Get as much fun as you can out of your trip, but remember to stay safe during the process. Road trips are about being wild and free, but keep some channel of communication with the outside world. Text a trusted friend or your parents daily to let them know where you are and where your next planned destination is. The general rule in America is you’ll only have a real tragedy on your hands if your group are all smoking hot and in their early twenties. Still, better safe than sorry. In the very rare event that something bad happens, it’s best to have someone with a rough idea of where you are. Keep a good stock of medicine and first aid supplies too.
By keeping these tips in mind, your road trip’s bound to be one to remember. If you’re not used to this kind of travelling, the lack of structure can feel a bit daunting. Embrace that sense of chaos. Let loose, keep an open mind, and let your trip go wherever your whims take you. As a final tip, remember to take pictures!