Road trips are a great way to travel, especially here in the United States. Some have said that the East and West coasts are like two entirely different countries, and that’s very accurate. Experiencing both sides of the country is like learning about separate cultures and ways of life, but what’s thrown out there in the middle is even more intriguing. Within just one day of a road trip you can experience such a variety of landscapes and wildlife, all the things you’d miss if you took a plane.
People commonly get stuck in a bubble of familiarity, unable to see the bigger picture, but getting behind the wheel of a car and driving through a new world every day really opens your eyes to the things you’ve been missing out on. You meet people, see sights, try food and get to watch it all unravelling right in front of you. A road trip is an extremely beautiful experience, but it’s not all fun and games. If you see yourself planning to drive across the United States, you want to manage your expectations and go in prepared.
Pick Your Travel Friends Wisely
We all have those friends you can spend a lot of time with and those friends we can not spend a lot of time with…here’s some words of advice…DO NOT road trip with those friends you can not spend a lot of time with. You won’t be friends anymore by the time you reach the other side, guaranteed. Road trips call for a lot of quality time and team work. You need people you can work through conflict with and still enjoy your trip. You’re going to be having so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences and you really don’t want drama to get in the way of that.
Remember That a Road Trip Isn’t a “Vacation”
Road trips are rewarding, but they’re a ton of work. There won’t be much lounging by the pool with a drink in hand during a drive across the United States. You’re going to be occasionally tired and grumpy, but it’s all going to be worth it.
Don’t Rush Yourself
Give yourself enough time to get from “point A” to “point B” so you don’t sacrifice your experience. Don’t try to get to the other side in a set amount of days and give yourself the freedom to make extra stops while driving across.
Snacks are always important, but car snacks are essential. You probably want to stick with healthy snacks to keep your energy up while driving, which might seem boring, but you’ll be thankful for them 24 hours in when you’re struggling to keep going.
Depending on how many people you have in the car, try to split the driving evenly. If you drive too much, you’ll burn out. Never hesitate to ask to switch if you’re getting tired or just need a break from the action.
Pull Over and Stare at the Scenery
Scenic outlooks will become your best friend. Additionally, if you ever have the option to pull over (safely) and enjoy the views for a few minutes, definitely take advantage of it.
Talk to the Locals
As I mentioned earlier, the United States could be broken up into countries based on how different it is. It’s safe to say that you’ll run into some people on your journey you wouldn’t have usually crossed paths with. Make some conversation and learn about their lives. Also, locals always have the best insights on must-sees around the surrounding areas.
Go to the Bathroom When There’s One Available
Always take advantage of an available bathroom. When you hit the middle of the country, there will be limited toilet options and next thing you know you’ll be in Anaconda, Montana, 12 miles off the highway trying to hunt down somewhere to pee. It happens to the best of us…
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Life can be tiring and repetitive. Get off that hamster wheel you’re running on everyday and go see what’s around you. Pushing yourself away from what you’re comfortable with might be scary, but it’s one of the most important learning experiences you’ll have in your lifetime. You’re going to learn so much more about yourself if you stop doing what’s normal to you and try something new.
Don’t Take Anything For Granted
Stare at a mountain, breathe in the air, realize where you are and what you’re looking at. Appreciate it all while you can.