How To Prepare For A Cross Country Road Trip

Cross Country Road Trip

August 12th, 2021   |   Updated on February 11th, 2022

Thinking about going forth on a grand adventure? Whether you’re driving from the East Coast to the West Coast in search of Mountain View apartments, to visit friends in San Francisco, or just because you want to discover parts of the world you’ve never seen before, here are some helpful tips to prepare you for cross-country road trip:

Cross Country Road Trip

1. Plan The Route

America is a big place. Driving cross-country isn’t as simple as taking a straight line from Point A to Point B. There’s a lot of room for exploration, detours, and side-trips. Ask yourself the goal of this trip. Do you just want to get to your final destination as soon as possible, or are you looking to take it slow and see the sights?

If it’s the latter, consider making a list of cities, states, or attractions you’d like to visit, then do some research to see which ones are on your way. Planning the route you’ll take ahead of time is a good way to maximize your fun while minimizing the chances of getting lost.

2. Save Your Money

Driving cross-country might seem like an economical vacation option. Obviously, it’s a lot cheaper than a round-trip airplane ticket to Rio de Janeiro. But that doesn’t mean it won’t cost you. Just like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as a free vacation.

First up, you’ll have to budget for gas. Then, you’ll have to consider overnight stays at motels here and there. Admission to various attractions. Food and drinks. Souvenirs. Most importantly, you should try to put aside some extra cash in case of an emergency. Better safe than sorry.

3. Pack Up Supplies

No great expedition across the roads of America ever happened on an empty stomach, so don’t skimp on the snacks. If you can, try to bring a well-stocked cooler full of cold drinks and good eats for those times, just in case hunger hits when there aren’t any drive-thrus or gas stations in sight.

Obviously, you’ll also want to bring a few changes of clothes, but consider also packing spare pillows and blankets, flashlights, spare batteries, toiletries, phone chargers, a First Aid Kit, and a physical map. If you’re traveling with kids, some games and books to keep them occupied are also recommended.

4. Check Your Vehicle

When taking a cross-country road trip, your best friend is your vehicle. You treat it right and it will treat you just as well. Neglect it, though, and the only place you’ll drive yourself is into a whole heap of trouble.

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle into the auto shop for a full inspection and tune-up. If there have been any lingering issues, even minor ones, now is the time to get them taken care of, otherwise they could quickly become major ones. Make sure to gas up before you leave as well, and don’t forget to bring a spare tire, a jack, road flares, a working GPS, and a fully charged phone.

5. Tell Some Friends

Last but not least, before you set off into the great unknown, make sure your loved ones know your plans. If someone needs you, they should have at least a few different ways of contacting you. Likewise, it’s a good idea to give them a copy of your itinerary in the event of an emergency. You never know when something could go wrong.

It’s not just the situation at home you should be concerned about either. If something happens to you while you’re on the road and you’re unable to get to a phone, making sure someone knows where you’re supposed to be and when can be a real life-saver when you need it most.