I love to travel, America is one of my favourite countries to visit. There are still vasts amounts of the country I haven’t seen but the parts I have I’ve loved. A few years ago myself and Keil planned a roadtrip through Arizona, Nevada and California. It was one of the best trips ever. This year we are planning another trip, this time it will be over less miles but the planning is very similar.
Here are my 7 top tips when planning a roadtrip.
1 – The first thing to do is establish the amount of time you have. This may be dictated by holidays from work, events you need to be home for and any other commitments. The other is your budget. Both your time and your budget can have a huge effect on where you will go, these are great guides to give you a starting point.
2 – You then want to determine where you will fly in and out of. On our last roadtrip we were at a conference in Phoenix so this was our starting point. This year we are at one in Las Vegas, we also got a really great deal on our flights and hotel in Vegas if we flew back out of Las Vegas so this is what we are doing. This has meant we decided to travel less miles as we have to go back to Vegas. It’s not always a bad thing to have your area narrowed down as it gives you a focus.
3 – Next it’s time to look at the map! America is a big place and if you are going to be driving you need to look how far the places are. On our trip last time we decided we didn’t want to drive for longer than 4 hours, this then gave us stopover points on the way. For example from Vegas to San Francisco is an 8 hour drive so we broke it up – We spent the morning in Vegas, left after lunch, had a 4 hour drive to Bakersfield, slept in a motel and then set off early so we were in San Fran by lunchtime. Of course, you could do the whole thing in one drive it’s your personal preference. I use google maps to put directions in between places and then experiment with different routes.
4 – Whilst your looking at the map you want to see if there are any places within driving distance you really have to visit. I suppose you would call these non-negotiable. I was lucky as Keil wanted to see all the same places as me last time! There were a couple of places we couldn’t fit on our previous trip but this is something we were both happy to accept. This year I really want to go to Palm Springs so we are making sure this is a place we will visit.
5 – Once you have a rough idea of the places you want to visit, planning the order you will be going to them is a good idea. If you’re doing a loop like we are this year you can go different directions. Last time we were starting in Phoenix and leaving from LA so the direction of the root was fairly clear. It’s good to think about if certain roads are better in a specific direction. Highway 1 from San Francisco to LA is one of the most beautiful roads to drive along and the best way is travelling south. This is because you are then oceanside the whole way so the view is spectacular and it is easy to stop at the pull-ins as they are at this side of the road.
6 – Next you want to decide if you are going to book places before you go or wing it! This year because we know exactly where we are going we have booked our accommodation in advance. Last time we booked the main cities in advance as these can often be expensive. We would then book the stopovers the morning we were leaving once we had confirmed our route and knew how long we wanted to drive for – This was fun and spontantious!
7 – The final step is to book your car. There are lots of rental places in America and if you will need a car straight away you can book in advance. Ensure they have a drop-off location where you are going though so you can easily give the car back when you are finished. On our last trip we upgraded and got Keil’s dream car of a red Mustang Convertible! This was so much fun and something different! We won’t be driving as much this time so we will probably chose a more basic car (if I get my way!)
Planning a trip and researching all the places you want to go is really fun. I use google a lot and I also check out the Trip Advisor forums, these are a good place to ask questions or just read peoples answers and experiences. You always have to take these with a pince of salt but it’s good to have some ideas of what to do when you get to your location.
It’s then time to arrive in the states, take on the open road and have the time of your life!