Exploring the USA
If taking a road trip across the beautiful USA is not on your bucket list, it should be. I will describe some of the best planning tips and share some road wisdom I have learned through experience.
There are lots of options for vehicles. If you are like me and cannot afford a massive RV you will have to cruise in a meager car. I took 4 people in a car over 13 states in 2 weeks. It was a little cramped but totally worth it. To create more luggage space we used a cheap bag style luggage carrier on the roof. Make sure you tie your luggage down too (free tip for saving your bags from getting ran over on the interstate.)
How to plan your trip:
1. Create the itinerary - Consult all members of your party about the goals. We actually made a Google Doc that we shared between our road tripping companions so that we could all collaborate and decide on the best destinations to visit. Also, if you have friends living in the states you plan to visit give them a call! They may offer advice on touring and also could provide accommodations that could save your hotel money.
2. Destinations - I highly advise visiting state parks. Our main goal on the trip was to visit and hike in the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains. However, I discovered there were some smaller parks that were less known that were gems to visit.
3. Book your hotels and end points - We stayed at some camp sites to save money but also booked a few hotels in between so that we had a chance to take a shower and rest well before hitting the road again.
4. Travel - After you plan your destinations make sure you give yourself plenty of time to actually get there. If you make your schedule too packed you will be rushing and might miss out on spontaneous fun. Also, I advise you to plan on driving some back roads or "scenic routes." These will be slower than the interstate but it is part of the freedom of driving versus flying. Some of these roads are simply beautiful. It is helpful to rotate drivers to break up the monotony of driving long hours.
5. Dining and saving money - We packed a lot of food instead of eating out. Keep it simple, don't pack perishables. One thing I learned was not to try to bring milk. My sister insisted that we have cereal for breakfast. This worked at first because we kept a cooler and replaced the ice every few days. However, eventually the milk spoiled and made everything in the cooler smell. So opt for quick easy meals. Bringing a camp stove will help spice up your cuisine. Keep a log of all gas and shared food expenses if you plan on splitting up the bill.