Have you ever travelled across the North American continent? A small portion of it, perhaps? Well, summer is here and I was just reminded by a friend’s photos how great a traditional tour of the United States and Canada can be with the family, just a partner, or even on your own. There are so many regions to explore, each with a distinct heritage and unique sites to visit. There are also a variety of ways in which to see all of the open spaces and history that encompass this country. So grab a passport if you plan to cross into another nation and let the fun begin with one of these great cross-country touring ideas.

If you are a brave parent or grandparent and want to show the kids a lot of history and culture then choosing a large recreational vehicle (RV) may be the best option for you. RVs now come in a variety of sizes and can be rented through specialty companies easily found near most towns and cities. This option allows for groups of people to spread out a bit while enjoying being on the road with big windows for viewing the passing scenery. Yes, the gas tank is large but it will get you far if it’s a decent size and other amenities may even help cut the overall costs. RV camp spots with water hook ups are still much less expensive than hotel rooms that accommodate your group and are readily available throughout much of North America. Some even include camp showering facilities, convenience stores, and access to the internet. Having some basic kitchen functions such as a mini fridge and microwave in the RV will allow you to buy groceries for quite a bit less than eating out every day. There is another important positive of traveling in an RV with children or other family. If the want or need to end the vacation sooner than expected arises, it is much easier to just turn around and head home than to wait on airline schedules.

For the traveling twosome consider a car suited to the activities you wish to accomplish on your adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts who want to see canyons, deserts, and hidden forests might want to opt for a jeep or other vehicle suitable for low clearances and rugged roads. If your goal is to see the length of coast along the Pacific or Atlantic oceans then a convertible in the middle of summer offers great breezes and warm sun while driving. Bring along a large cooler for drinks and some basic perishables, a tent and sleeping bags for quick camping, and you are set. Those more interested in city exploration might want to choose for a smaller car easily maneuvered and parked. Some of you may already have the perfect car, yours, to use for your travels. It will save the cost of a rental car and you are probably already very comfortable with how your vehicle handles. Make sure to have a quick maintenance check before heading out to avoid any unintended adventures and carry internationally approved insurance if you plan on driving out of country.

The footloose and fancyfree tourist with current accreditations might want to take the opportunity to borrow or rent a motorcycle and head out into the great wide open highways and backroads our continent has to offer. This is probably the least expensive in fuel cost but will take more planning when it comes time for lodging and meals. It’s hard to carry a whole lot on the back of a motorcyle when you are planning to be out for any length of time. Those who need to feel secure in arrangements should carefully plot out where you’d like to be at the end of each day and call ahead for reservations at the place of choice. However, some are just fine finding the first available place when it comes time to hunker down for sleep. Be prepared to keep driving to the next town if you are flying by the seat of your pants. Regardless of how you like to plan, or not, be sure to have your helmet with you for safety and state laws vary and don’t forget protective gear for weather such as a stowable jacket and good sunglasses.

There’s even an option for those that don’t enjoy doing all the driving when on vacation. While currently a less used resource, travelling by train is still widely available especially if you are willing to board in main cities. Train travel can be suitable for small families, couples, or singletons alike. There are sleeper car options that cleverly conceal folding beds to allow for multiple guests in one car and dining cars make meals easily available. Most trains also offer viewing areas with large windows to appreciate the landscape. This is a great option for someone who might need to be working while traveling as many train routes offer wireless internet and it’s easy to set up a laptop while seated for the ride. The kids can bring toys and games to play and adults can bring knitting or books to read, and everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy the getting there portion of the vacation.

Of course, there is no need to limit yourself to just one of these options. You may have along various types of travel buddies and destination plans throughout your trip that would be best met with a combination of these ideas. Get out a map, choose your states and regions, and make a cross-country plan of your own. Happy travels!