A North American road trip that spans part of the US and perhaps even ventures into Canada too, is almost a rite of passage. There are a few considerations to mull over before heading out, like taking care of your vehicle and how you’ll stay connected to the internet while on the road for hours at a time.
Here are some suggestions on how to prepare for an extensive US road trip.
Negotiate for Longer Time Off
Most saved up vacation time is only two weeks. This is a short amount of time and makes it difficult to plan a longer trip. You may want to consider asking to get a longer vacation time even if you must take a week or more unpaid to get 3-4 weeks off at a stretch.
If you know that you’ll be changing jobs shortly and are planning a road trip for next year, see if you can negotiate a longer vacation time with the next position.
Vehicle Servicing & Tires
Be honest with yourself about whether your auto has the miles left in it that you’ll be covering. If you’ll be going over steep or bumpy terrain, how will your vehicle handle that? Does it run smoothly presently, or does it frequently need to go into the shop for repairs? If your vehicle really won’t hold up to the rigors of a long road trip, consider renting a vehicle instead.
If you’re sticking with your auto, check over the tires. You can reference this Global Garage Tires Guide to get a list of things to look at more closely. The main points include wheel alignment, tire balancing and making sure the set of tires gets equal wear over time.
Plan Your Itinerary Carefully
You clearly cannot see everything. To get the best out of your road trip, consider whether it’s the scenery that you’re most interested in enjoying or the destinations? This will help determine whether to go a less-scenic, direct route from point A to point B, or take the slower, scenic route every time.
The better you plan your itinerary, the happier you’ll be. For some people, that means a detailed list of cities and towns with tourist spots to visit. For other people, they like to keep things as unplanned as possible to provide a sense of random exploration. Know what type of person you are and organize your trip accordingly.
It’s always easier when you have 4G LTE cellular service inside the vehicle. It saves having to find a Starbucks and grab their free Wi-Fi to check your email and social media updates. Across the country, different cellular networks offer better (or worse) coverage.
If you need to use wireless service while traveling, consider using a Mi-FI device and a suitable data plan for it. Shop around for the best deals before you head out. Bear in mind that there will be times when you have no service – especially when camping in national parks. In which case, head into the nearest town to grab some service from somewhere and look out for cellphone towers to check for a signal nearby too.
Planning a road trip is half the fun of it, especially if it’s planned some months ahead of the actual journey. This gives you plenty of time to research possible destinations through travel sites, YouTube videos, and blog posts from people who’ve recently visited. All paint a picture of what each place will be like, but there’s nothing like the experience of being there in person.