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How do I Plan a US Coast-To-Coast Road Trip?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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A coast-to-coast road trip in the United States can be a fun journey through the radically different landscapes across the country. This type of trip will need some planning, however, and if you are considering taking this long drive, your first step should be to begin researching the different places along the route that you will want to visit. Allot plenty of time for your coast-to-coast road trip for sightseeing, rest, as well as unforeseen delays such as traffic, and remember that your vehicle will need some maintenance before, during, and after the trip. Write a budget and include these maintenance costs in it.

Contact a motor club such as the American Automobile Association, or AAA, to obtain up to date maps that include detours for construction sites or other delays. These are great to have on hand during a coast-to-coast road trip, even if you are using a GPS, because these maps often provide the most up-to-date information on roads as well as roadside attractions along your route. These motor clubs may also have recommendations for the best routes, attractions, restaurants, lodging, and so on to help you make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

Before your coast-to-coast road trip begins, be sure to get your vehicle prepared for the long miles. This may mean getting an oil change or a tune-up, having a mechanic check over the vehicle for other potential problems, topping off fluids, changing or rotating tires, and otherwise making sure the vehicle is up for the task of driving across the country. If you have a small vehicle and think you will need extra storage space, consider purchasing a roof box for random items, or a bike rack to carry bicycles during your coast-to-coast road trip. Remember that any external units you buy should feature locks so you can ensure the security of your belongings when you are not driving.

The most common options for food along the way will be fast food restaurants, which can be extremely unhealthy. Try to pack healthy snacks not only to avoid eating fast food every day, but also to cut costs. Food costs will be one of the more significant costs on the trip, so packing snacks will help you stay fueled without stopping or spending cash. If possible, do the trip with a partner so you can switch off driving duties every few hours. If you do the trip alone, be sure to limit yourself to a certain number of hours of driving a day, and pull over if you get tired.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari , Former Writer
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By truman12 — On Jun 11, 2012

I wanted to plan a road trip from Portland Oregon where I live down to Miami Florida. I started doing research and then realized how long it was going to take me. I would have been on the road for almost two weeks and that barely gave me any time to stop and see things. I would have just been driving, eating and sleeping. The trip still sounds fun but I do not have that much time to invest.

By chivebasil — On Jun 10, 2012

Car trouble is something that cannot be avoided no mater what kind of car you have or how you drive it. I am a big believer in having a roadside assistance policy that covers flats, tows, fluids, anything that might happen to you while you are on the road.

Most of these services do not cost as much as you would expect and the peace of mind is invaluable. They have bailed me out of a jam on more than one occasion.

By Ivan83 — On Jun 09, 2012

One thing to keep in mind while you are budgetig for your trip is that gas prices can vary widely at different points in the country. You might pay three or four dollars more in some places than you do in others. Depending on how long your trip is is and where you are going this can really effect your gas budget.

There are sites online that can tell you gas prices at different points in the country and there are even sites that can help you use this information to make a budget. It is definitely worth it to plan ahead so that you have more to spend on fun stuff.

Dan Cavallari

Dan Cavallari

Former Writer

Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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