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Planning a US road trip in five steps

The great American road trip is almost a rite of passage for Australians. Here, BETHANY FRANKEL compiles a list of five steps you can follow to have the road trip you’ve always envisioned.



Choose a destination and a route

The USA has a lot to offer, so make a list of everything that matters to you: city or nature, ocean or mountains, your starting point and the route you’d like to pick.

This is the first and most important step. Once you’ve put a pin on the map, everything else starts falling into place. 


Establish how long you can and want to vacation

There are no rules in setting a timeframe for your road trip.

By first thinking of the purpose of your trip, you can either opt for a fixed period of time or for an open-ended type of getaway.

Think of how long you can afford to be in the destination you’ve chosen, how long you can be away from work and leave some extra days for any spontaneous fun or unplanned detours.


Prepare for the season

Don’t forget to do some research on your destination’s climate before you embark on the journey.

The US has a wide variety of climate types. Let’s say for example that you’re planning an East Coast trip.

Depending on the time of the year, this trip can involve you travelling from the chillier north all the way down to sunny Florida (and vice versa).

With all the diverse destinations on the East Coast, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re up for since places on this side of the country can differ wildly in terms of temperatures and weather conditions.

You won’t want to drive for days on end through unforgiving rain or be too cozily dressed when it’s actually sweltering hot outside.


Make sure everyone is on board with your plans

Unfortunately, poor communication and planning can set an otherwise good trip off to a rocky start.

Contact all your travelling companions, let them know what travelling time frame suits you best and try to reach a common ground for the road trip dates.

Once you’ve done this, you can start talking about other details such as accommodation, preferred route and means of transportation, as well as the costs associated with these choices.

You can also discuss what you will do for food during this trip, so no one has any unpleasant surprises where they feel constrained to join the group even though they don’t want to.

By having this talk from the get-go, you can save your friendships a good deal of conflicts down the line.


Take preventive measures

Before you go on this trip that you’ve taken so long to plan, you should put aside some money in a savings account, just to be safe.

You may want to extend your stay or delve straight into a more spontaneous adventure or you may even struggle with some unforeseen emergency.

Something can always break, get stolen or someone’s health may be impeded, so it’s ultimately best to prevent this rather than deal with it, once the situation becomes dire.


Planning the road trip you’ve always dreamt of doesn’t need to be a nebula of chaos and unfulfillment. On the contrary, if you follow the list above and try implementing these tips one by one, you’ll find yourself packing for a vacation that’s not only everything you wanted, but also free of unpleasant scenarios. All you need to do is think of the people you’d most enjoy sharing your trip with, call them up and break the good news to them.


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Written by: Bethany Seton
Published: 16 October 2019

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