There is little in the travel world that is more iconic than the American road trip. It is glamorized in countless movies, is a rite of passage for most young people in the United States, and a frequently realized dream for travelers from all over the world. With such a huge expanse of space and widely varied landscapes, the USA presents an opportunity to explore many different areas. Whether your thing is cities, beaches, forests or mountains, the United States has it all covered.
There are many things to keep in mind when preparing for and executing an epic road trip. Here are five helpful tips for getting the most out of your journey.
Absolutely forget the interstates. They are designed to quickly move high volumes of vehicles and goods from Point A to Point B with minimal fuss, thus they utterly lack any charm and give no indication to the real nature of the area that you’re in. A two-lane road winding through small towns is where you’ll find the character. Stop in the small roadside attractions,shops and dive bars and meet the people who really live in that particular area. You’ll meet new friends and have a much better experience.
Eat the Local Food:
America’s immigrant history means that you’ll find different types of cuisine everywhere. While the regional culinary differences are very noticeable, sometimes a span of less than a hundred miles means a vast shift in the foodie poles. Americans are very proud of their cuisine and love to show it off. Familiarize yourself with the local specialties and feast on gumbo in Louisiana, barbecue in Texas, lobster in Maine and all seafood in Florida.
Explore the Culture:
The USA is a huge area, and each part of the country has its own distinct identity. New England is home to fishermen and Red Sox fans, the American south has a delicious and rich food history, the west offers an insight into Native American culture, and the major cities all shine in their own way. Don’t forget to investigate the local culture in the parts of the country you choose to see.
Buy a National Park Pass:
One of the greatest accomplishments of the United States government, in my opinion, was the establishment of the National Parks System. With 58 protected areas showcasing ecosystems ranging from a volcano in Hawai’i to glaciers in Alaska to geysers in Wyoming, these parks are a wonderful opportunity to see America’s diverse landscapes. Entrance fees can range from 20 USD to 30 USD, depending on the park. However, the National Park Service offers a pass that allows up to four people in one car to enter multiple parks in one calendar year. The cost of the pass is 80 USD, which is huge savings if you want to see more than one park, and well worth the money. The National Park Service also offers several days per year when all parks are free of charge. Make sure to check their website for more informations.
It may be tempting to bring things you normally wouldn’t since you have the luxury of space in a car, but don’t. More things in the car simply mean more things to keep track of. Pack a few clothes for all temperature, and shoes to match. Keep food and water at all times, and if you’re using a rental car, make sure there is a basic safety kit included. Keep your phones charged and your insurance cards and driving license within easy reach. And never, ever forget the iPod, pre-set with the epic road trip playlists you’ve been compiling for months.
So pack up your gear, your friends, your music and set off. The open road is, well, open. What are you waiting for?