How do I Plan a Cross-Country Road Trip?

While a cross-country road trip can be a fun and exciting venture, without planning, it can turn into a stressful event, devoid of any fun. Primarily, you will need to consider the overall cost of the trip, the main route you will follow, and the time and distance between each destination. After you decide where to go, you must account for other necessities, including vehicle maintenance and personal belongings.

The first thing to plan for is a fun time. Solo adventures are always an option, but if you are considering a group road trip, take the time to gather the right people for it. One of the quickest ways to ruin a trip is to be stuck with a person whom you find disagreeable and annoying. Make sure that everyone is excited about the trip, and that disagreements are resolved promptly.

The next step is to plan out the trip's destinations. Leaving things up to chance is part of the fun, but a cross-country road trip requires at least a rough idea of the places you would like to drive through, stop for a visit, and stay overnight. There are numerous resources to help you map out a suitable route, highlighting noteworthy attractions and sites and providing useful traffic information for more thorough planning. A general estimate of the the number of stops you will be making can help you plan the trip.


When you have decided upon a general route, consult a map and determine the distance between each destination. By assessing the distance you intend to travel, you will be able to determine how much time the trip will take. Keep in mind any long stops or visits plus the return trip, and make sure that the trip's total duration does not conflict with your schedule.

A cross-country road trip involves thousands of miles of traveled distance, which can negatively affect your mode of transportion. Make sure that the car's maintenance is up to date and that any mechanical issues are resolved prior to leaving. A sure way to put a stop to any road trip is having a car that breaks down.

Your budget will influence many of the decisions you make before and during the road trip. A successful road trip requires funds that are sufficient enough to cover necessities like gas, food, lodging and emergencies. Gas is one of the biggest expenses for a car trip. Budgeting for necessary items allows you to determine how much is left over for paid activities, shopping, and everything else. If you lack the funds to accomplish the entirety of your cross-country road trip, you can either plan a shorter trip or hold off until you have enough money.

Make a list of any personal items that you might want or need on the trip. Consider clothing, personal hygiene products, and a first aid kit. Items for the car include food, drinks and entertainment, such as games or books. The list will vary depending on the destinations and your planned activities, but make sure to pack lightly so that the car has enough room to hold everything and everyone. You may decide to bring along photographic or video equipment to chronicle every leg of your trip or opt to keep a journal instead.

Lastly, plan to have fun. Planning and preparation can be overwhelming, but a cross-country road trip should be fun and exciting. If, at departure, you are no longer looking forward to it, you and your companions will have a difficult time enjoying the first few days. While planning the trip, remind yourself of the reasons why you wanted to travel in the first place.



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