There is no better way to explore America than by heading off into the sunset on a road trip adventure. There is so much to see! Imagine all the national parks, canyons, cities, rivers and waterfalls that are waiting to be explored. You can truly appreciate what America has to offer both families and adult travelers when on the road as you can tailor your journey around interests. Perhaps you have just left college and you’re planning a road trip before starting work or your next period of study?
If you are on a budget or you simply enjoy camping under the stars, there are many amazing campsites to stay in en route. You could stay under canvas in a tent, hire a motorhome or the ultimate in airstream trailers. You never know, you may catch the camping in luxury “bug” and look at airstream trailers for sale when you return home!
Of course, if sticking to a budget isn’t a necessity you could stay in hotels and motels throughout your journey, there are plenty available ranging in price from budget to luxury. If you are travelling a famous road trip route, such as Route 66, ensure you book your accommodation in plenty of time as it books up fast. This also applies to campsites.
The remainder of this article will focus on camping as your choice of accommodation.
Plan your route
Planning your route sounds obvious, but it requires a little thought. Heading off with your tent in the back of your car without a care in the world and no idea where you’re heading, sounds potentially romantic, but could possibly be a recipe for disaster!
Look at your route and break it down into feasible driving distances. You will want to spend time at destinations to truly enjoy them, so you don’t want to arrive late at night, only to have to set off again at the crack of dawn! You will possibly want to stay a couple of nights or more at certain destinations, if there’s lots to see.
Book a pitch
As previously mentioned, accommodation books up months, if not up to a year ahead on popular routes, so book early. The price and pitch size will depend on whether you’re staying in a motorhome, trailer or tent. Look at the facilities available so that you can plan what you need to pack for particular campsites.
If you are planning on staying at the more remote campsites, facilities may be basic, allowing you to “get back” to nature. Ensure you pack water for your duration and look for alternative sources of power for fridges etc.
Arrange your form of transport
If you normally reside in America or Canada, you will have the option of using your own vehicle. However you may wish to hire a larger car for a comfortable trip or hire a motorhome or trailer for the ultimate in comfortable “camping”. You could of course hire a motorhome home and go trekking for a couple of nights in a tent, with the luxury of returning to your fully equipped “home from home”.
If you are travelling to USA from other parts of the world, you’ll need to decide on a form of transport which you can collect from the airport region. A motorhome would be an excellent option as you have your accommodation”built in!”. If you prefer a wilder form of camping, bring your tent with you and hire a car.
Research carefully the hire company and look for previous traveller reviews. Choose a vehicle that is large enough for your needs, especially if you are a family, as cramped conditions for long periods of time is not conducive to happy relations!
Ensure you take out sufficient insurance and check out the excess on policies. Take a credit card with you, which offers payment protection. Many hire companies will only allow payments by credit card and you may be required to put down a deposit to cover any mishaps.
Ensure the vehicle you hire has all the necessary safety and maintenance equipment for changing a flat tyre etc. Make sure you keep emergency phone numbers close to hand whilst on the road.
If you are using your own vehicle, you have the luxury of packing all necessary items carefully before you travel. Depending on your accommodation choice you will need to pack camping equipment and clothing for every weather condition. Take in-car entertainment and snacks to keep everyone happy whilst driving and suggest that all members of the party create a collection of music to listen to. Wet wipes and a first aid kit are essential and take bags that can be used to dispose rubbish in. A car can resemble a travelling trash can very quickly!
If you are hiring a motorhome or trailer, you will be amazed at how well equipped they are. It is literally as though you’re travelling in your own apartment! Bedding should be included as well as all the cooking and eating utensils suitable for your party.
Try to pack clothing in rucksack style bags as these are easy to store in comparison to suitcases. Have a backpack containing items you will need whilst on the road close by. The backpack can double up as a day bag for trekking or sightseeing.
Ensure all items are packed securely so that no injuries occur from falling loose items. Be aware of weight limitations relevant to your vehicle too.
If travelling into the USA you will need to buy food on arrival. Ensure that your form of transport has provision to store perishable foods, such as a cooler. Choose foods that are easy to prepare and don’t buy too much. Wrap everything carefully and pack securely to prevent breakages.
You can eat very reasonably en route, and if you have plenty of snacks and drinks, there will be no need to consider preparing a three course dinner.
If you are planning on trekking to more remote areas, your provision choices will be limited. Stock up with easy to prepare meals before you go. BBQ’s and campfires are a good cooking option if permitted in the area. Research restrictions on open fires as forest fires can be a serious threat.
Most of all relax and enjoy the adventure!