Summer is an ideal time to explore the country on a road trip. Visiting numerous locales and destinations can very quickly become expensive though; setting a travel budget and planning out the trip before leaving will help to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and that even emergencies may be handled with ease.
Planning a cross country road trip
Begin planning the itinerary for the trip by considering the interests of everyone who is going. Some people may be interested in shopping or dining, while others may want to spend time doing more athletic activities such as hiking or climbing. If kids are along for the trip, amusement parks and zoos may be desired destinations. Try to put together an itinerary that will please everyone, and remember to leave some room for surprises and fun.
When putting together a budget for a road trip, it is important to begin with the length of the trip and its route, as well as figuring out how much driving will be done each day. This is important because it determines the types of lodging that will be available; many online sites offer last minute deals and low price accommodations that are ideal for those planning to see the country by road.
Other budget considerations include: fees for admission to attractions and landmarks; the cost for dining up to three times per day; money for fuel and tolls; and extra funds for purchasing souvenirs.
Road trip vehicles
When choosing a vehicle for a road trip, it is important to consider a number of factors: the size of the car; the initial purchase or rental price; and the price to use the vehicle, its fuel economy and maintenance needs. Smaller cars may seem like they would be a poor choice, but models with roomy interiors such as the Honda Fit offer plenty of space for both travelers and luggage.
Minivans are another option, though not everyone wants to drive a vehicle of that size. Some smaller six-seaters, such as the Mazda 5, offer the same kind of space as a minivan with a good deal more maneuverability and a low price tag, making a great family trip choice.
Road trips and convertibles simply go together, offering a great way to drive scenic coastlines and stretches of highway. Whether it is a two- or four-seat model, a convertible is one of many options that are available at most car rental agencies.
Top road trip destinations
The best road trip destinations share several traits: they are unique places that offer plenty to see and do, and appeal to travelers of every age and interest.
For lovers of the great outdoors, a road trip through Colorado can’t be beat. No matter which season you go, there are numerous outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, from hiking, fishing and water sports to skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing.
One of the country’s oldest cities, New Orleans is truly one-of-a-kind, with antebellum architecture, Creole and Cajun cuisine, jazz and zydeco music and some of the best ghost tours in the US.
Boston and Philadelphia offer colonial culture, American history and a host of sights and attractions to appeal to families, couples and individuals. Many online ticketing sites offer special discounts for attractions and sports and make it easy to get tickets to Philadelphia events or Boston ball games while visiting these cities.
Driving and New York City may be strange bedfellows, but a number of destinations in and around the Big Apple make a visit to the city well worth the trouble. Drive through the Five Boroughs; travel the many and varied tunnels and bridges offering breathtaking views; visit landmark attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square and numerous ethnic enclaves in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.
After visiting the city, a trip up the Hudson offers scenic views and plenty of quaint and picturesque towns, including the legendary Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. Other spots along the way include Yonkers, New Paltz, Dutchess County, Sterling Forest, and Hyde Park, the place that Franklin Delano Roosevelt called home.
Some road trips are all about the view, whether it’s of ancient rock formations or the vastness of the ocean. The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular road trip destinations in the country. Hike into the canyon and go rafting on the mighty Colorado River. Catch the sunset from the South Rim. The Grand Canyon is also within easy distance of Las Vegas, a city with plenty to offer in and of itself.