The Ultimate USA Road Trip

By on December 13, 2014

The road trip is one of the quintessential symbols of the American Dream. It’s all about the freedom of the open road, and it can make for one of the most memorable and satisfying travel experiences of your life. Don’t take our word for it: just think about how many coming-of-age movies feature a road trip improving people’s lives.

A United States road trip is an amazing opportunity to discover the unique beauty of the country but also to get a chance to see all the sights that make America so famous. But if you’re going to get the most out of your time in the States, it’s worth planning ahead and doing a lot of research.

So, with that in mind, we’ve created a beginners guide to planning the ultimate journey across this fabled nation.

What about Route 66?

Route 66

When you think about a US road trip, you might be tempted by the legendary Route 66. Route 66 is probably the ultimate cliché in American driving, and it can provide you with a tantalising taste of real American living and sprawling stretches of country roads. But if you’re hoping to do a little traditional sight-seeing on your road trip, then Route 66 probably isn’t the best option for you.

The reality is that Route 66 doesn’t actually exist anymore. While you can still drive along the route itself, the famed road has been broken down into a number of highways and interstates with bland names. You start or finish your trip in Los Angeles or Chicago, which are obvious hotspots, but beyond that, the route doesn’t offer much in the way of impressive cities, and you will find yourself on seemingly endless miles of uninteresting, scenery-free roads.

Coast vs. Coast

West Coast

If Route 66 doesn’t sound like the best option for you, then you might be more suited to a road trip along the East or West Coast of the country. Both Coasts offer a more varied travelling experience with impressive views, sandy beaches and cosmopolitan cities lining up on both sides.

The West Coast promises the sun and sand of Los Angeles, the flamboyance of San Francisco and the downright glitz of Hollywood. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Giant Redwood forests of California, gamble in the super-casinos of Las Vegas or just relax in chilled-out Seattle. But the East Coast is just as appealing, with the historic national capital Washington D.C., the beaches and theme parks of Florida and the Big Apple itself: New York City.

A road trip on either coast will mean a crash course (excuse the pun) in American culture and an unforgettable experience you’ll remember forever.

The little details

It would be impossible to give a full, detailed guide to planning a US road trip in one article – there are simply too many possibilities offered to the adventurous traveller. But there are a few tips that stay consistent no matter what you plan to do.

While it might seem like a cheaper option at first, you should save yourself the nightmarish complexity of buying and insuring a car, and instead go for the option of renting for the duration of your stay. Usefully, most of the large rental firms will allow you to pick up your car in one location and to return it to one of their garages somewhere completely different. So if you drive from New York to Miami, you don’t have to worry about a return journey to get the car back!

Cheap accommodation is plentiful in the US, with basic but perfectly adequate motels ubiquitous across the States. You can save yourself a lot of money by simply using your smartphone, tablet or an internet café to book your next accommodation the day before you’re due to arrive. Last minute discounts can really make a difference in the cost of your road trip.

And finally, remember that America is a huge place with a lot of wonderful things to experience. Keep an open mind and there’s no doubt you’ll find yourself doing something amazing that you had never even considered a possibility before.

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