The cross country road trip is a rite of passage. Everybody should do it at least once in his or her lifetime. Here is how to make sure that when you decide to do it, the trip is as awesome as possible.
1. Figure out what kind of vehicle you want to take. If you’re traveling with a lot of people, you might want to consider a larger vehicle so that everybody can ride together and make the trip all that more fun. At the same time, there is something to be said for seeing the country by motorcycle. Motorcycles can go places that larger vehicles can’t (especially if you were thinking of traveling via RV). With the right travel accessories, bike travel can be just as safe and comfortable as enclosed vehicle travel.
2. This is going to sound terrible but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Plan your traveling companions carefully. Cross country road trips, particularly the kind where you make lots of stops, take meandering routes and really look around, take a lot of time. That is a lot of time to be trapped in a vehicle and stuck on the road with someone. Make sure that the people who go with you are people whose company you genuinely enjoy. The friend you love but who makes you crazy after half an hour? Is not the best person to invite on the trip.
3. Make sure that everybody is on the same page about what is an acceptable amount of ground covered in a day and about the kind of trip you want to take. Putting people who believe that the only time to stop is to gas up alongside people who can’t stand to be in the car for more than an hour without having to stop and stretch their legs is not a good idea.
4. Plan out at least a vague route ahead of time. Are you going north, south or through the middle? Do you want to only take back roads? Get an idea about these things before you head out. Let each person pick at least two things that they really want to stop and see (there are some great tourist attractions out there) and make a point to actually stop and see them.
5. Bring along plenty of music. This is probably the most important part of any road trip (in car DVD players are for sissies). Good tunes make for a good road trip. Load up mp3 players with as much music as possible and bring along a few extra car chargers just to keep your bases covered. Road trips without tunes are zero fun.
The most important thing, though, is to be flexible—part of the fun of taking a road trip is to be able to take whatever snags or detours might pop up as you go from one coast to the other. So relax, sit back and enjoy the ride (unless you’re driving—then you want to pay attention).