By Jason Rittle 10/15/2019
The US is a huge country separated into various regions, each with their own vibe, culture, and way of life. Whether you are going on a vacation, moving, or family reunion, most of us are quick to want to hop on a plane and get there that way. Sometimes, the drive itself can be considered the trip. Here are some things to consider before getting in a car and driving across the country.
Plan your route
Consider the route you are taking and plan which highways you will be taking to get there. Major cities like San Francisco and New York are connected by the same interstate with no need to transfer to a different road — unless you are deciding to take a scenic detour. Find out what city your final destination is and map out your route.
Plan your resting points
Whether you plan to drive directly to your destination without stopping to sleep — which is totally possible with another person to switch driving — it is important to mark every point you plan to stop, rest and gas up. Find out how far your car can go on a full tank and stop to rest and refuel around the quarter tank mark. It is also important to be mindful of what hotels/motels are available along the way. If you are driving along the Interstate, you are more likely to run into numerous hotels than if you were taking secondary roads the whole way.
Don’t drive during the winter months
Weather in between the coasts — especially in and around the rockies — can be pretty treacherous during the winter months with significant snow fall and road closures not being uncommon. Many routes that pass through the intermountain west offer little to no detour routes in the event that a road closure due to inclimate weather occurs. I highly recommend driving anytime between March – October just to be safe.
Get Your Car Checked
Being that it serves as the main vessel in which you will be transporting yourself 3,000 plus miles, it’s important to get it checked by a mechanic. Make sure your tires aren’t worn out, your oil is changed, you have enough fluids, and nothing is leaking. As always, prep yourself in case of an emergency. This means getting an insurance policy that will cover roadside assistance. Trust me on this one. When you are driving those long stretches of highway where there are no signs of civilization for miles, it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a safety net.
Pack Plenty of Snacks
Packing something to munch on not only keeps you alert on those 4-5 hour long stretches of endless highway, it also gives you a little bit of sustenance when you realize the nearest restaurant is over 150 miles away. This is especially if you are traveling with young kids who are much less inhibited than adults when they start to get hungry.
Don’t Rush and Enjoy!
Unless you are going to need to be a strict deadline, don’t rush. Although it is possible to drive coast-to-coast in around 2 days of straight driving, I would highly recommend taking your time and stopping at the nearest hotel to sleep for the night. Overall, take your time and enjoy the ride!