Road Tripping for Beginners
Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Are you just as eager as I was to get out of the rut of every day life? Itching to hit the open road, roll down your windows and let the wind blow through your hair? I know first hand, any kind of long term road trip needs some planning but, where do you start?
Decide where you want to go and how long you're going for.
This may sound like common sense but having a time frame will definitely help you get the best bang for your buck while traveling. The last thing you want is to get all the way across the country and realize you rushed because you didn't think you had enough time.
Make a list of ten things you want to see and map them out.
This gives you a good foundation of how you are going to round out the country and now you can start filling some of the gaps. I.e. Niagara Falls to Yellowstone National Park is a long drive, maybe stop at Badlands National Park along your route.
Text everyone you know and get recommendations.
Nothing is off limits, ask for hikes, watering holes, waterfalls, mountains, big trees, landmarks, cute towns...the more people can give, the less work you have to do. This also puts it on the radar of your friends/family that you're passing through, and they may offer a place to crash, a shower or even laundry!
Decide how you want to take your road trip.
Whether you're packing up your car and staying at hotels, throwing a tent and other camping equipment into an SUV or renting an RV, there are many ways to travel this country. If you plan on renting an RV, there's a discount link in my bio here.
Some things to think about before you hit the road:
There is so much free camping in this country, it's insane!
BLM (Bureau of Land Management), national forests and some public lands are free to camp on. Sites and apps like FreeCampsites.net, Campendium, Ioverlander and Dyrt are great places to search for camping, RV dumping and more.
They're everywhere but mostly to make travel quick and convenient. Save money, take the long road and turn your GPS onto the "avoid tolls" option.
1. Save money to eat out...this adds up quickly.
2. Pack a cooler (with a removable shelf so your food isn't sitting in water when the ice melts).
3. Portable fridges/coolers that run through 12V are the best but more of a long term investment if road tripping or living on the road is for you.
4. Having a portable grill with propane is a great way to eat full meals while on the road. Making dinner with leftovers for the day after saves time, propane and ultimately money.
5. Overnight oats, sandwiches and wraps are easy no-cook meals on the road.
Helpful tips and tricks:
Don't expect service: screenshot directions when going off grid including how to get back out after you've finished. Traveling with a road atlas can help in an emergency.
Having something like AAA is a good way to ensure safety when it comes to flats, breakdowns, battery issues, running out of gas, locking yourself out and more. You also get AAA discounts with some services like hotels.
Travel with the seasons: North in the Summer/South in the Winter.
When planning your daily trips, try to break up travel a little in the morning and a little in the afternoon. This will give you the bulk of the day to do what you want to do and prevent having to drive for long periods of time.
Don't show up to your campsites at night! Always be prepared to have enough daylight to scope out your surroundings, set up camp and make dinner. This provides not only a level of safety but also security knowing you don't have to scramble to set up in the dark.
National Park Passes are a great way to see as many National Parks as you can! For $80/annually, the pass grants you access to all National Parks and pays for itself in about 3 visits.
However you decide to travel the country, it can be agreed, a road trip is high up on most bucket lists. Hopefully this how-to guide helps you cross that off your bucket list. Subscribe for more travel tips and tricks!