Heading into the American Dream: USA road trip ideas

ideas

Let us help you to plan the perfect American road trip

Writers, photographers and filmmakers have been obsessed with the great American highway ever since the first asphalt was laid. Perhaps it has something to do with the big sky, the vast landscape, or the nostalgia of small town America that attracts them – whatever your motivation is, a road trip across the United States features highly on many people’s bucket lists.

Classic road trip routes

The classic route for a US road trip will take you from one coast to the next, generally starting on the east coast in New York, driving south through Washington and Virginia before heading cross-country into Alabama towards Texas and Arizona before ending in Los Angeles. A trip like that will certainly enable you to see the country, but it will take a long time and require considerable planning, so you might want to think a little smaller.

What kind of car is best suited for these trips?

While you may well picture yourself driving across America in a classic Mustang or Buick, you might want to think more practically if you want to avoid lengthy breakdowns and considerably more comfort. The ideal car is roomy, steady, reliable – and economic on fuel. A modern station wagon may not be the most romantic, but it will at least keep you on the open road.

How to prepare for your road trip

Spontaneity may have worked for Kerouac, but you ought to give yourself some prep time, even if it’s just to clean the car of old gum wrappers and dog hair. This is going to be your home for a few weeks, so you should at least start the trip with a clean-smelling interior and space in the glove box. Also definitely worth considering is subscribing to a roadside assistance organization (if you’re not already a member), giving your car a good service, and investing in a good map for when the fancy new GPS device starts going awry.

A road trip that takes you off the beaten track

The road less travelled is often the most interesting one. Stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 remains the most famous route across America, but as it’s no longer officially part of the US highway system, it has fallen into disrepair in many places, with some of it little more than a dirt road. If you dare to leave the interstate, however, you’ll be rewarded with quirky museums, kitschy towns and the kind of iconic landmarks that exist only in America.

Don’t forget to stop and look around you

The United States are beautiful and varied, so pack in as many sights as you can into your trip. Whether you’re interested in changing scenery, historical landmarks or natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or the Niagara Falls, America is packed with them. You might even want to give your road trip a theme, such as extreme nature or literary legends, where you follow in the footsteps of writers like Kerouac and Hemingway.

Enjoy a little luxury along the way

Remember that just because you’re on a drive vacation doesn’t mean you have to slum it, so treat yourself and your family to some luxury along the way with a stay at one of the many dotted across all of the US. Many of the locations are ideal for those taking a nostalgia-fueled or historically-oriented road trip, for example Williamsburg, Virginia, just off the I-64, with its colonial atmosphere and hands-on lessons of the American Revolution, or the grand old architecture and parks of Savannah, Georgia, handily located on one of America’s oldest and longest highways, the Interstate 95 from Maine to Miami. 

The American landscape really is breathtaking and the great distances one can travel make for the perfect adventure. So dig out the maps, service the car and get one step closer to your dream vacation.

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