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Planning a Road Trip in the US, your ULTIMATE resource guide

Image Credit: Beauchamping (available to buy on Etsy)

The US is a VERY large country. A lot of it is sparsely populated. National parks are usually far from populated areas. Public transportation is unheard of outside of major city centers. If you’re going to see the states, you don’t have a million choices! You gotta drive it! Don’t worry though, I’ve done it a million times! (no like really, maybe just a couple times short of a million! Let’s just say I’ve been to all but 4 US continental states on over a dozen long distance road trips, most of them alone. So yeah, I know what I’m talking about) So allow me to show you the roads ropes and get you started planning a road trip… an amazing, super epic, out of this world, US road trip. (And if you hadn’t planned on one, you will by the time you’re done reading) I’ve broken it up into 5 sections for you:

 

Planning a Road Trip

Back when I started driving the US, there was really only one way to go about planning a road trip. Grab an atlas and go.

But with the advent of the internet, your resources are now endless, instantaneous, and available wherever you have wifi.

So strap on your seat belt and get ready to surf the web before you hit the pavement, because I’m about to blow your mind with online resources. Today there are a lot of sophisticated road-trip planning websites out there, including one that allows you to plan based on Food shows you’ve seen on TV like “Celebrity Chef” and “Cupcake Wars.”

But my favorite is Roadtrippers. It has an easy to use interface and even allows you more waypoints than Google maps, making complicated route planning easy. (plus they have an app)

It allows you to plan a route and then find anything from restaurants, to lodging, to hiking routes along that route. I might be pretty much the only resource you need. But heck, lets give you some more.

  • If you don’t even know where to start, Fodor has a “Great American Vacation Trip Finder” where you click on a bunch of pictures that appeal to you most, give them your budget and tell them how many are traveling with you and it gives you a top 10 list of places you might want to check out. I’ve tested it and it seems pretty accurate, so it’s a good place to start your research.
  • Discover America has a lot of pictures and a sliders for your preferences  to help tune in to your needs.
  • Plan Your Road Trip has some featured routes that might also be a good place to start your research.
  • Road Trip USA has the most popular routes on a map.

Voila! That should get you started planning a road trip in the states. Remember Cities are always more expensive than rural areas (unless you’re doing some fancy wine tour in Napa Valley) Remember the Coasts are more populated than the Mid-West I’d recommend getting a general idea of your “Must See” places with a resource like Fodor’s trip finder and working out the details between those points with a resource like Roadtrippers.com. Now, of course I have an opinion on what is Must-See in the US so I went ahead and mapped out “The Ultimate US Road Trip” which you’ll see on the last page of this post.

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