Skip to Content

Hit the Road Prepared: 15 Must-Know Tips for Your Ultimate American Long Drive

Embarking on a road trip across America is an exciting adventure filled with diverse landscapes, cultures, and experiences. A user asked the forum, “What is something I need to know when planning a road trip across America?”
The original poster also added the following information, “Three (maybe four) girls all around 20. We’re basically planning on leaving the northeast, driving across to Washington, down California, and then back diagonal to the northeast. 

Camping as many nights as possible, eating as cheaply as possible, and just taking our time exploring. What is your best advice?”
Here are the top responses.

LEARN HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE 

Rer view shot of a senior mechanic repairing wheels of an auto on car lift

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Knowing how to change a tire is very important on a long drive like that.”

PACK AS LIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE

Funny businessman isolated on white

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Pack as lightly as possible and have cash on hand for emergencies. Get some nice socks and boots for exploring. Get paper maps. Never trust technology to last. Also, have something on hand in case you need to defend yourself.”

DO FUN THINGS 

cosplay2

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“If you see something that looks like fun, do it. Example: passing a shack labeled ‘world best burgers’ in the middle of a dust storm near Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 100+ miles from any signs of civilization in west Texas.”

LEAVE TIME TO EXPLORE RANDOM THINGS 

happy traveler hipster girl with windy hair smiling, standing on top of sunny mountains. space for text. stylish woman in hat holding hair. atmospheric moment. travel and wanderlust

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Don’t plan the trip out before you go other than a general outline, and leave time to explore random things you discover along the way.”

FILL UP YOUR TANKS 

Close up photo beautiful she her lady pretty hairdo toothy ideal appearance big eyes unexpected lucky achievement success wear casual pink tank-top outfit clothes isolated teal turquoise background.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Never pass up an opportunity to fill up your tank. Be prepared to break down several times. Have lots of water on hand for drinking and your radiator. Use real maps, preferably an atlas.

Don’t speed, and wear seat belts. Have an emergency kit. Take great music, but listen to local radio, too. Call home every day to update progress. Be prepared to spend some money! 

You can only plan some details, but that is the point! Let the journey unfold.”

GET THE NATIONAL PARKS CARDS 

Photo portrait of lovely young lady sorry forget shrug shoulders cute wear trendy orange clothes isolated on blue color background.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Get the National Parks Card. It’s $ 80 for a pass to get into any National Park to camp, access showers, etc. You only need one per car.”

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY 

A woman smiling and looking in front of her as she uses her credit card with her laptop.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“Contact your credit card company and ask them to place a note on your account about your planned travel. Include the states you plan to be in and the approximate time frame. 

When your card is denied at the gas pump because you’ve traveled through multiple states, you can call them and already have the note on the account.”

YOU NEED A LOT OF SLEEP

woman sleep, bed

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“You need a lot of sleep. You don’t want to sleep while driving.”

STAY OFF THE INTERSTATES 

Young woman portrait over grey background

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Stay off the interstates unless you’re trying to get somewhere in a hurry or someplace congested. The numbered state and United States highways are always exciting and full of memorable sights and experiences. At least in my experience, this is true west of the Mississippi.

Also, before you go, get an oil & oil filter change at the bare minimum and check the tread on your tires to ensure they’re ready.”

PACK WATER FOR FOUR PEOPLE

Portrait of young beautiful dark-haired woman wearing blue t-shirt drinking water at summer green park.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

“Water. Always have water with you for four people. A minimum of a 24-pack case. Plus, a weapon you are comfortable with.”

DON’T DRIVE DURING CERTAIN TIME PERIOD

people music car

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Do not try to drive around the District Of Columbia (DC) between 7 am-10 am or 3 pm-7 pm on a weekday. You will sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours and be miserable.

Plan to hit DC on a Saturday or Sunday for easy driving. If you must be in the area during the weekday, plan your travel hours accordingly, and either way, use the public transit to get into and out of the city for touristy sightseeing.”

CARRY A TOWEL

young woman with a towel on her head, rolling her eyes from boredom

Image Credits: Deposit Photos 

“Always make sure you have your towel.”

CARRY MORE MONEY

Portrait of surprised amazed man with Afro hairstyle wearing orange T-shirt holding euro banknotes, being shocked to win lottery. Indoor studio shot isolated on blue background.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Make sure you have 1.5 or even 2x more money than you need. You’ll need more because there are expenses you didn’t think about.”

TAKE NOTE OF ROAD SIGNS 

Young hispanic girl wearing casual clothes scared and amazed with open mouth for surprise, disbelief face

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“Take note of road signs. In many states, there are road signs with three-digit numbers you can call for the highway patrol. If you are lost, and the GPS (Global Positioning System) isn’t working or available, you can call them for help. I did this twice in Miami because the road system was confusing, and I took the wrong turn several times.”

TRAVEL WITH PEPPER SPRAY 

Puzzled mature female in blue dress shrugs shoulders as does not know answer, being clueless and uncertain.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“If you are all girls, I recommend traveling in pairs, especially if you are uncomfortable with a particular area. It may also be wise to have at least one canister of pepper spray. Better safe than sorry.”

12 Cities in the U.S. That Are a Total Nightmare to Live In (or Visit)

young pretty woman looking shocked, angry, annoyed or disappointed, open mouthed and furious

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Looking to relocate? Here are 12 cities in the US where you might want to avoid setting up roots. These cities are plagued by problems like high crime rates, poor infrastructure, and a lack of affordable housing. Read here.

15 Things We All Need to Stop Buying. It’s Total Waste Of Money

A beautiful young Caucasian woman with her hand in her hair.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

To save money, reduce clutter, and help the environment, here are 15 things we can all stop buying

15 “Non-Religious” Cults That Almost Feel Religious. Are You Guilty Of Being A Part Of Any?

Photo crazy astonished guy see incredible vacation sales discounts impressed, raise modern bright specs wear white clothes isolated over blue color background

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

So many fads are turning into some “divine” stuff people follow with an “almost religious” devotion. Here are 15 non-religious cults that feel like religious ones.

15 Physical Traits That Might Make You Less Dateable

Close up photo beautiful her she lady unexpected epic fail arms hands fingers near mouth bite teeth eyes full fear oh no expression wear casual white t-shirt clothes isolated violet purple background.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Physical attraction is an essential factor in many romantic relationships. However, it’s important to remember that everyone has different preferences. Read here. 

The Exodus: Why People Are Leaving Religion in Droves

Surprised and impressed brunette girl looking amazed and pointing fingers down.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Religion is a personal and complex topic, and there are many reasons why someone might turn their back on it. Read why people are leaving religion.

This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.