Tips for planning your next road trip


2. Leverage digital scheduling systems.

Among the variety of apps, websites, atlases, guides and other tools for hikers, we stand out:

Google Maps. Travelers consistently give the Google platform top marks. Both the app and website are free, and drivers select a starting point and destination and receive turn-by-turn, auto-generated route instructions. The app also lets you customize routes to avoid tolls or freeways, add detours, identify points of interest along the way, find alternative routes through traffic jams, and more. Kevin Revolinski, Madison, Wisconsin-based travel writer and author of Back roads and alleys of Wisconsin, describes Google Maps as an unrivaled blend of functionality and simplicity. “It’s ridiculous how easy it is to use,” he says.

Road travellers. For an even more comprehensive and targeted tool, consider the free Roadtrippers app and website, which boasts of planning 25 million trips totaling 16.9 billion miles.

Road books and atlases. “If the goal is to explore, just to see the lay of the land, I like the atlas,” says Revolinski. The visual route check on the page provides an overview of interesting sites that might be just off the road. And don’t forget the traditional guides, especially if you want to make castles in the air from your comfortable armchair.

Other practical applications. Once on the road, consider HotelTonight for last-minute accommodation deals; Waze, for updates on road and traffic conditions; and Spotify, for entertainment and information with music and podcasts, suggests Jessica Dunham, Phoenix-based writer and author of The Open Road: 50 best road trips in the United States.

3. Prepare the car.

“At AAA, we tell drivers to do a good inspection to reduce the risk of roadside emergencies and to take the car to a trusted mechanic to check the battery, motor and tires,” Molina says. The most common repairs at AAA-approved garages are electrical, especially those involving battery failure.

4. Prepare a roadside emergency kit.

Bring your driver’s license, registration and car insurance with you, of course. But don’t forget a road atlas, a mobile phone charger, a small amount of money and coins for tolls, a first aid kit, jumper cables, a spare wheel and a repair kit. tires, a gallon of drinking water per person and a cooler of non-perishable snacks, advises Dunham. It’s also a good idea to keep a blanket in the trunk if you’re traveling in the winter.

5. Put other stops on the route.

It can be too easy to focus on the final destination of the trip, at the risk of missing interesting stops along the way. For example, if you’re heading west to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, consider a side trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota to see the Crazy Horse Monument, Devil’s Tower, and Mount Rushmore, without forget the quaint local restaurants and bars. cities you can find if you take a little longer.

6. Plan a trip that focuses on the route, not the final stop.

Some of the best trips focus more on the road you’re traveling than the last stop. Classic trips include Route 66, of course; the Great Northern Route, which travels 3,600 miles along US Route 2 from Maine to Washington State; the Great River Road, whose 2,000 miles follow the Mississippi River from its source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico; and the Oregon Trail.

7. Be realistic about the total number of miles you will drive.

The distance you can travel on a given trip will vary depending on your personal needs and abilities, as well as the number of detours and stops you want to include. “In a 14-day trip, it’s reasonable to expect to be able to cover between 1,600 and 1,800 miles in total, and in some cases up to 2,000 miles,” says Dunham. “If you’re going on a trip of less than three days, count 200 to 300 miles.” Trips that primarily cross rural highways tend to cover more ground than those that focus on off-road and back roads. If you’re overambitious about the miles you want to cover, you run the risk of turning what could be a fun adventure into an ordeal for the butt.

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