Skip to Content

5 Tips to Take Before a Cross-Country Road trip in the USA

If you’re thinking of taking a cross-country trip through the United States, you’re in for a treat of a lifetime. Without leaving the country, this is the ultimate adventure. Just make sure to note the right tips to take before starting your cross-country road trip in the USA.

You’ll trek through varied terrain through all kinds of weather conditions – and the sights you’ll see will blow your mind. We may not have any of the “official” world wonders, but there are sights that you definitely won’t want to miss.

But there’s a right way and a wrong way to take a cross-country road trip in the USA. Actually, there are a lot of wrong ways to take this trip.

But these five tips will help you avoid the pitfalls and prepare for your best cross-country road trip.

1. Prepare your vehicle

Your vehicle is like your lifeline on a road trip, so you’re going to want to make sure it’s ready for the long haul. To avoid any potential pitfalls, such as breakdowns on the road, you’re going to want to ensure your vehicle is ready. Here are a few things you should do before the trip.

  • Handle any maintenance – Unless you just got one, it’s a good idea to get an oil change, you’re going to want to get one before you go on your trip. But you’ll also want to take care of any other vehicle service issues that may be coming up. If it’s time for a tune-up or to change your air filters, have these things done.
  • Change and/or rotate your tires – Check your tires to see if the tread is wearing thin. If you need help figuring this out, you can take your car to a tire shop for evaluation. But even if your tires don’t need replacing, you’ll want to have them rotated and aligned before a cross-country road trip.
  • Clean your car – Now is a great time to clean your car for your upcoming travels. You’re going to want to remain organized for your trip, and you definitely don’t need extra junk kicking around in the back seat.You might also want to install a set of car seat covers. Not only will they keep your interiors clean, but they will protect your car and give you a more comfortable way of traveling.
  • Secure roadside assistance – Roadside assistance will prove to be invaluable on your cross-country road trip. So if you don’t have a plan already, look into one with AAA or your insurance company. If you get a flat tire, you’re going to want to know who to call.

2. Map out a loose plan

You don’t necessarily need to set your plans in stone, but you’re going to want to have an idea of where you’re going. Make a loose plan for the spots you’ll hit and the roads you’ll take. Look to get off the highways whenever possible to have the most unique and unforgettable experience possible.

If you need inspiration, check out this cross-country road trip route.

3. Anticipate problematic areas

Google Maps will tell you if there’s traffic in a specific area, or you can use an app like Waze. But you’ll also want to plan your route beforehand to see if there are any road closures.

Check out your route before you set out on your trip, and then do a quick check before you leave each day. This way, you can easily reroute from the comfort of your own home whenever necessary.

Additionally, there may be some times when you can’t anticipate a specific problem. To account for the unknown, be sure to leave some room in your schedule.

4. Plan entertainment for everyone

Especially if you have kids, entertainment is an important part of the equation.

If you have youngins, you’re not going to want to leave them up to their devices. When kids get bored, they often act out.

So try to plan snacks and activities for every moment of your trip. You can account for a few naptimes, but make sure you have enough planned that no one can get bored. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Create a road trip playlist – Add everyone’s favorite songs in a mix. This way, everyone can connect with at least some of the songs, and you’ll encourage singing at the top of your lungs. These are some of the best road trip memories.
  2. Make a list of road trip games – You may want to play some of the old classic games, like punch buggy or eye spy.
  3. Remain as flexible as possible

If you’re a planner, you’re going to have to loosen the reigns a bit.

We’ve already touched on some unforeseen circumstances, but you really need to leave room for anything.

You’re going to experience so many different things, and you may find one or two that really move you. If you want to stay longer in one place, you should be able to do so.

To make this happen, try to have a loose idea of where you’ll stay each night (and how much it’ll cost), but don’t make hotel reservations in advance.

You simply won’t know where you’ll be each night.

Jeff Campbell