With summer just around the corner, you might be itching to hit the road and embark on a grand adventure. The long, sun-soaked days of summer are the perfect time of the year to hop in the car and explore a different part of the country.
You may be dreaming of hiking and camping in national parks, or stopping at different towns along the way to brush up on U.S. history. Wherever you decide to go on your road trip, remember to come prepared to ensure your trip goes as hassle-free and smooth as possible.
1. Research a tentative route.
While there is something exciting about setting out with no true destination in mind, make a rough plan of where you might want to go and what you want to do and see. Are you hoping to traverse the U.S. and drive from coast to coast? Maybe you’re interested in cruising down the long stretch of the west coast or are wanting to stop at historical towns and explore the local music and food scenes along the way.
One of the best types of road trips in North America is one through national parks. Stop at parks such as Zion and Bryce Canyon in Nevada, which have desert landscapes filled with canyons and rock formations. Explore the lush wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, from Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, up through the rainforests and coasts of Olympic National Park, and into the snow-capped mountains and wildflower meadows in Washington State’s Mt. Rainier National Park.
Moreover, you could head south to California, where you can see the mountains and sequoia forest of Yosemite and the sand dunes and salt flats of Death Valley, a desert below sea level and one of the hottest places on earth. Hike through Marble Canyon and explore the oasis of Darwin Falls. Beware of the blistering heat at Death Valley National Park during the summer, though. You may consider stopping here on a shoulder season to beat the sun and maximize your outdoor time.
2. Purchase car insurance.
Research and choose a car insurance policy before heading out on your trip. Car insurance will provide you with peace of mind while on the road and will help cover the costs of any damage that may happen to your car as a result of collision or theft. Insurance can also provide roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown or trouble with the engine. In the event of unforeseen accidents, breakdowns, or repairs, different types of car insurance can help cover any and all of these incidents.
Explore different coverage options through various auto insurers and find a coverage policy and a deductible that fits your needs. Comprehensive coverage is one of the best plans you can purchase as it will cover accidental and malicious damage, theft, weather damage, and third-party damage. Look for auto insurers that provide coverage nationwide so you will be prepared anywhere you are on your trip.
3. Talk to locals for tips.
As you’re planning your trip, you’ll likely be in need of some inspiration for where to stop along your driving route. While researching travel blogs and magazines is useful, you’ll get the best information from locals.
Talk to friends and family members who are from the area, and reach out to new acquaintances you meet along the way for insider tips. This will help you decide what time of the year is optimal to visit certain sites, learn about lesser-known hiking routes and campgrounds, and find the best local restaurants and breweries to visit.
4. Be prepared for all events.
Make a road trip essentials packing list and stick to it. Download maps, information for campsites, and hiking routes ahead of time so you have an idea of what’s available and will also be covered in case of losing cellphone service. Pack lightly but with clothing for different types of weather and activities. If you are planning to camp and hike, bring appropriate gear including a headlamp, backup batteries, water purification tablets, sunscreen, a first aid kit, and hiking boots.
Bring plenty of water and healthy, non-perishable snacks. All of this preparation will help give you peace of mind while on the road. Equally important, download a phenomenal playlist of road trip tunes and get ready to unwind, disconnect, and have fun!