Image taken by Sheenie of Just Nice Things
Every time I think about a big holiday I’m always drawn to the idea of a road trip across the USA and Canada. I’m a huge fan of the countries and have been lucky enough to explore the countries a few times over the past decade although I’ve barely scratched the surface.
I did a three week tour around California and Vegas which was incredible, I’ve done East Coast tours taking in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York alongside plenty of Canada such as Toronto, Quebec and Niagara Falls. But as you all know the country is absolutely huge so there’s so much to explore and even if I quit my job and permanently travelled around I doubt I’d see everything in my lifetime.
There’s so much I’d love to do such as the Rockies and polar bear spotting in Canada through to the national parks of America such as Death Valley, and of course, the deep south of New Orleans and Nashville are high on my list. I do think that a road trip is one of the best ways to explore a continent as large as North America with huge distances between destinations and where do you start when planning such a trip?!
This guide from Canadian Affair is a helpful look at how far away attractions are from the gateway airports in Canada such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto so you can easily pick where to start your road trip from.
Photo taken by Yaya at My Dreamality
The most important thing to do is have a plan. Work out exactly where you want to visit and how far each place is from one another so you know whether you might need a night’s stop in the middle or whether it’s a journey you can plough through remembering to factor in time for food and petrol stops, alongside visiting attractions on the way. If you’re doing a road trip the last thing you want to do is too much driving and not enough exploring. Milly from Mini Adventures agrees “Give yourself extra time getting from place to place. The USA is packed with quirky little roadside attractions perfect to get a slice of retro Americana, and it’d be a shame to miss out on these super cool stops because you’re rushing to get to the next big city!”
Not everyone agrees with me about pre-booking accommodation though as Sarah from Tobygoesbananas says “have an idea where you want to go, and maybe book accommodation in major cities but half the fun of a road trip is finding places to stay, discovering local attractions and seeing where the road takes you.”
Image taken by Mellissa at Fly, Drive, Explore
When pre-planning your trip make sure you that you “space out when you fuel up. Gas stations can be far apart in distance and you need to be aware of the size of the tank and what your gas pumping points are going to be in advance” which is great advice from Yaya James as I’d never have considered that.
Clare from Challenge Clare has a great money-saving tip from her San Francisco to Las Vegas trip to “book independently and not through an agent to save a fortune. We did 15 nights, including car hire and 2 prebooked trips for £1300 each in the school summer hols.”
Melissa from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover talks about the choice of the vehicle “When choosing a road trip vehicle, it may seem glamorous to pick a car like a Mustang convertible but think about this twice. There won’t be any space in the boot, and if you have passengers in the back they will be spending the whole time with their hands over their ears like our son did when we rented one in Florida. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen, no one wants to get a sunburnt face! Something more practical would be an SUV or family saloon car.”
Regardless of what car you choose make sure the tech work as Fiona from Savvy in Somerset says “Make sure your Sat Nav charge lead works BEFORE you leave the hire car place. We didn’t realize ours wasn’t compatible with the car until several hours into our journey. Luckily my husband had a power bank that charged it up a bit but we ended up doing a big chunk of the journey without it, which coupled with horrendous bad weather made for an incredibly stressful 12 hour drive and was probably the worst day of our honeymoon overall (apart from driving through the Mojave which was INCREDIBLE!). My husband is a really confident driver but it’s really put him off driving in the USA again.”
Sat Nav will come in really important if you happen to be there during wildfire season as Kim Long remembers during a trip around Oregon “you need to keep track of that as we had to change our route one day.”
When you’re out on the road remember driving itself is slightly different as Emma Drew says “It feels really weird, but unless otherwise stated with a road sign, you can turn right on a red light if you are clear to go. Pedestrians will have right of way so bear that in mind.”