Taking an epic road trip is one thing that everyone should do at least once. Even if you don't drive, you can go with someone else or even book onto a group tour. You can take a road trip anywhere you want. But it's the vast and sprawling countries that can make for some of the best trips. For example, Australia and Canada are both great choices for a road trip. One of the most legendary road trip destinations has to be the USA. There are several famous road trip routes to explore, or you can just set off in any direction. If you're considering a great American road trip, there are few things you need to think about before you go.
Organise Your Travel Documents
Any international trip requires thought about how to get into the country. Sometimes, it's as easy as turning up with your passport. However, if you're a Brit travelling to the US, there's a bit more work involved. You'll need to apply for an ESTA visa waiver, which says that you don't need a visa to get into the country. It sounds a bit like applying for a visa, but it's an easier process. You can do it online to make it quick and easy. Try the Official ESTA website, for example. The process shouldn't take long, and you can receive your ESTA quickly. It will last you two years, or until your passport expires, so you don't need to apply again if you recently got one.
As for other documents, you will need to show your driver's licence when you hire a car. You should be fine to use your British licence, although some people like to have an international one. You should make sure you have any other important documents too, such as travel insurance and medical information.
Select Your Route
Of course, you have to decide where you're going to go. The US is so big that it can be difficult to choose a route to follow. If you want to make it a bit easier, you can start with some of the famous road trip routes. For example, there's Route 66, possibly the most famous American road trip of all. If you're looking to see as much of the US as possible, going coast to coast is a great choice. You can start and end wherever you want. If you want to travel one continuous route, you could pick Route 20 from Newport, Oregon to Boston or take Route 6 in the south. Or you can create your own itinerary to ensure you get to see whatever you want.
Sort Out Vehicle Hire
You're going to need a vehicle for your road trip. You may be able to arrange to pick it up in one place and drop it off in another. So if you only want to go one-way, you can fly in and out of different cities. The big question is what sort of vehicle you want to hire. A standard car will get you from A to B, but you will need somewhere to stay at night. If you hire a camper or motorhome, however, you can also stay at campgrounds. But if you have a larger vehicle, you are going to have to think about where you can park it. Perhaps you even want to do your road trip by motorbike instead.
Once you have decided on your mode of transport, you need to arrange to hire it. It's better to sort it out before you leave to ensure you get what you want. Do some research into different hire firms to find the right one. If you're under 25, be careful, as some firms may not hire to you. However, many will hire out cars to anyone over 18. Compare prices carefully to get the best deal, and remember to take out insurance. Even if you already have travel insurance (which you should), you need insurance for the vehicle too.
Study the Rules of the Road
Driving in the US shouldn't be too confusing. However, there are differences, and it's important to be aware of them. To begin with, if you hire a car, it is likely to be automatic. While manual vehicles are available, automatic transmissions are the standard. There are some rules of the road you'll need to be aware of across the country and in particular locations. For example, America doesn't really do roundabouts. Instead, they have intersections that can get busy and confusing. Because they can become congested, you are usually allowed to turn right on a red light, as long as it is safe. However, you can't do this in New York City. Give yourself a quick crash course on some of the rules of the road before driving in the US for the first time.
Think About Accommodation
Your road trip might be a few days long, a few weeks or even a couple of months. You can stay for up to 90 days with an ESTA. You should think about your accommodation options along the way. What's available to you will depend on where you're going. You should look along the route you want to take to see what's there. There might be campgrounds, hotels or perhaps hostels. You're likely to find plenty of motels and cheap hotel chains, which can be very useful. However, perhaps you don't want to stay in a hotel or motel every night.
Consider How to Eat Along the Way
Apart from somewhere to sleep, eating is going to be one of your most important things on your journey. Some routes will allow you to stop at a diverse range of places. Others will have you picking up processed snacks at gas stations and eating fast food. You might want to take this into account when you choose your route. For the most part, you will be able to stop in towns and cities that offer you plenty of choice. But remember that it could be expensive because without a kitchen you'll have to eat out all the time.
Your epic American road trip could be the best adventure you ever have. Make it even better by being well prepared.