Planning the Perfect Cross Country Road Trip

Planning the Perfect Cross Country Road Trip

In 2019, a AAA survey found that four out of 10 Americans planned on taking a family vacation, with just over half expecting to embark on a road trip. While a relatively short road trip doesn’t require much planning, a “perfect” cross country road trip does take a bit more effort. 

Here’s how to do a cross country road trip right, whether you want to enjoy a stress-free vacation, you’ve purchased one of the Charlotte houses for sale and are making a move from the west coast, or any other reason.

Plan Your Route

You’re going to have several different options to choose from as far as your route. First, determine how many days you have to travel – ideally, you won’t have to just pick the fastest route. While the interstates and major highways can get you to your endpoint quickly, country roads and scenic byways will allow you to see more of the best sights. For a more interesting trip, be sure the route you take occasionally includes some of them. Avoid driving too many hours each day or it won’t be any fun at all. Spending no more than about six hours a day behind the wheel is a good rule to follow.

Research Attractions

Do some research online to find attractions along your route that pique your interest. You might want to include a mix of popular options along with the more obscure, taking advantage of smartphone apps and guidebooks in addition to the Internet to discover what’s out there.


Planning the Perfect Cross Country Road Trip

If you’re planning your road trip during the peak travel season especially, it’s a good idea to book reservations for accommodation along the way well in advance. You don’t want to end up with no place to sleep, forced to drive much longer than you should. Once you’ve figured out the places that you plan to stop each night, research your options and make those reservations. You might want to consider staying in Airbnbs or similar types of rentals at least occasionally to take advantage of facilities most hotels don’t have like kitchens and even washer/dryers. 

Get Your Vehicle Serviced

The last thing you want to have happen on your road trip is a breakdown. You could potentially end up stuck in a remote area, in a small town where parts have to be ordered before your vehicle can be repaired. Or, if your tires are bad and you have a blowout, a serious accident could result. Ensure your safety and decrease the odds of losing time by having your vehicle serviced and fully checked out before you leave, including fluid levels and an oil change if necessary, tire tread/pressure, brakes, battery, windshield wipers, brake lights and headlights, hoses and belts. Be sure you have a spare tire and a jack too.


While you might have enough room in your car to bring more than what a flight would allow, packing light is a good idea for comfort on the road. Pack clothing that can be mixed and matched, and as noted, if you’ve booked accommodation at a place with laundry facilities, you won’t need near as many outfits anyway.

When driving across the country, there are often long stretches between cities without anywhere to pick up food and drink. Pack a cooler with some snacks and your favorite beverages so you don’t have to worry about being without for too long – plus, it can save you money, avoiding having to dine out for every meal. 

Jason Bucowski
Jason Bucowski