If it’s your first time traveling to a new place or you’re an expert road tripper, this article is meant for you. You feature the best cities and destinations in America, and the top ten must-see places in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and beyond.
What to Do Once You’ve Arrived at Your Destination?
1. Finding a Place to Stay
Humans sleep, which is a fun fact. So, unless you’re a robot, you’ll need somewhere to rest your head. So, yes, it’s time to discuss lodging options.
Accommodations might fill up fast, particularly if you’re going to a popular tourist attraction. For example, during Florida’s high season, a Pack Hacker team member contacted to arrange a campground a month in advance. The lady on the other end of the line chuckled. At the time, the booking window was six months away. (It was, after all, a popular camping spot.) So, if you’re heading to a popular destination, be sure to book your lodgings well in advance.
Camping in the Everglades is a unique experience.
It’s essential to keep in mind that you won’t be able to schedule anything ahead of time. Some campgrounds, for example, are first-come, first-served. You’ll need to do some research to see whether these locations are popular enough to merit waking up at 5 a.m. and driving at top speed to get there early, sufficient to obtain a space. Often, there is a phone number you may contact on the day of your arrival to inquire about how rapidly the area in question is filling up. If you’re staying somewhere that is first-come, first-served, it’s good to have a backup site (or two) in mind.
If you’re going on a short vacation, it’s simple to plan—and even book—your lodgings ahead of time and for the length of your stay. However, you won’t be able to reserve accommodations for every night you’ll be gone on a lengthy vacation. Even if you plan a couple of days out, it will assist with morale and peace of mind. This is particularly true when you aren’t accustomed to being on the road at the start of the journey. Going from living in a house with a bed to figuring out where you’re going to sleep every night might be difficult. Take it slowly at first.
Do you have any pets? Many locations welcome pets; just check the regulations ahead of time.
Let’s go particular now that we’ve gotten the general advice out of the way. We’ll divide this section down into bullet points to make it easier to understand. The following are some of the most typical spots to stay when road tripping:
2. If you wish to sleep indoors
Family or friends This is an excellent opportunity to see your second cousin twice removed, who lives in a mansion with a pool. Just make sure you let your cousin know ahead of time. And, while it should go without saying, we’ll say it anyway: be a courteous visitor. Offer to prepare meals, clean up after yourself, pay for groceries, and express gratitude to your host.
Platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and others Through these platforms, you may stay on a boat, on the 40th floor of a city apartment, in a magnificent cabin on top of a mountain, and so on. You may also opt to stay in a shared Airbnb to save money.
CouchSurfing If you’re unfamiliar with CouchSurfing, it’s a website that links you with individuals willing to share their “couch” with you. (We use the term “couch” in a colloquial meaning.) Most of the time, it’s an extra bed.) The most significant thing is that it’s completely free! It also introduces you to folks who are (often) interested in hanging out with you.
Hostels/Hotels/Motels/Hotels/Hostels/Hostels/Hostels/Ho Is it necessary to go into detail?
3. If you wish to camp
Campsites Campgrounds may be found in National Parks, State Parks, County Parks, Metro Parks, and private businesses. If you don’t want to camp but still want to visit these areas, they often provide cabins for rent.
HipCamp HipCamp is a camping-specific version of Airbnb. You’ll find anything from a random patch of land to a goat farm to a backyard to an intricate set up in a bit of home as a place to stay.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Forest Service (NFS) manage land in the United States. Generally, you may disperse camp for free (!) on BLM land and in National Forests around the country. (Similar locations may often be found in different nations.) For example, consider Crown Land in Canada. If you’re going on a road trip outside of the United States, it’s worth checking into.) However, owing to a variety of considerations, including environmental sensitivity, specific sites may be restricted to camping. Make sure you follow any signs that indicate this.
Keep in mind that these “campsites” are pretty basic. There are no defined sites, no running water, and no restrooms. You may not have a pleasant time if you’re not a seasoned camper. Finally, show respect for these locations. They don’t have trash cans where you can throw your granola bar wrappers, so bring them with you. Leave it in good condition for the next visitor (even if that guest is a bear).
You are also not required to “camp” in the usual sense at none of these locations. You can always sleep in your vehicle if you don’t have a tent.
4. If you wish to sleep in your automobile
We discussed this at the beginning of this book, but sleeping in your vehicle may save you money if you’re okay with the notion. Just remember to trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe parking in a given place, leave! (In the following portion of this tutorial, we’ll go into safety in more detail.) Additionally, sleeping in your vehicle may be unlawful in certain regions. So, before you park for the night, make sure you do your study and understand the legislation.
Parking lots at Walmart and Sam’s Club Yes, it is correct. In the parking lots of Walmart and Sam’s Club, you may park your vehicle and sleep. Sam Walton is said to have put it up personally, although it’s uncertain if this is factual or merely an urban legend. All of this being said, not all establishments allow this, so phone ahead. The benefit of this choice is that a large portion of Walmart shops are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring that you have access to a restroom whenever nature calls.
Parking lots at Cabela’s Again, a lot depends on where you are. As a result, call ahead.
Truck stops and rest stops They’re handy since they’re just off the highway, allowing you to stop off, get some rest, and get back on the road fast. It’s worth noting that this isn’t possible at all rest spots.
In a neighborhood where parking is permitted on the street Sleeping in your vehicle outside of specified zones is illegal in several cities and regions around the United States and the globe. So, before you go, research into the local rules. You’ll also want to double-check if street parking is permitted in the area you’ve chosen; otherwise, you may find yourself with a ticket on your windshield. To be honest, sleeping in a stranger’s vehicle in a strange area may be a stressful experience. Expect a restless night’s sleep, depending on your personality.
Some RV parks and campsites frown on people sleeping in anything that isn’t an RV or trailer, but most don’t seem to mind.
You can discover somewhere to camp and/or park your vehicle using a variety of websites and applications. They are as follows:
If you want to go on a road trip with an RV but don’t want to own one, check out RVshare, which is similar to Airbnb for RVs.
5. Keeping Yourself Safe on the Road
You can’t completely remove the danger, but there are certain things you can do to reduce it. Listen to your instincts above everything else, even if the safest option isn’t the most convenient. Yes, traveling another hour after arriving at what was intended to be your resting site is inconvenient, but if it doesn’t seem right, it’s worth it. Bottom line: if you’re uncomfortable in a place, don’t second-guess yourself; simply go!
Remember to evaluate each circumstance and determine whether or not you believe the associated danger is worth it.
However, there are a few more things we take to ensure our safety:
Make sure folks know where you’re heading. Give your friends and relatives back home a rough notion of where you are and where you’re heading, particularly if you’re traveling somewhere without phone coverage. Another advantage is that if you disappear off the grid for a few days, your friends and family won’t panic.
Don’t depend on your phone to get around. When traveling by car, it’s quite typical to lose service (depending on your route, of course). As a result, be sure you’re not screwed if that occurs. If you are lost in the middle of nowhere without service, have a paper map or atlas in your vehicle.
Change drivers and/or be aware of your boundaries. Yes, there will be dull parts of your journey that you will want to push through. However, driving when bleary-eyed and buzzed on coffee is not a good idea. Take turns driving if you’re going with a group of folks who can drive. If not, look for a safe area to pull over and relax. Also, if you’re the only one driving, avoid planning your itinerary around lengthy journeys.
Determine if you feel safe driving at night. Some people advise against driving at night, but it is a matter of personal taste. Remember that driving at night is safer in locations with more developed roads and street lighting. Night blindness, sharp bends on steep mountain roads, animals, and other things that go bump in the night might all be hidden by a badly lighted road, not to mention night blindness, sharp twists on curvy mountain roads, and other things that go bump in the night.
Examine your lodging options. Depending on how comfortable you are in a certain region, it may be a good idea to arrive to your resting destination during the day so you can inspect it. If you’ve never been to that region or are unfamiliar with it, this is true regardless of your accommodations, including campgrounds, Airbnbs, hotels, and all of the possibilities in the above Accommodations section (save maybe your cousin’s home). That isn’t always the case, however. If you’re planning to sleep at a well-known National Park campground, for example, you’ll probably be alright turning up in the dark.
When you get the opportunity, get some petrol. Nobody wants to be frightened about running out of petrol (or to actually run out of gas). Especially not late at night in a remote region with no cell coverage and the next town miles distant. Furthermore, buying petrol in more populous locations where there is competition is typically less expensive. Try not to get below 12 or 14 of a tank, depending on where you are.
Make sure you have a first-aid kit (and know where it is!). It may seem to be overkill…until you need it.
Research. Before you go, try to acquire a sense for the region you’ll be visiting (if you aren’t already acquainted). Learn the local regulations, laws, and traditions, as well as what kind of crimes are widespread in that location. But don’t overdo it. If you simply look at the numbers, any area might seem frightening.
Have a backup plan in place. If you arrive at your Airbnb/campsite/wherever and feel insecure, it’s a good idea to have a number of backup sleeping sites in mind. You’ll also be less inclined to second-guess yourself and more ready to simply go if you have a backup plan in mind.
It’s a good idea to make sure you’re happy with your lodging arrangements to begin with to reduce the need for this. For example, if you’re going on a solo road trip, you could feel uncomfortable camping and prefer the safety of a hotel.
Keep an eye on the weather. For example, don’t go on a road trip to the Florida Keys during hurricane season. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for fires, tornadoes, thunderstorms (if you’re sleeping in a tent, and since rain isn’t much fun), and so on.
Make sure your doors are locked. Okay, this seems to be self-evident. However, in the midst of dragging your belongings into a hotel/Airbnb/campsite, it’s easy to forget. Keep in mind that everything you possess (or live with while traveling) is in your automobile.
Be ready to get in your car and drive away. By “prepared,” we don’t only mean the courage to swallow your pride; we also imply being ready to drive away. Know where your keys are and whether or not the driver’s seat can be freed quickly.
Your windows should be tinted. Tinted windows not only help block out the light for a more pleasant drive, but they also keep your belongings (and you!) hidden. People will be less likely to rob you if they can’t see all of the valuables you have in your vehicle. It’s worth noting that different areas have different restrictions about how dark your windows may be tinted.
Park in a well-lit area. If you park in the middle of the street under a street light, people are less likely to bother you or your belongings. Whether you’re parking your vehicle and sleeping somewhere else—or sleeping in your car—this suggestion applies. It might be tempting to park in the darkest, quietest part of a parking lot (in the hopes of getting a better night’s sleep), but avoid it.
Make sure your phone is fully charged. Just go for it.
Renter’s insurance is something to think about. Depending on your coverage, everything taken from your automobile may be covered. (This may also be covered by homeowner’s insurance.) If something goes missing, the previously stated packing list will assist you to keep track of what was taken. It’s difficult to keep track of all of your possessions in your thoughts.
Take further measures. Keep a can or two of bear spray with you if you’re going to a remote location with a lot of bears, or if you just want to be safe. However, use caution while using it. Bear spray is no laughing matter. You don’t want to use it in a confined environment by mistake.
How to Stay Healthy (and Clean) While Traveling?
It’s easy to get into unhealthy behaviors when on vacation, as it is with most holidays. But don’t lose sight of your health. It’s tempting to live off fast food and energy drinks, but even if your road trip is short for a weekend, this may be taxing on your health. We’re not suggesting you shouldn’t eat fast, unhealthy food. Milkshakes, fries, and burgers are all good road trip foods. But make an effort to balance it up with healthy options. Drink plenty of water and eat some fruits and vegetables.
Also, make an effort to get your blood flowing. Take a minute to stroll around and stretch during rest stations. Moving is not only excellent for you, but it will also help you avoid cramps (a common side effect of sitting in the car for long periods). Try to include deliberate exercises into lengthier car trips. We’ve published a full blog article on working out while traveling, so check it out for more information.
Keep your automobile as clean as possible in terms of hygiene! This advice is so important to us that we felt it deserved an exclamation point. As quickly as possible, get rid of food wrappers and packaging. Seal food containers, ensure sure drink tops are tight to minimize spillage and avoid eating messy foods while driving. It’s far more pleasant to sit in a clean, odor-free vehicle. If you’ll be on the road for an extended period of time, we also recommend giving your vehicle a full wash down and vacuuming.
That’s basically all you need to know if you’re going on a short vacation. However, if your road trip will last a few weeks or longer, you’ll want to think of a few extra things. Including:
Laundry is the worst, as far as we’re concerned. So you’d think that doing laundry without quick access to a washer and dryer—or a familiar laundromat—would be twice as bad. It is, however, shockingly simple. Mainly because you’ll (presumably) have fewer clothes to wash on the road (and lower standards for how clean your clothes must be before you put them back on).
First and foremost, consider purchasing a few items of specialized travel apparel with antimicrobial or anti-stink characteristics. For example, we love Merino wool clothing so much that we wrote a whole book and collaborated with Wool & Prince to produce a range of travel-themed Merino wool clothes. Clothes designed to “fight the funk” don’t need as much washing as less technological equivalents.
And as we indicated at the start of this book, it’s a good idea to separate acceptable attire for inside a restaurant from clothing for traveling for twelve hours and then sleeping in your vehicle. Then, you’ll still be able to smell great when you need to without washing laundry all of the time.
However, you can’t delay doing laundry indefinitely. Fortunately, washers and dryers are regularly found within Airbnbs (double-check the ad), and laundry service is usually provided at hotels and motels. So if you’re staying with friends or relatives, you may use their washer and dryer. Furthermore, most cities have laundromats—some even provide inexpensive laundry service—so you won’t have to spend the whole day there.
If you’re going on a road trip through really rural locations, you may want to consider hand-washing your belongings. While not required, accessories such as the Scrubba Wash Bag may assist you in getting your garments extra clean.
Finally, we recommend bringing your washing detergent. You won’t have to worry about whether it’ll be available at the laundry or wherever you’re staying. Dry soap is preferable to liquid soap since it won’t make a huge mess if it spills.
Showers: If you spend most of your time at hotels or Airbnbs, you’ll be OK showering. However, if you want to spend most of your vacation camping, you may need to think outside the box.
Showers are available at specific campgrounds, and if they are, they will typically promote them online. You may also call and inquire whether a phone number is listed. These showers may be expensive (and sometimes only take pennies as payment), so prepare ahead. It’s devastating to get your toiletry pack out, put on your shower shoes, and sling a towel over your shoulder to discover you’ll need quarters to turn on the water. On the other hand, you may go to these campgrounds on purpose if you need to clean up. For a healthy reset, try staying at an Airbnb or hotel every couple of weeks in the same line.
In addition, if you’re desperate, you may shower at truck stops. However, since it seems strange to do in practice—and some of these locations are rigorous about just serving truckers—we don’t encourage depending on truck stop showers.
You can consider purchasing a gym membership from a well-known chain for more extended vacations, which permits you to visit any of their facilities (for example, a Planet Fitness Black Card). Showering at a gym is an excellent idea since the facilities are typically clean and have good water pressure and heat (not always accurate for campsite showers). You can also squeeze in a brief exercise.
You may clean off using bath wipes to extend the duration between showers. But, eventually, you’ll have to accept that you’ll smell like a mix of B.O., campfire, sunscreen, and bug spray. Everything is a part of the adventure.
More Advice for Road Trips
Because not everything we have to say neatly falls into categories, the remainder of our advice isn’t organized by theme. They are, nonetheless, crucial.
Keep a close eye on the posted speed limit. Speeding is bad for the gas economy generally, but if you’re driving through the back roads of somewhere, you could come upon a town where the speed limit drops from 50 to 30 in an instant. As numerous crew members can confirm, cops love to pull you over for that.
Make contact with others. People are, for the most part, friendly. Solicit assistance when you need it. A Pack Hacker team member once got lost in a rural location (without a paper map since this helpful tip hadn’t been produced yet) and made the cliched ask-for-directions-at-a-gas-station move. Almost the whole town—nearly everyone inside the petrol station—assisted her in getting to her destination safely. People are also a terrific source of information about lovely local places to eat, shop, play, etc. Just don’t reveal your entire schedule to strangers #safetyfirst.
Try to eat and play in your local area. Choosing local businesses will allow you to understand the place better while also supporting the local economy. Plus, learning about your travels is a lot of fun. Take part in National Park ranger programs, tours, and Airbnb experiences. You’ll learn a lot from them. (Well, for the most part.) Unfortunately, they’re not always winners.)
Consider doing a trial run (if you are going on a more extended trip). This is only true for longer journeys. If you’re just going for the weekend, you’ll be OK. It’ll be over in two or three days. Don’t worry; you’ll be OK. Take a week or two off on a lengthy journey and assess what works and doesn’t, what you use and don’t. You’ll be able to fine-tune your setup before your big trip. However, bear in mind that no matter how well prepared you are, not everything will go as planned.
Pause for a moment. If you’re on a long-distance road trip and need to work to support yourself, take a week or two off to enjoy your journey without worrying about where you’ll find WiFi next.
Things are sure to go wrong. They’ll simply do it. Maintain a flexible mentality.
Simply leave. You have to let go of the rules at some point, except that you’re as prepared as possible and simply go.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I plan a road trip in 2022?
A: You can enter your starting and ending location and the dates you want to travel. The application will then tell you which countries are nearby for each date of your t and what time zone they operate in.
How do you plan an ultimate road trip?
A: To plan an ultimate road trip, you need to know how much time is available for the journey. Then figure out what vacation destinations are near enough and affordable. Next, look up reviews and user ratings on each place that sounds like an excellent spot to visit while also finding out more information about them online (like their climate or if they have any tourist attractions). Then check whether any events are going on during your planned travel dates—events sometimes offer discounts! Finally, once everything looks promising, start planning exactly where you’ll go when looking at maps of nearby cities or states/territories so that you don’t spend too long driving around aimlessly.
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