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  1. Default How much planning should I do for a road trip?


    Using the wonderful map center, I now know what I want to visit as I travel from the east to the west coast. But how much advance planning should I do???

    1) Should I book all the hotels/motels in advance or just book as I come near to the sights/towns I intend to visit?
    2) If I write down all the places I want to visit in the order I want to visit them and just guide myself via my Rand McNally 2009 Atlas, is that enough planning? Or should I use Google Maps to do the whole route? (or use a GPS instead?)

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I wouldn't bother with advance booking unless you want to stay in the national parks themselves or have a desire to stay in a particular hotel at a particular time. Anywhere else, you can generally find a walk-in unless there is a special event going on in the area.

    I would use all 3 methods as needed to keep your trip sorted out. Just don't overplan so you can be spontaneous if something catches your eye. This is also why you shouldn't (in my opinion) book everything in advance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Research v planning.

    Hello and welcome to RTA !

    There really is no right or wrong answer, it's what you are comfortable with that matters. Some people hit the road and just see where it takes them with no plan at all, others are more comfortable with knowing where they will be, what they will see, and where their bed is for the night. A balance somewhere in between is what I usually use, I book up popular spots that I plan to see to give me the security of staying where I would like. That also helps me keep on track time wise and to get me to the places and destination I am headed, in the time I have got available. In between all that, I keep an open book and everything becomes 'fair game' and is subject to change as I go along. The one thing I do do, is enjoy the researching, so that I have covered all bases and can make informed decisions along the way. Doing some research is a totally different ball game to setting your plans in stone, and looking outside of the 'Point 'A' to Point 'B' box will always throw up pleasant surprises.

    It doesn't matter how much you pack, knowledge is not a burden to carry ;-)

  4. Default

    Thank you everyone....

    1) Do you have any idea how much cash I should carry? I plan to mostly use my credit card if possible, so I thought to only bring a reasonable amount of cash (say $400) for emergencies or in case someone doesn't take plastic.
    2) Is it safe to sleep in rest areas? I've heard it's both safe & unsafe...

    Thanks in advance...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default tastes

    There's no hard/fast rule about how much cash to carry. It is good to carry some, in fact I've probably been guilty of not carrying enough with me (or sometimes not any). There are times where you'll certainly want it - for example it seems like the gold mine of great restaurants are the ones that are cash only because you know the food is good enough for people to ignore the inconvenience! Personally, it's rare if I'm carrying more than $100, but beyond that, its hard to ever be too far from a place that won't take plastic or at least have an atm available.

    Sleeping in rest areas is unsafe and often illegal. If you must sleep in your car, then you are much better off at a Truck Stop or similar area that is well lit and sees regular traffic. In general, I warn against new travelers planning to sleep in the car, as it usually isn't very comfortable and if you've got more than 1 person its rare to have enough room for more than one person to lay down. Some people can and do make it work, but it takes some significant planning.

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