Need advice and info
Hey guys, I'm planning a road trip around the country and into six Canadian provinces after I graduate college in december. Tentatively, I'm planning on leaving around May or so. Right now, it looks like it'll take me six months to complete. I'm heading from alabama to out West and up the pacific coast and then into Canada and the upper midwest and then Canada again and then down the East Coast. I've allotted for food, lodging, gas, and several hundred dollars extra to that. The longest road trip I've been on before is 11 days up and down the East Coast.
What are some things I should take into consideration for the trip? I'm planning on staying at campsites and will probably stay away from the Interstate most of the time. Any info you can offer is appreciated!
Hi Mark -
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
First recommendation I have is to get yourself a membership with the AAA. Aside from emergency road service, AAA members have free access to a huge offering of maps and publications.
A good USA map (that of course extends up into Canada) can serve as your base map. Regional maps (Southwest, Northwest) are okay, but you'll find the individual state and provincial maps offer the best detail for locating campgrounds and sightseeing opportunities.
Best thing is to visit an AAA office and ask for the maps, Tour Books and Campbooks covering the areas where you will be traveling. Most likely, you'll leave with a box-full rather than a bag. But remember, it's all free once you join!
Next is the subject of logistics. A good rule of thumb to remember is try avoiding major national parks on holidays and weekends in the summer. Many national parks have short tourist seasons, so the summer months are apt to be very crowded. Hit the national parks on weekdays, and stay in the vicinity of the cities on the weekend (this has the added bonus of avoiding workday traffic).
Dress for summer, but be prepared to layer your clothing with additional garments when you're in the mountains or as you travel north. Subfreezing nighttime temperatures are not uncommon in the west even during the middle of summer.
One final thought....don't stay off the interstates just for the sake of avoiding them. Use them to your advantage. For example, in any trip out west you'll have hundreds of miles of flat, open coutry. Use the interstates to get across these areas quickly. Save the lesser roads for the truly scenic areas.