RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

How to Plan a Great Road Trip

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4. Put your trip together. This is the fun part! Once you've amassed a pile of ideas and information about routes, destinations, and places to stay and eat, you can start putting the puzzle pieces together. Once again, our RoadTrip Forum can come in handy. Let's say you've sketched out a trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco in December. A quick post asking for advice would bring you the helpful news that your route through Yosemite won't work. Tioga Pass is closed in winter. You've just been protected from a 300-mile detour. You can also find out about cool events and attractions that fly under the radar of national media. Did you know, for example, that Lake Isabella, California holds a Turkey Buzzard Festival in September, or that there's a "World Famous" Gopher Hole Museum not too far from Calgary, Alberta?

5. Make sure your vehicle is adequately equipped, and be prepared for emergencies. Whether you're traveling by car, RV, truck, bike, motorcycle, or sit-down lawnmower, your road trip will be smoother if it's in excellent mechanical shape. Depending on your route and destination, carry appropriate emergency supplies, and consider getting a CB radio. Even though cell phones have become ubiquitous, there are still plenty of areas where they don't work. A properly installed CB will always work, which is why truckers still use them and police still monitor them. Learn about weather and road conditions for the areas where you'll be driving. Do you know what to do if tornadoes start touching down around you? Have you ever driven in snow, or on a mountain road? There's a state highway in Washington that's a beach. Is it safe to drive on sand in an ordinary car? What about an RV? Will you need four-wheel drive on the route you've chosen? Make safety a part of your planning, and you'll reduce the chances that "acts of God" will interfere with your trip. One of the nation's leading experts on defensive driving write a weekly column for RoadTrip America: Drive Safe with Uncle Bob.

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