How to Plan A Cross-Country Road Trip Itinerary in 13 Steps

by | Last updated May 3, 2022

Road trips are among the most American family get-aways. With a country as immense as the U.S., occupants have since a long time ago thought that it was heartfelt and appealing to get in the vehicle and go through possibly weeks of exploring their country.

How to Plan A Cross-Country Road Trip Itinerary in 13 Steps

Regardless of whether you’re taking off for a couple of hours or setting out on an unbelievable cross-country drive, these tips will assist the fight with offing weariness, eliminate arguments, and protect you. Let’s explore how to plan a cross-country road trip itinerary and the must-have essentials you need to grab for a comfortable & safe trip on a budget.

how to plan a cross country road trip

1.Plan the Traveling Style

Whether you’re going with your own family or old buddies, each individual has a specific travel style. Some are inclined toward an itemized plan, so they realize what’s in store, while others like to settle on choices during the trip. One individual might want to stop at each store shop that looks engaging, while another may be keeping his eyes stripped for grill joints.

Parents may like to take pictures at each picturesque spot, while the children need to race past them all to arrive at the following lake or carnival. If you realize a friend’s style will make you insane, remember that the nearby bounds will compound the situation. Plan a more limited tour with individuals different than your style.

2.Plan The Route in Advance

Sort out how long you have for travel and where you need to go. However, don’t just plot out the quickest course from guide A toward point B. While significant thruways and highways rapidly take you from one city to another and state to state, picturesque byways and region streets manage the cost of the best sights and beautiful attractions. So, ensure your course periodically digresses to incorporate some of them. Look at America’s Byways site and amazing scenic destinations along the way.

Don’t set an excessively aggressive plan. The outing won’t be any fun if you’re driving 10 hours per day and don’t stop to see anything on the way. Plan on a limit of five or six hours out of each day in the driver’s seat. At last, bring a current guide, notwithstanding any online GPS options. Each is a decent reinforcement to the next, as none is secure.

You ought to have a smart thought of what you’d prefer to do and see on your route, alongside what stops you’d like to make. Not exclusively will this offer assistance with the financial plan appropriately, yet it will likewise help you sort out how long you’ll require. Individuals, in some cases, fail to remember how large the U.S. truly is and misconceive what amount of time it will require for them to make a trip from Guide A to Point B.

Best routes for a road trip across the US

3.Prepare Financially

When going on a road trip across America, it’s imperative to make a spending plan for every single essential cost. Along these lines, you’ll know precisely how much cash you need to spend on food, gas, and lodgings before taking off. If you’re going with different grown-ups, you’ll need to settle on a careful spending plan for the outing.

what is the estimated cost for a road trip across the USA

Don’t ruin your outing by worrying about cash or running out of money during the trip. That implies a little work before setting out. Understand how much your housing costs, just as confirmation expenses for attractions you intend to see. Use planning applications to ascertain your driving distance decide your estimated gas charge (add tank or two for getting lost or deciding to veer off from your arranged course). Don’t neglect to incorporate the expense of any tolls you know you’ll go through.

4.Get Your Car Ready

Have you checked your vehicle of late? On the off chance that you intend to drive your vehicle, make certain to have it adjusted preceding setting out on a long journey. Liquid levels, tire pressures, and brakes ought to be checked. Likewise, you ought to ensure that lights, tech highlights, and the vehicle battery are working effectively.

Deal with your vehicle like a piece of the family. Indeed, treat it better than that. This is, in a real sense, your method for getting 3,000+ miles on your cross-country trip and the main piece to your journey. We suggest getting a check-up and oil change partially through, as this is plenty of miles to be put on your ride at the same time.

Pack sufficient ropes and power adapters to control the entirety of the phones, GPS tools, and other gadgets you might need to bring, and sort out where those strings ought to be directed before you lose them all in the ravine between the front seats and the middle comfort. In conclusion, assign a particular receptacle or sack for junk, and this helps keep your inside clean and your car quiet.

Nothing’s more terrible than going on a road in a foul, rotten vehicle, so cleaning the inside ought to be a need before you set off. Give close consideration to anything you regularly contact: seats, floor mats, stockpiling regions, and dashboard controls. The last thing you need to do is to dump a cup in your lap since it has adhered to the grime in the lower part of the cup holder.

Ensure the storage compartment is spotless, so it will not harm your gear or any gifts you get going. Remember likewise to give the outside a decent wash before you leave. Bugs and bird crap are famous for eating paint, and you’ll be experiencing a ton of those on the open road.

5.Think of Entertainment Options

The ideal approach to making a long cross-country tour pass quicker is by tuning in to lively music and engaging digital broadcasts. Thus, before you head out and about, make certain to assemble a playlist of your main tunes. Remember that you may lose radio signals and phone signals while driving. You are downloading the hear-able amusement before the tour starts guarantees that you’ll have the option to tune in to music and digital broadcasts all through the whole journey.

There will be a lot of time for music, so ensure you’ve downloaded a few playlists to your cell phone (and remember the USB link). It’s savvy to look at nearby radio and hear the sort of music you presumably wouldn’t tune in to back home. Indeed, even your main tunes can get old inevitably. To separate the monotony, take a stab at tuning in to a webcast. Regardless of whether you need to gain proficiency with another expertise or become mixed up in a thrill ride, there’s something for everybody.

cross country road trip entertainment ideas

6.Make Bookings in Advance

While the U.S. isn’t as lodging amicable as Europe and Australia, there are still a lot of financial plan cordial convenience choices to be found here. The least expensive is to stay in a motel or to carry a tent with you and plan to camp. Nonetheless, you can’t just set up a shelter on any street in many U.S. states – you need to pay for camping areas.

Cross-country trips are tiring, and you’ll be restless to hit the sack each night. In this way, it’s a smart thought to have hotel reservations set up well before you venture out from home. Lodgings, inns, and even camping areas top off quickly in well-known vacationer regions, particularly during the prime get-away season, and a few spots sell out a very long time ahead of time. Whenever you’ve focused on the spots you need to stop every evening, reserve a spot in the area for a stay.

7.Pack All the Necessary Items

You’re in a vehicle and not in a plane with little overhead compartments and little under-seat extra room. In any case, that doesn’t mean you should pack all you might require. Why remove valuable leg and space to breathe in your vehicle when you are inside it for quite a long time each day?

Limit your heap by pressing garments in fundamental tones (dark, dim, white, red) that you can blend and match. Consider garments made of lightweight, wicking texture that can be washed rapidly and dried in your lodging if fundamental. On the off chance that you’ll be out and about for half a month and will require admittance to a washer and dryer, reserve a spot at an inn with washing options or discover a laundromat when you reach the town.

Traveling is a fun and bold approach to not simply get from point A to point B. You can see the secret jewels of the country which you’ll never check whether you fly. Even though it accompanies its difficulties and burdens, going on a journey is an encounter you will probably remember forever. Are you planning your first road trip and still asking what to bring on a road trip? We are here to help you.

To assist you with getting, here are some significant essentials you need to pack before leaving:


It’s a good thought to keep a cooler inside arms reach from the driver’s seat. Every individual who’s done an excursion realizes that your food alternatives are restricted mostly to cheap food. With your very own stock tidbits, you’ll have simple admittance to less expensive and better alternatives. A cooler is ideal for keeping your tidbits and beverages cool during the ride.

Packing Cubes

Regardless of where you’re set out or toward how long, you’ll need to keep your garments coordinated and available. Do this by utilizing packing cubes, which will make your outing vastly simpler. This set arrives in various fun tones and even incorporates cases for your clothing and shoes.

Safe Wallet

You’ll need to keep money and different fundamentals on you during an excursion, and no one can tell when you will run into tolls or need to pay for road stops. Keep your money and different resources, similar to MasterCard, identification, and I.D., in a convenient neck wallet to keep your possessions coordinated and secure during your excursion. Also, don’t forget to backpack your laptop & photography gear to keep them safe.

cross country road trip essentials packing list

Inflatable Mattress

In case you’re anticipating outdoors or remaining over with companions, you’ll be happy you brought along a solid air mattress. This way, you’ve ensured a pleasant spot to rest, regardless of whether you haven’t exactly worked out your facilities yet while out and about.

First Aid Kit

Ensure you keep an inventory of all medical aid things you might require while out and about. This will be ideal for any throbbing painfulness you may experience during your excursion. Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle constantly.

8.Get Travel Insurance

On the off chance that your end location is paid ahead of time, you might need to consider travel insurance. In your excursion, you could experience street terminations or car crashes that cause injury that postpones your tour. A decent protection plan could repay any excursion cost lost because of these postponements and any unexpected facilities that might be required. Trip cancellation advantages can help diminish the weight of those sudden “emergencies.”

When voyaging away from your old neighborhood, you might need to check your health care coverage to perceive how your inclusion functions. While most plans will cover you while out of the organization, some may not. Travel protection with health-related crisis inclusion might be a decent choice. This may give a restricted measure of repayment for crisis care that isn’t covered by your present medical coverage.

9.Choose the Right Car

So you have your course arranged out, and you know the environment, street conditions, and the territory you will be driving on. This should give you a sign concerning what vehicle you need to finish your tour. Is it true that you are driving your vehicle, and if so, is it capable? Has it been, as of late, adjusted and very much kept up? Or on the other hand, will you need to rent a vehicle to finish the excursion securely, easily, and mindfully?

Don’t generally pick the least expensive vehicle, in case you will invest extensive stretches of energy in the vehicle and your safety is fundamental. At last, you need to do your examination while picking the right vehicle as there are numerous factors across various nations. Let’s explore the best road trip cars you can trust for guaranteed comfort & safety:

Hatchback Vehicles

These vehicles are by and large the least expensive to employ and truly just helpful for more limited length trips because of restricted space and comfort. They are useful for city driving and on very much molded streets. Think about a somewhat bigger vehicle for longer outings or expanded times of driving. Most will oblige 4 to 5 travelers; however, space for just a couple of bags.

Medium-Sized Vehicles

These vehicles will bear the cost of more comfort and space, which oblige five travelers and 3 to 4 bags. They are useful for city driving, interstates, and longer distances on all-around adapted streets, making them ideal for a little family. If you require more space, you could purchase a rooftop rack to stow some gear on top of the vehicle.

how to choose the best car for a cross country road trip


An SUV vehicle is, in fact, a cantina with a bigger boot, bearing the cost of you more space for gear, possibly 4 to 5 bags relying on the size. On the other hand, few SUVs will give you a comparative measure of room and somewhat more force in the driver’s seat. They additionally have more freedom, and settling on them is a decent decision for typical driving conditions, just as on some residue tracks and back roads.

Sports Vehicles and Convertibles

Many of these vehicles are costlier to get and restrict you to space for gear. However, if that is not an issue and you need to get to your objective in style, these are ideal. These vehicles are large for the city and interstate driving or typical street conditions, and moreover, they will likely devour more fuel than your normal vehicle.

All Wheel Drive/AWD

Numerous vehicle rental organizations may exclude this alternative and incorporate SUVs. These vehicles are all the more explicitly intended for going 4×4 romping. If you are employing one of these vehicles with the end goal of going 4×4 romping or rise slamming, you should go through an expert organization. An expert organization will have vehicles with the proper suspension and tires, covering you for those exercises. It will be simpler to get one of these vehicles in nations where most of the streets and territory require all-wheel drive/AWD vehicles.

10.Get Ready for Extreme Weather

Between rainstorms, weighty snow, and tropical storms, the USA is home to numerous kinds of climate risks. If you’re arranging a long excursion, be certain you’re prepared to deal with whatever Natural force tosses your direction. Climate assumes a huge part in traveling; it can transform an impeccably arranged excursion into a completely bad dream if you’re not cautious.

After you’ve stuffed the necessities, check the weather forecasts for your excursion dates to unravel what else you may have to take. While packing light for long vehicle rides is imperative, it’s essential not to abandon basic pieces. In case you’re passing through awful winter conditions, you’ll likewise require a season-explicit crisis travel pack containing substantial coats, covers, water, and other endurance things on the off chance that you get abandoned during a snowstorm.

11.Travel During Daylight

If you wish to beat the traffic, get rolling as right on time as could be expected, regardless of whether this implies beginning your day around 4-5 a.m. Early setting off implies that the sun will begin to rise an hour or so into your excursion, which can make for hair-raising perspectives on the dawn in better places each day. Additionally, it is still before the streets become occupied with suburbanites attempting to work. This makes your excursion undeniably less furious and, accordingly, more secure.

Talking about security, it’s additionally a smart thought to end your day’s drive once it begins getting dull, as evening is by a wide margin the riskiest opportunity to drive on account of more alcoholic and lazy drivers. Also, animals love to come out at sunset and regularly end up in the street. And that isn’t the place where you need to out of the blue run over wildlife.

12.Decide What to See Beforehand

If you love sightseeing on the way, it’s a smart thought to sort out your vital stops before taking off. Research and plan these things out so you know precisely where and why you’re halting, as opposed to going for endless hours in a single stretch. This will decrease the amount of time spent exhausted and get you numerous additional chances to gain experiences. These anchor stops will likewise direct how much driving you need to do every day to remain on time.

Not exclusively will you appreciate getting out and investigating some nearby culture, your body will likewise value an opportunity to stretch and move. Also, if you end up going with kids, these stops will break the drive, assisting them with dealing with the long-sitting occasions in the middle. Try not to be hesitant to ask individuals in nearby stores and restaurants about where the best spot to get an evening feast is, where the best spot to remain, or which course will get you to the neighborhood fascination quickest. Local people know the territory better than any audit site, so their insight should never be excused.

13.Eat Local and Prepare Snacks Beforehand

Attempt to nibble on organic products, protein bars, and veggies, and remember to drink a lot of water. A definite advantage is to stop at a supermarket ― even little towns have them ― to get your lunch instead of the side-of-the-road burger joint. Try not to agree to the standard cheap food joints that the vast majority regularly stop at on their U.S. trips. Driving across the country gives you a unique chance to test food sources from various states.

Indeed, even with a cooler in the storage compartment, odds are you’ll be eating out a ton. Cooking for yourself will presumably be the exact opposite thing you’ll need to do following a difficult day of driving. Additionally, it’s regularly hard to deny the heavenly territorial food varieties you’ll discover on the way, paying little mind to how swelling they are. Thus, get a few snacks for the street and plan appropriately.

What Do We Have to Say?

So, it would help if you prepared appropriately before going on an amazing journey. We have compiled a list of amazing tips to help you with your next cross-country road trip. So, make sure to stick to this list and research everything beforehand. It will offer you ample time to adjust the itinerary and make any adjustments before setting out on the road. Moreover, these tips will get you ready for an amazing journey that you will never forget.

Recommended For You!

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai: Which Is Better for Living As An Expat

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai: Which Is Better for Living As An Expat

Globally, UAE was ranked 18th out of 59 destinations for expats to live. The UAE is a thriving nation for the international labor force and tourists, and the region has large numbers of the wealthiest entrepreneurs from Asia. The area is the best place to attract...

UAE Golden Visa Explained: 10 Things You Should Know

UAE Golden Visa Explained: 10 Things You Should Know

The UAE Golden Visa was first implemented in 2019, and since then, it has generated a lot of interest among people who wish for permanent citizenship in the UAE. Since its initialization, UAE has granted the Golden Visa to 100,000 business owners, entrepreneurs, and...

Should You Sell Everything and Travel? Here’s How To know

Should You Sell Everything and Travel? Here’s How To know

Traveling is exciting; it is a long holiday that you go on, and eventually, you might find the perfect place to settle down and call home. Or, you may want to travel for a few years and experience life! That’s ok too. Experiencing different cultures and learning about...

10 Best Low-Cost European Airlines for Budget Travelers

10 Best Low-Cost European Airlines for Budget Travelers

The low-cost airline industry can be befuddling when exploring the European market can be considerably more convoluted than endeavoring it stateside. If you’re hoping to see Europe on a tight financial plan, scoring a modest trip to Europe, you are in the right place....

Living In Ireland: 10 Lessons I Have Learned

Living In Ireland: 10 Lessons I Have Learned

When I moved to Ireland, I was only a teenager. Everything then seemed much different to now, but I suppose being a child, things would seem different in general. It was a brand-new chapter for my family. It was also a scary chapter as I moved to a new country,...

8 Best Flight Search Engines To Hunt The Cheapest Airfares

8 Best Flight Search Engines To Hunt The Cheapest Airfares

Is it true that you are pondering which site you ought to book your airfare with to get the best arrangement? You’re in good hands. There are unlimited alternatives to picking the best flight booking site nowadays. Regarding booking a cheap flight for your next large...

10 Reasons Moving to Ireland Is An Amazing Idea

10 Reasons Moving to Ireland Is An Amazing Idea

Moving to a new country is always scary since you don’t know anyone, you don’t know which areas are good to live in, where to go out, where to sightsee, or how the transport works. It is incredibly daunting to pack up and leave, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a...

11 Great Reasons For Living In Spain As An Expat

11 Great Reasons For Living In Spain As An Expat

Are you looking for a major lifestyle change? After the challenges of 2020 and the extended periods of lockdown, it’s no surprise that many people are starting to re-evaluate the way they live. For a completely fresh start, it’s also natural to consider whether a...

11 Best Campgrounds In Florida (Amazing Spots for Families)

11 Best Campgrounds In Florida (Amazing Spots for Families)

Florida’s unbelievable coast offers a plethora of campgrounds on the beach, from primeval tents to quality cottages and locations for hotels. Have you ever laid at the pool, watched the sunset and the first stars came out and wished that you would spend the evening on...