If you’re in the process of a long-distance move, one of the possible perks of such an event is to make it an adventure all its own. Fewer trips are more rewarding and enjoyable than a cross country trek, allowing you to see and experience everything this great country has to offer. There are innumerable routes that can be taken, providing the most opportunity in a given span of time.
There are numerous trains of thought on the subject of cross-country traveling. Some folks prefer to have a planned out, scheduled itinerary, while other simply choose to “chase the setting sun” and see where the road takes them. Either way, there are a few housekeeping notes that should apply.
Firstly, make sure your vehicle is in peak operating mode and ready to undertake an extended road journey. Your local mechanic can provide a vehicle check service which covers brakes, fluids, tires, the works. He’ll be able to let you know if you’re ready to hit the road.
If you opt for the “chasing the sun” option, at least have an idea of how much ground you plan to cover each day. A cross country move can take up to four days, and that is just factoring in driving and sleeping. Know your limits, and don’t push yourself beyond them. GPS is an invaluable tool for finding the closest places for food, lodging, and other needed amenities.
Have roadside service on your side. Be sure to either update your AAA membership or invest in one. When you’re broken down or with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be glad you did. Other organizations, such as USAA for veterans, have similar services that they offer their members.
On a related note, make sure your insurance is all up to date, as well as little things like your driver’s license and car registration. Not much cuts the wind out of your sails like those blue lights in your rear view.
Plan stops along the way. As we said, even a long-distance relocation can be a fun and educational experience. Look for sites of interest or historical landmarks along your planned route and carve out time in your schedule to stop and see what they have to offer. With the hectic pace that life so often throws us, once you’re moved and established in your new locale, those opportunities may not come again any time soon!
The act of reading a map (the actual, paper, folded kind) has become a lost art in the world of GPS and other navigation systems. Most of us trust the voice coming from our dashboards and don’t know where we are half the time. Learn how to read a map, and use one whenever possible when traveling, You’ll be surprised just how much that adds to the overall experience, as it breaks you out of the “tunnel vision” that is so often acquired when listening to GPS instructions. Of course GPS has its place, namely for when you get lost, or perhaps running low on fuel and need to find the closest available gas station.
Speaking of fuel, develop a fuel budget. A lot of folks don’t and discovering how much fuel an extended road trip eats up can make for a rather unpleasant awakening. Know how many miles per tank of gas your vehicle is good for, then break that down according to the length of the trip. This helps you figure out how many times you will need to fill up, and correspondingly what you should expect to pay over the duration.
Similarly, know where and when you are going to eat. Most GPS systems, and even those that come standard on newer automobiles, have settings that help you find the nearest restaurants along your route, sometimes right down to the customer service ratings given by previous customers. Whenever possible, ditch the chain restaurants and indulge in a little local color. Doing so adds so much to your traveling experience.
Get off the interstate whenever you have the opportunity. The back roads are where you get to see the country and make some memories. Planed correctly, a back road route can be just as timely and efficient as a crowded interstate.
Don’t forget the soundtrack. Local radio is always a plus for any given region, but in those areas where there is nothing to be found on the dial, have your Spotify playlist cued up and ready to go. Nothing accents the driving experience quite like some good road tunes.
Enjoy the destination. Once you’ve arrived, take some time to explore the new area you will be calling home. It will become mundane to you all too quick, so take a day or two and just get to know the area. Try a new restaurant, or a local general store.
There’s no reason a cross country move must be a chore. Plan correctly, and you can make some memories that will last a lifetime.