Tips for Road Tripping in the United States

Are you ready for a road trip?!

So you’ve decided you want to go cross country, eh? Maybe you even took our Road Trip Quiz! Well we’ve assembled some tips for road tripping in the United States. Our hope is that you can learn from our mistake and maximize your fun.

10 Tips for Travel Success

1. Figure out how far you want to drive each day. For us, 2-3 hours of driving is ideal. It doesn’t always work out this way but we find we’re happiest with this as the max amount of time on the road. It allows us to see a bunch of things without feeling like we’ve been trapped in the car all day. That said, one time we drove 11 hours in a very slow, old and terrible house car from Delaware to North Carolina. Said trip should only have taken most vehicles and people about 9 hours but our thing was so. damn. slow.

2. Fill up on gas before you need it. Don’t let your fuel get below a 1/4 of a tank. In Oregon they pump your gas for you. A little strange unless you’re from New Jersey. Turn your engine off, know what you want and if it’s raining, definitely cut your wipers off. The worst thing that can happen is your wife will say to you “I left my laptop in Cleveland, the house car is making a new weird noise and we’re on empty. Oh and the next exit is 14 miles away.” True story. Ask us about it sometime but only if you’re bringing the bourbon.

3. Double the time you think you’ll want or need. Slow is the name of the game. We wanted to stop almost every single mile and often did but there was often something pushing the pace for us. Our favorite thing was to just explore at whatever speed we wanted to go without feeling like we had to be somewhere.

Sunset resets …


4. Bring an atlas and learn how to navigate old-school style because there’s long stretches of road without cell service. Hard to believe, right? Take our word for it and get yourself a good map with detail and make sure you know how to use a compass. We use the one on our iPhone frequently and luckily haven’t had to deal with not having any battery when we need it most.

5. Take the scenic route! Sometimes this happens to us accidentally. We saw a sign for this Tour Thru Tree and it ended up being a really fun memory. And it only cost us $5.00!

Let yourself be a tourist!


6. Be ready for fog. If you have fog lights, use ’em! If not, use your low beams and go slow.

7. Go easy on your brakes. I had to learn this the hard way. I burned my brakes up out west the first time I drove cross country and they started doing this terrible shaking thing that would vibrate my steering wheel when I was going over 60 miles an hour. Bout damn near scared the life out of me. Apparently there’s this thing called 2 and L that you can shift into, even if you have automatic, that will get your engine and car to go a little slower thereby giving your brakes a break. Also, because I’m not a car person, please read your owners car manual.

8. Use your blinker when you’re heading into a turnout. It’s easy to get caught up in the sightseeing but try to give a good head’s up as your pulling off the road and into a turnout.

9. Stock up on snacks. Do you know what hangry means? Just combine the words hungry and angry and that’s what you get when we run out of snacks. Symptoms include irritability, sluggishness and raiding the seat cracks for crumbs. Buy food in advance so that you’re not pulling into a rest stop or gas station and buying all of their candy and chips. Unless of course you want to. We’ve been known to do this a time or two. And when all else fails, find the closest pizza place. Might we suggest Fire + Brimstone (pictured below) near Phoenix?!

DSCF625910. Always have extra water (and a roll of toilet paper). You can never have enough water. Seriously. And there’s nothing more annoying than having to stop for more when you literally just left the gas station. Or you’re in the middle of the desert and are so parched. As for the roll of toilet paper, you really don’t need us to elaborate on that one do you?

Do you have an awesome road trip story? We want to hear about it!


Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

8 thoughts on “Tips for Road Tripping in the United States

  1. I grew up road tripping. My family didn’t like to fly, so we were always packing into the SUV or Truck and hitting the road together. I agree with everything you just said. We only had fog lamps on my first car, which was no good as a road tripper, but my second, a Jeep Wrangler, had them and I use them often. Burning up your brakes out West is easy to do. I was fortunate to know to engine break using the transmission, but there were plenty of times that wasn’t enough. What a great list of tips. It reminds me a of a post I wrote about last year. 10 Road trip essentials never to leave home without. I bet you could put together a great list too.

    1. Oh yeah a Jeep Wrangler! That sounds like the perfect road trip vehicle. Was it four wheel drive? And if so did you use that often? Would love to check out your 10 road trip essentials. What’s the link?!

      1. Yes, it is four-wheel drive and we did use it a few times. Once in Wyoming near Sundance and again in Moab when we went off road. Here are a few links you might enjoy.

        – 10 road trip essentials I never leave home without:
        – Our Adventure Mobile (More about our Wrangler):
        – Here’s a post about our visit to Moab, where we used four-wheel drive a lot:

        Note: we just redid our blog’s theme so some things don’t look quite right yet.

        I also have to say you are an amazing writer. I write for a living (I’m a reporter. I don’t make enough money blogging yet.), so when I find someone out there who is a talented writer it makes my day.

        I’ll be sure to follow along and I look forward to updates.

      2. Wow thanks so much. Your comment totally made my day. Thank you for saying that. About to go check out your links – appreciate you sharing!

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