Courtesy of Realtor.com
What’s the best way to make a cross-country move less painful? Turn it into a road trip vacation full of cities and sights you’ve always wanted to visit. Sure, flying may be more efficient, but driving is generally less expensive, especially if you need to get your car from point A to point B. And those extra few days dedicated to exploring unseen pockets of the country are guaranteed to break up the trip and make an arduous trek less stressful.
For anyone about to embark on their own cross-country move, here’s your guide to making the trip enjoyable, safe, and memorable—in a good way!
Make a list of must-sees
Start by thinking about the places you feel you absolutely must visit on your trip. This will dictate your route and help you budget your driving time.
Maybe your route will be dictated by breweries you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to visit. Maybe you’ll want to visit as many national parks as possible. Whatever you’re into, nail it down and plan accordingly. Once you’ve planned out your days, you can determine where you’ll rest your head at night.
Book hotel stays ahead of time
Nothing about driving to the point of exhaustion and hoping you find a hotel sounds fun. That’s why it’s crucial to reserve a place to stay in every city you hit. This is especially important if you’ll be traveling with pets, because plenty of hotels and motels aren’t pet-friendly.
Start your hotel search on easy-to-use websites such as Booking.com or TripAdvisor.com. And make sure cancellations are free.
“That’s especially helpful for road trips, because if you fall behind schedule you can make adjustments to your plans without hurting your wallet,” says Simon Chattington, a broadcaster in Wellington, New Zealand, whose work has allowed him to travel all over the world.
And don’t forget that your hotel’s main purpose is to provide you a place to lay your head and rest up for the next day of driving.
“There’s no point paying big money for a room you are only going to spend six hours in,” Chattington says. “Traveling is about getting out and about, not sitting in your hotel room.”
Check out other points of interest along your route
Once you have a general idea of the route you will take, seek out other attractions you’ll be driving near. Trust me: This will give you something to look forward to when all you can see are mile and miles of farmland. The route planning website roadtrippers.com has a special “weird stuff” button that will refer you to places such as the Candy Lady in Albuquerque, NM, which serves up blue rock crystal “meth” used on the TV show “Breaking Bad,” or the Flying Saucer House near Chattanooga, TN.
Another great place to look for extraordinary sights is Atlas Obscura. The site has information about everything from the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Kansas to a bar covered from floor to ceiling with a million pennies in California.