Essentials for a Cross Country Road Trip

What could be more invigorating than hitting the open road? Clear skies, the wind against your face, and picturesque scenery for miles. 

A cross-country road trip can be a life-changing experience. Make your next scenic getaway one you will never forget with these essentials.

A Plan

Are you the organizer type that has to plan every last detail of your trip? Maybe you are a free spirit who likes to go with the flow. Either way, some sort of plan will go a long way in making a smooth journey. Before you hit the road, decide on a final destination at the very least.

The last thing you want to do is drive with no sense of direction and wind up in a dangerous location.

Pick a destination you always wanted to explore, such as a magnificent city or breathtaking national park, and enjoy the ride.


Emergency Car Supplies

Always prepare for the unexpected and that includes potential car troubles. Be ready for any predicament on the road and have a general sense of awareness to solve the problem.

A quick trip to the auto parts store will provide vital items such as motor oil, antifreeze, car jack, brake fluid, air filter, jumper cables, PSI gauge, and an air pump. Don’t forget to toss a few old rags to avoid getting dirt and oil on your clothes. Having the basics can help you get out of many jams.

It never hurts to give your car an inspection before the drive begins. At the very minimum, check the oil, antifreeze, and tire pressure as you gas up the car. Unsure about your own car expertise? An oil change and full inspection at the dealership is always a smart choice.

Gas Station Locator App

It would be wise to never be on the road with the fuel gauge below the ¼ line, but it never hurts to know where the nearest gas stations are located. Download a gas station locator app to always know the closest place to fill up the tank (Gas Guru and GasBuddy are two worth checking out).

Pack a Cooler

Unless you plan on eating at restaurants and fast food joints several times per day, a medium or large sized cooler would be a smart item to pack. Stock up on lunchmeat, bread, fruits, veggies, nuts, bottled water & juices, and anything else to keep you refreshed on the road.

You will save a ton of cash on your trip by filling your cooler at the grocery store and limit your restaurant trips to a minimum.


How long do you intend the trip to last? Two weeks? One month? You may have the presets aligned perfectly for your hometown, but they all might turn to static within a couple days.

If a quiet drive is not your style, then bring some CDs or charge up your iPod to crank up your favorite songs. Music can be revitalizing for the soul and can make your scenic drive even more spectacular.

Research Lodging Options in Advance

The smartest thing to do would be to make reservations in advance to ensure you have a guaranteed place to rest your head every night. That might not be possible if you do not have a specific itinerary and you are simply winging it.

Even if you decide not to book accommodations in advance, research the areas you intend to be exploring to see if there are any lodging dead zones. Avoid desolate areas at night when your chances of becoming drowsy at the wheel skyrocket.

Plan your nighttime driving in areas where lodging is plentiful and call at least a couple days in advance to inquire about availability.

Make a List of Must-Sees

This may be a once or twice in a lifetime expedition. Whether you are a nature enthusiast or city slicker, use your cross-country trip as a way to check off items on your bucket list.

Start with the sights that immediately come to mind and write them down. The rest can be chosen with a little online research. You may even discover amazing places that you never knew about.

Your must-see list can be the perfect way to plan the itinerary of your trip until you reach your final destination.

Bring Your Travel Buddy

Why hit the open road alone? Bring a parent, friend, spouse, or anyone who is up for a trip filled with wonderful memories. Not only will you and your travel buddy see the incredible sights together, you can depend on each other in case of an emergency and can split expenses.

Share this memorable trip with someone dear to your heart!

Buckle Up & Let’s Ride!

A cross-country road trip is something every traveler should embark on at least once in their life. Customize your personal bucket list and see all the amazing wonders your country has to offer on a stunning drive!

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