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8 Road Trip Tips for Traveling Across North America

  How-To's & Resources

May 21, 2024 8 Road Trip Tips for Traveling Across North America

Whether inspired by pop culture romanticism or childhood nostalgia, you made the decision that your next vacation will feature a great road trip through the U.S.A. You think you know your final destination and now spend your time agonizing over the details. Just how to ensure that this road trip is filled with fun and memories, and not just a long, boring drive from point A to point B?

Fear not, as we have 8 great road trip tips that can make your American adventure feel like a feel-good Hollywood movie.

Road Trip Tip 1: Pick A Great Ride

Two campervans in national park.

Why drive a plain white or dusty brown van when there's peacocks and bluebirds available?

Your first instinct may be to hop in the family car and hit the open road. But after an hour or two, your car will start to feel restricted and uncomfortable? That’s because your every-day car is meant for every-day diving. For a great road trip, it will be much more enjoyable to cruise down the American highway in something designed for comfortable cross-country travel.

A camper van is always a comfortable choice for an active road trip. It’s large enough that everyone feels like they have their own space, but it handles much like a regular car. Campervans come equipped with amenities that will elevate the road trip: a kitchen and fridge for snacks and meals; a bed for sleeping under the stars; and plenty of storage for duffle bags and outdoor gear. You can even get a rooftop sleeper if you want extra space at night.

Road Trip Tip 2: Be Flexible

The minute you start driving, you’ll find that your overplanned spreadsheet itinerary goes out the window. That’s because a road trip should be about wandering to your final destination, not sprinting. If anything, discovering treasures along the way will cut down on the “Are we there yet?” whining.

So, when something looks cool and interesting, just go ahead and do it. Pay special attention to attractions labeled Largest or Oldest, as you usually will come away with an interesting story or two. This isn’t a cram-it-in type of vacation, and if the oldest covered bridge in America distracts you from an 8-hour interstate borefest, then mission accomplished.

Road Trip Tip 3: Make A Customized Playlist

You may be going to some places where radio reception and cell reception are spotty at best. Make sure you have plenty of music loaded up on your smartphone, as all the campervans come equipped with aux hookups or Bluetooth connections.

A great way to get hyped up for the road trip is by creating custom playlists before you leave. This way you can guarantee that everyone has at least one favorite song or artist on the mix. Plan your music right and the playlist will become the soundtrack to your trip.

Road Trip Tip 4: Sleep Under The Stars

Man near campfire near Escape campervan.

You can't beat snuggling up in the campervan bed after a roaring campfire on a clear night.

There’s a unique romantic notion regarding road trips where you spend all day driving and exploring, and spend the night bonding with friends and family around a roaring campfire.  The crackling of the fire, the twinkling of stars, and the cool breeze giving you goosebumps just can’t be replicated by a stuffy hotel. And whether you opt to sleep in the comfy fold-away beds in your campervan or the hard ground of a tent, spending a night under the stars can completely change your state of mind.

Road Trip Tip 5: Buy Some Kitschy Souvenirs

No matter what itinerary you use, you’ll probably stop at a bunch of interesting locations on your road trip.  Many of those attractions may have an official gift shop — or at least a truck stop close by.  Take this time to grab the most interesting T-Shirt or souvenir possible so you can properly commemorate your experience.  After all, what’s a better compliment to your 1000+ photos of your trip through the Rockies than a pair of porcelain grizzly bear salt and pepper shakers?  Now, every time you need to season some french fries, you can fondly remember that awesome trip.

Road Trip Tip 6: Cook On The Road

Woman preparing breakfast in back of campervan.

Cooking on the campervan stove makes for some memorable meals.

As you wander to some remote places, take some time and prepare a full meal on the road. Preparing a van-cooked meal with the help of family and friends always induces happiness, and it’s a welcome (and economical) break from your typical restaurant spread.  If you planned ahead and rented a campervan, you have a kitchen at your disposal, complete with sink, fridge and stove.  Otherwise, you still can roast weenies over an open campfire.

Road Trip Tip 7:  Ask A Local Where To Eat

When you do choose to eat out, you could stick to the old American standards of McDonalds or Applebees, but isn’t the purpose of a road trip to immerse yourself in local flavor?  Many times, the right “hole-in-the-wall” is a more satisfying meal and the local ambiance always gives you a memorable story. Just don’t rely on Google maps and Yelp reviews — ask a local for their favorite place.  The local seal-of-approval is especially needed for the small cafe that doesn’t have time for their own website.

Road Trip Tip 8: Make Contingency Plans For Cruddy Weather

Family playing card game in back of campervan.

In a campervan, you can wait out rainy weather by playing cards or games on a fold-away table.

Not every day will be sunshine and roses.  On a road trip, it’s not uncommon to encounter rain, snow, or overly-strong wind gusts.  Some of these you can wait out in your vehicle. If you rented a campervan, you can play cards or games on the fold-away table.  Other times you’ll want to drive off and find something to do that’s inside.

Just remember that all outside plans are contingent on the weather, so you may need a list of dryer back-up ideas.  Just remember, you can always rent another campervan and try that outdoor activity another time.

Escape Camper Vans Can Make Your Road Trip Great

The first step in achieving a great American road trip is to rent the perfect ride.  Escape campervans come equipped with a bed and a kitchen with sink, stove, and refrigerator.  Each van is uniquely hand-painted by top artists, making your road trip vehicle both comfortable and cool.  Start your booking online or call 1 (877) 270-8267 to speak with one of our road trip experts.

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