The best vacations are often the most self-produced. Waiting in long lines, being enslaved to a rigid itinerary, or shelling out hundreds of dollars for a stuffy flight can feel more restricting than relaxing. It’s no wonder, then, that self-guided road trips are such an alluring vacation alternative. While there are dozens of phenomenal options when it comes to planning the perfect trip, picking a direction and just driving isn’t always the best course of action (no matter how tempting it may be). There are several key considerations that can make or break the elusive “perfect road trip.”
First, it never hurts to come up with a goal for the trip, no matter how vague. Is this particular road voyage about catching some spectacular natural views, or would it be more fun to focus on visiting several major cities? A drive up the West Coast and through the Rocky Mountains might be the perfect option for the former, while an East Coast urban crawl will satisfy the desires of the latter. Setting even a simple goal can determine the tone of the trip, and help make planning out the desired destinations that much easier.
After deciding on that general goal, the next step is picking a part of the country to visit. One of the spectacular things about the United States is that its diverse topography provides both natural wonders and metropolitan centers in almost any area of the country. So, whatever the purpose of the trip, it can be fulfilled almost anywhere. The Pacific Northwest is an iconic part of the country that’s on many people’s bucket list to visit. However, the often-overlooked Midwest has its trove of hidden gems worth exploring. Because of this rich diversity, the geography of the perfect road trip is a simple matter of preference.
With a goal and a (general) location decided upon, the amount of planning to be done next is entirely up to the discretion of the travelers. While some prefer more structure to their trip, with a day-by-day plan as to the sights and destinations, others are more apt to discover their path as it unfolds before them. Regardless of the nature of travel, having these two aspects of the journey decided, the goal and the geography can turn any trip into the perfect road trip.