10 Tips for Planning a Cross-country Road Trip


Have Your Vehicle Serviced

The whole point of a road trip is the driving, right? There's nothing worse than starting a much-awaited (and well-planned) drive, only to have the car break down. This happens more often than you'd think, and you can lose entire days stuck in a small town, waiting for parts to come in so your car can be fixed. Ward against this possibility -- and ensure your safety -- by having your vehicle checked before you head out. The appointment should include an oil change, plus safety checks on:

  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • Windshield wipers
  • Headlights and brake lights
  • Fluid levels
  • Belts and hoses
  • Spare tire and jack

[source: Waechter]

Create your own car emergency kit by filling a waterproof container with:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Flares
  • Blanket
  • Bottled water and nonperishable snacks

And, make sure someone else on the trip carries a second set of keys in case the driver's set gets lost or locked in the car.

Now that you have these helpful tips for planning your cross-country drive, you just have one thing to do -- hit the road, Jack!

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More Great Links


  • American Automobile Association. "AAA Emergency Road Service." (June 30, 2011) http://www.aaasouth.com/Automotive/auto_ers.aspxs
  • America's Byways. (June 23, 2011) http://www.byways.org/
  • Brown, Angela. "How to Plan a Road Trip Vacation." USA Today. (June 17, 2011) http://traveltips.usatoday.com/plan-road-trip-vacation-12786.html
  • Historic 66. "Route 66 Quiz." (June 17, 2011) http://www.historic66.com/quiz/
  • Federal Highway Administration. "Interstate System." (June 17, 2011) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/history.htm
  • Federal Highway Administration. "National Traffic and Road Closure information." (June 17, 2011) http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo
  • Greenberg, Peter. "Traveling Cross-Country." AARP. March 23, 2009. (June 20, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/info-06-2009/greenberg_usa_trip.html
  • Legends of America. "Legendary Route 66: Facts & Trivia of the Mother Road." (June 17, 2011) http://www.legendsofamerica.com/66-facts.html
  • Roadside America. (June 30, 2011) http://www.roadsideamerica.com/
  • Road Trip America. "How to Plan a Great Road Trip." (June 17, 2011) http://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/How-To-Plan-A-Great-Road-Trip.htm
  • Road Trip America. "Road Trips with Rover & Felix: Tips for Traveling with Pets." (June 17, 2011) http://www.roadtripamerica.com/Pets/Road-Trips-With-Pets.htm
  • Road Trip America. "Using the Web to Find Best-Kept RoadTrip Secrets." May 30, 2004. (June 17, 2011) http://www.roadtripamerica.com/GettingOutThere/Best-Kept-Road-Trip-Secrets.htm
  • Road Trip U.S.A. "The Routes." (June 20, 2011) http://www.roadtripusa.com/
  • Waechter, Tara. "How to Plan a Road Trip Across the U.S. That Rocks!" Planning Fun Road Trips. (June 17, 2011) http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/plan-a-road-trip.html
  • Waechter, Tara. "Road Trip Planning - Map Your Trip." Planning Fun Road Trips. (June 17, 2011) http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/road-trip-planning-map.html
  • Waechter, Tara. "Road Trip Planning 101: Getting Your Car Ready for the Road (and Not the Side of the Road). Planning Fun Road Trips. (June 17, 2011) http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/road-trip-planning-car.html
  • Waechter, Tara. "Travel Packing Tips, Tricks and Lists." Planning Fun Road Trips. (June 17, 2011) http://www.planning-fun-road-trips.com/travel-packing-tips.html


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