The Best Ways to Travel the Country | The Viking Abroad
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The Best Ways to Travel the Country

22 Oct The Best Ways to Travel the Country

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If you really stop and consider how very large the United States is, you can appreciate the trek that our ancestors had to make when they traveled by foot from one coast to another. Let the founding mothers and fathers be your inspiration to travel across the country and see all of America, the beautiful.

Make it a bucket list item to make a cross-country trip and hit every state; remember that seeing 50 states is likely not going to happen in a week, so make a clear block in your schedule for a few months. There are plenty of ways to travel around the United States. Pick the method that works best for you and start your engines!

On-the-Road Luxury

A trailer or RV is the ideal method of transportation for any road trip. With all the conveniences of home on wheels, you don’t have to worry about booking a hotel or finding a place to stop for the night; getting some shut-eye is as easy as pulling into a rest stop and killing the engine. Before taking your recreational vehicle out on a long trip, however, make sure that you are adequately prepared in all ways:

  • Stock the vehicle and make sure there are enough supplies for everyone. Does your RV mattress have fresh sheets and plenty of warm blankets? Is there enough non-perishable food in the cupboards to keep your group fed for at least a couple of weeks? What about clothes and extra shoes?
  • Clean the entire thing from top to bottom, especially if it’s been a while since you last used it. Scrub out all sinks and toilets and make sure that everything is free of mold. Don’t forget to check the windows for excess moisture and mold, and give them a deep clean if you do happen to notice any.
  • Similarly, ensure that your tanks are empty, clean and have been properly disposed of before going anywhere. Remember the infamous scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Don’t be a Cousin Eddie.
  • Take your vehicle to be professionally serviced. It doesn’t matter if it’s a motor home or a trailer; fluids, wheels, axles and alignment are all very real issues that need to be addressed immediately before you leave. 

A Good Old-Fashioned Road Trip

If you don’t have an RV or want to take your cross-country road trip as God intended, then load up the car and pick a route! It doesn’t matter how old or new your car is, it has stuck by you through the best and worst of times; you know it like a family member and you understand its quirks and behaviors. What better way to see the country than by taking your beloved personal vehicle on a road trip?

  • Get your oil changed and have your car be given the green light for safety by a professional mechanic. Have them check your tire pressure, your internal fluids and even your wiper blades to make sure you’re clear to drive a couple of thousand miles.
  • Since you don’t have an onboard refrigerator (unless you do, which is pretty rad) inside your car, invest in a good, reliable cooler that will keep snacks and drinks cold but without turning into a lukewarm puddle within an hour. Some of the best road trip snacks? Beef jerky, protein bars, nuts and of course your beverage of choice.
  • Although sleeping in your car might be the plan, it’s a good idea to have travel apps that can help you find hotels or motels nearby. Accidents and emergencies occur, and it’s better to be prepared than caught like a deer in the headlights.
  • Pack an emergency kit for your car. This should contain more than a first aid kit, it should also include jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, a tire gauge and flares.

By Air

If you have enough frequent flier miles or are able to make multiple flights without the cost becoming an issue, book many flights for several locations so that you can see more of the country in a shorter amount of time. For example, fly out to Maine and explore the East Coast and surrounding states while you visit. After a week or however many days you choose, fly to another state and start the process all over again.

Since flying is typically one of those “love it or hate it” experiences, remember the preparations that you need to take when you’re packing for a flight.

  • The TSA is very strict about liquids onboard. The carry-on rules for all liquid, even shampoo and soap, state that you can carry no more than 3.4-ounce bottles per item. Make sure that you buy plenty of TSA-approved bottles for your cosmetics and lotions so that there is no grumbling when you go through security.
  • Dress comfortably, especially if it’s a particularly long flight. Wear loose clothing and shoes that you won’t mind being strapped to your feet for the next 24 hours — and for the love of all that is holy, leave them on while you’re flying. It’s just good etiquette; nobody wants the seat with someone’s smelly feet shoved beside them.
  • Since you have to pay for extra checked luggage, try and pack lightly. You know how many pairs of jeans and shorts you wear on a weekly basis, don’t overdo it simply because you’re traveling. Remember that laundry facilities are available at most hotels and if not, laundromats exist everywhere.

Before Hitting the Road

By now it has been well-established that the United States is a huge country, and a sufficient trip seeing it all will take some time. Prepare your home, family and real life for your absence over the next several weeks.

  • Give your home a deep cleaning. Empty all trash cans, change the sheets on all beds and vacuum the carpets. It’s always nice to come home to a fresh, clean home after a vacation. 
  • One specific thing you need to do? Clean out the refrigerator and get rid of anything that won’t survive a few weeks in the refrigerator. Don’t forget about produce like onions and potatoes too. The last thing you want when you walk in the door is the smell of moldy fruits and vegetables assaulting your nose.
  • Be sure that your boss has approved your time off and that work will survive without you. If needed, leave detailed notes and instructions on specific tasks. Set up an outgoing “I’m on vacation through these dates” email that bounces back automatically to users.
  • Clear everything with your kids’ school. Speak with teachers and collect all assignments, and be sure that admin knows that they will be gone for however long.

Traveling is exciting. It soothes the soul and helps you to better understand the world and other human beings. If an opportunity to travel the United States presents itself, don’t ignore it! Take advantage and make the trip a memorable one. No matter how you choose to see the country, it’s the right way.

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