Top US road trip tips

Here at we just can’t stop thinking about road trips. If, like us, you’re thinking of embarking on one this summer, take heed of the advice from some of the top travel bloggers on the internet…

And if you want to WIN 9 nights accommodation in San Diego, Hollywood and San Francisco + $300 expenses and tours, then enter our USA road trips competition now!

1. Best tip for a US road trip?

Chris Christensen from
There are practical tips like getting your car serviced and making sure that your tyres are properly inflated, but the most important tip is to choose your travel companions well. My father once did a road trip with a car full of people who wanted to drive at night through Montana because there was ‘nothing to see there’.

Pam Mandel from
Get off the interstate, for the love of god, get off the interstate. All the cool stuff is on the back roads, the small towns, the roadside attractions, the diners where time stopped 30, 40, 50 years ago. The main highways bypass all of that stuff. If you want to see more than asphalt, get off the interstate.

Jillian and Danny from
It’s bigger than it looks! We’ve had so many guests who want to see it all in a week – it’s not possible! Also, get the Rand McNally Atlas from Walmart – it lists all the Walmarts by highway exits – at least you’ll know where the next bathroom is!

Audrey and Dan Scott from
Give yourself time to stop and take detours – don’t just put your head down and blaze on through to your final destination. I mean, when is the next time you’ll be near the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama for a bizarre round of shopping? Or follow that hand-painted banner for a local chili cook-off or farmer’s market. The more quirky, the more fun it might be. Enjoy and make the most of the journey.

Brock from
Anyone heading out on a US road trip really needs to find a vehicle that’s good on gas. It used to be you could get an old beat up clunker and drive until your heart’s content. With today’s gas prices however, a very fuel-efficient vehicle or hybrid would be ideal.

2. Which is your favourite stretch of road in the US?

Audrey  Scott from
Highway 1 in California between San Luis Obispo and Monterey. Part of this is sentimental – on my first real road trip from Vienna, Virginia to Monterey, California, this was the final stretch. I was traveling with a friend and we just kept pulling over at every overlook and turn-off to admire the views. Then, I met my now-husband (Dan) by chance on that very same day when I arrived in Monterey. We drove this last year on a visit to California and couldn’t believe how dramatic and stunning the landscape was – some of the best we’ve seen in the world.

Jillian and Danny from
We love driving through Shenandoah National Park because you can get out and hike at a bunch of spots.  It’s a gorgeous drive through the mountains and you might even see a black bear.  I also adored driving through Sedona, Arizona, breathtaking scenery and tons of hiking as well.

Pam Mandel from
The Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, that runs along the edge of California, Oregon, and Washington is truly remarkable. And, narrowing that down, the Oregon Coast has amazing scenery, rugged beaches, huge redwood trees, pullouts where you can stare over the edge of the continent out into the seemingly endless Pacific…

Brock from
My favourite stretch has to be the Big Sur in California. You can drive for hours and every turn has your jaw dropping.

Chris Christensen from
The Avenue of the Giants in Northern California which winds through the coastal redwood forests. It is hard to beat the redwoods for simple jaw dropping grandeur.

3. Which famous road trip would you recreate?

Brock from
I’d go for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Train rides, biker gangs, Warner Bros Studios – what’s not to love? Heck, I’d even sport the snazzy red bow tie.

Jillian and Danny from
I’d love to do Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Around Trip. When we were in Africa we were picked up by two South Africans who were recreating it. We traveled with them for several weeks, it was cool to see the same border people.

Chris Christensen from
I would love to recreate the first cross-country road trip of Dr. Horatio Nelson “The Mad Doctor” Jackson. Jackson departed from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel in 1903 for the first recorded road trip. It took him 63 days.

Pam Mandel from
I’ve always loved Lost in America, it’s so dorky. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is an awesome movie, as is To Wong Fu, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, for many of the same reasons. But I’m an American, I live on the West Coast. It would be a grand adventure indeed to retrace the Oregon Trail, the trip so many settlers took when moving west during America’s crazy land grabbing migration. I’ve been to many Oregon Trail sites, and I always think it must have been an epic adventure.

4. Any road trip film/book/music recommendations?

Pam Mandel from
William Least-Heat Moon’s book Blue Highways is nearly 30 years old and has long been my favorite book about road tripping in the US. This book encapsulates a nearly perfect American road trip; it’s a classic. I loved Kerouac when I was younger, but it doesn’t have the sticking power that the unassuming Blue Highways has for me.

Brock from
As I wouldn’t suggest reading or watching films while driving, the only sensible thing to do is blast the car stereo. Fill your playlist with upbeat, energy-packed tunes. I wouldn’t leave home without an entire playlist of Tina Turner! Track 1 – ‘Proud Mary’

Chris Christensen from
The perfect mix CD for a good road trip needs to combine some great classic rock like “Born to be Wild”, lots of Beach Boys with just a touch of folk classics  like “This Land Is Your Land”.

Susan Kohlback from
The book I turn to most often when I want to energise my wonderlust spirit is An Embarrassment of Mangoes.  It’s about a couple who leave their jobs behind and venture off to sail the Caribbean in their modest sailing boat. The lessons they learned about meeting folks along the way, getting along as a couple living together for long stretches, and the recipes and food experiences are simply magical and always encourages me to get going on an adventure.

Don’t have a driver’s license but still want the American road trip experience? Jump on The Hostel Hopper – a shuttle service in Southern California, with iPad’s and Wi-Fi for the journey!

Thanks to Emlyn Stokes, Otto Yamamoto and Belboo for their excellent images from Flickr!

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