Taking the road less traveled may mean something different in a pandemic year, but it’s the easiest way to satisfy your travel lust and get out of dodge.
Knowing how to plan a road trip ain’t too difficult. Like any type of travel, research and planning make for the smoothest adventure. “A mixture of planning and spontaneity is best,” says Veronica E. Garnett, founder of the Black Adventuristas travel group. Here, she and a slew of other road-tripping experts weigh in on how to strike that perfect balance.
This year, it's particularly important to familiarize yourself with the regulations of states you plan to visit before hitting the open road. As of July, most of the states in USA are open for business, especially for American travelers. Check with the health departments of the places you’ll be visiting for the most up-to-date information. AAA’s Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Map is another useful resource for mapping out state-by-state mask requirements and closures of parks, beaches, casinos, and rest areas
When planning a road trip with multiple waypoints, use Google Maps’ feature to customize your itinerary. This allows you to add as many points of interest as you like, as well as driving directions. Or if you drive a Telsa, you can map out the route and charging stations along the way.
If you’re setting out in an RV or venturing into #vanlife, be mindful of making sure RV parks and state parks allow your type of vehicle. When in doubt, parking on the side of the road is always an option, just make sure it allows for overnight parking and is in a safe area.
Rule number one of planning a memorable road trip? “Research scenic byways for each state and get off the freeway as much as you can,” advises Sam Highley, founder of All Roads North, a luxe U.S. road trip planning service. The U.S. Department of Transportation designates National Scenic Byways as roads with at least one notable archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, or scenic feature; those with two or more of those qualities are classified as All-American Roads.
Get off the Road and into Nature!
Be sure to make time for hiking, biking, and exploring. Use an app like AllTrails for free detailed hiking maps, trail notes, photos, and user reviews. Visit local restaurants, cafes and diners so you can experience the culture that’s unique to each town. Also take note that wifi and cell service may not be available everywhere so having some options ‘pre-arrival’ to your destination will limit frustrations of finding inspiring places to visit and things to do.
Book your Hotels in Advance
With pandemic closures and hospitality being short staffed, you may find reservations more difficult to secure at the last minute. Look for hotels with flexible cancellation policies and call the hotel direct. You’ll get the best service and room if you book direct, ALWAYS. When in doubt and needing a room on the fly, check out HotelTonight app for discounted last minute stay. Just know that you will most likely be securing the worst room class available at the hotel.