There are many reasons to travel across the country. Work trips, family vacations, camping adventures, and even open-ended road trips all lead people to set out on journeys that can take them hundreds and even thousands of miles away from home.
However, the way that you go about traveling can have a huge impact on how your adventures unfold.
Forms of Cross Country Travel
While there are countless forms of transportation, there are a few options that tend to be primarily used for long-distance travel:
- Traveling by plane: This is often both the quickest and cheapest option for those who are primarily focused on the destination. A one-way trip from Miami to Portland, which is a trip that cuts diagonally across the entire breadth and width of the United States, can cost under $150 and can take a handful of hours. However, flying by plane does sacrifice much of the experience that comes with the other forms of travel on this list.
- Traveling by train: If you want to stay close to the ground, but you don’t feel like driving, you can opt for a train. Train tickets can cost a bit more than a cheap flight, but they allow you to relax and take in the sites as you travel. In addition, you can look into getting an Amtrak rail pass that, while a bit more expensive than the cheapest tickets, frees you up to take whatever route you’d like in order to get to your destination.
- Traveling by bus: Bus tickets are typically close to the price of airfare — while simultaneously being much lower to the ground. However, keep in mind that you’ll be spending a good deal more time traveling than you would with a plane. Most bus routes travel through cities as well, providing the option to plan in visits to specific city-centers along your route.
- Traveling by car: If you’re a fan of road trips, you may want to take a car. This provides complete freedom for you to choose your own route, rate of travel, and where you’d like to stop. However, a car typically comes with significant costs, such as vehicle maintenance and repairs, fuel, and general wear and tear.
- Traveling by other vehicles: Along with a car, you can also hit the open road with a motorcycle or even an RV. The former provides an iconic, extremely affordable travel option, while the latter allows you to bring your own lodging with you.
Considerations When Traveling Cross Country
While there are a variety of different ways to make your journey, there are several things you’re going to want to consider, regardless of the form of transportation that you opt for.
Put Your Safety First
If you’re going to be visiting new places, always make sure to consider any safety precautions before you leave, especially if you’re traveling alone.
- Do you know the phone number for local law enforcement at your destination?
- Have you considered what balance of credit and cash you want to travel with?
- Do you have any important documents like your driver’s license, passport, or visa both with you and stored in a safe place?
- Does someone you trust know when and where you’ll be traveling?
Put Your Health Second
Along with your safety, you want to consider your health as you travel. Some health considerations are obvious, while others are less so.
- Make sure to bring any medications you need along with you.
- Bring lumbar and neck support if you’re going to spend a significant amount of time in a seat.
- Use public restrooms carefully in order to avoid picking up unwanted germs.
- Take your vitamins before and during your travels to bolster your immune system.
Make a Budget
As with all expensive endeavors, make sure to create a travel budget that accounts for all predictable expenses. Once you have your raw numbers, make sure to factor in a little extra to account for any unexpected costs as you go.
Gather Your Gear
You’ll need different gear depending on how you travel. If you’re using a motorcycle, for instance, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with accessories like a good, thick jacket, tail bags and saddlebags, extra oil, and anything else you might need to ride cross country.
A plane, on the other hand, requires comfortable clothes and perhaps a laptop bag or a good book. Whatever the case, always consider your gear carefully beforehand.
Find Resources to Help You Along the Way
There are many small questions and concerns you may have as you travel. For instance, if you like to bring alcohol with you in your car, make sure that you’re aware of what states have special rules about the transportation and consumption of alcohol.
TravelSites is a great resource that can help with a large variety of different travel-related questions. The site is dedicated to providing easy-to-find, informative answers about all things travel.
Make sure to think about how you plan to stay connected while traveling. For instance, if you’re going by car, make sure you have a quality car charger for your phone. If you’re traveling by train, bus, or plane, consider getting a portable charger to keep your digital devices operating.
Additionally, if you’re going to be traveling internationally and want to be able to make use of your phone related to data, messaging, or call use, make sure that your phone plan is set up to handle the international communication. Don’t wait until you arrive in your destination country before making sure you’ll be able to find your way.
Have Fun With It
While there are numerous options and considerations when it comes to cross country traveling, one fact that remains the same is to have fun as you go. The opportunity to see other places shouldn’t be lost in a barrage of logistics and stress.
Try to avoid committing to an overly-rigid plan, and do your best to go with the flow. If you can keep your spirits positive, you’ll be able to make the most of any long-term travel situation, whether you’re hopping on a plane for a business trip, cross country camping in your RV, or anything in between.