14 tips for a road trip in the US


No matter if you are choosing a car to rent or making a hotel reservation, it is important to know exactly what you are doing to avoid headaches while doing a road trip in the land of Uncle Sam.

With good roads and a few toll plazas - this report covered more than 7,400 kilometers passing through ten states without crossing any toll plaza - the United States is a common destination for anyone planning to travel by car overseas. The queue and the nearly two-hour wait at a Los Angeles airport car rental company make that even more explicit, even though the computer system crash was also responsible for the delay.

The second most populous city in the US, Los Angeles is the initial choice for many "road trips". From this city, tourists usually split between two routes:  driving up the coast to San Francisco or heading to the desert to have fun in Las Vegas and then visiting the Grand Canyon. But before planning the trip, remember that although the minimum age for driving there is 16 years, those who rent a car must be, at least, 21 years old, and those who are not 25 years old yet must pay an extra fee. See other 15 tips below:


1. Group money

When you are in a group, nothing is as annoying as splitting the check at each restaurant or bar. Now imagine doing this on a trip, at least, twice a day. In Brazil, each person swipes his card and the problem is solved. In the US, not all establishments have this policy, and it is no wonder that the waiter always opens a big smile when he hears from a large table that everything can be included in a single bill.

One way to solve this and other issues that demand money and bills is to have a separate amount just for group use. Each member gives the same amount o money, which must be under someone’s control (if there is an accountant in the group, it is better). The group money can be used for food, gas or hotel - the group defines what it will used for - until it ends. When this happens, a new deposit must be made.

2. Make a good investment when choosing car rentals

When traveling by car, it is advisable to pay special attention to the rental vehicle. Depending on the travel itinerary, you will spend more time on four wheels than in a hotel room, so check, compare prices and pay the insurance. A flat tire on a desert road is more common than you can imagine.

3. Adopt a fuel policy

In Brazil, we always know where there is a gas station nearby when the fuel light shows your car is running on reserve fuel. But when we are abroad, we do not know if we are close to it. So, set a rule like, always refuel when the tank comes in half or whenever you prefer.

4. Stock up on water in the car

You can find packages with 24 bottles of water (with 500 ml to 600 ml) in supermarkets, for prices you will hardly believe, sometimes around $ 3 to $ 5. It's not just a matter of seizing the opportunity, buy a package of these items because you will use it up. It will come out cheaper than buying just a bottle whenever you are thirsty. And do not worry about taking the package wherever you go, leave it in the car.

5. Stop signs really mean ... Stop

Whenever you see such a sign, even on a quiet residential street without much movement, stop. There is nothing to question here. Another important detail about the American traffic: you must always yield to pedestrians, but, different from what we see in other countries, there are not many crazy drivers accelerating their cars to make pedestrians walk faster on the crosswalk. The green light has just opened for you and the pedestrians are just beginning to cross to the other side? I am sorry but you will have to wait.

6. And animal signs on the road really means ... Animal may unexpectedly cross the road!

Never, under any circumstances, underestimate the animal signs on the roadway. In regions close to national parks, it is common to see small animals run over. In places like Yellowstone National Park, for example, you may find bisons walking quietly meters from the road. Watch for slow traffic whenever this happens. As bad as running over an animal is to cause an accident involving many cars.

7. Consider buying a mobile phone chip in the country

Depending on the duration of your trip, you may need a telephone chip, especially as monthly plans are not usually cheap, costing on average between $60 and $70. Why does it make a difference to have one? To look for places to eat and stay, to download map routes - if you are traveling by car, you are not likely to use local public transportation - and avoiding the expensive telephone rates from foreign telephone companies when you are abroad are some of the benefits you may have.

If more than one person in the group buys a chip, consider buying from different carriers. Why? If the service of one of them is bad in the region you are, perhaps the service of the other is not. This minimizes the risk of you being totally without a signal.

8. You were not able to book all hotels? Do not worry about it

Many people travel by car precisely because of the unpredictability of sleeping in an unknown city or a travel itinerary that is not 100% arranged. Even cities with 20,000 inhabitants, or maybe fewer, have a good number of road hotel available. If you cannot make reservations during the trip, try not to arrive at night because the probability of finding "no vacancy" cards is higher.

9. I have not found hotels or they are too expensive. Try to rent an apartment

An alternative to expensive or distant hotels from where you want to stay is to rent a house or an apartment using services like Airbnb. But, before closing the deal, read the reviews of previous guests to avoid setbacks. Two important tips here: Reservation must be booked well in advance, because some minimal communication between the landlord and the tenant is important. And services like Airbnb are often more frequent in tourist cities.

10. Interact with locals

Small or strictly local establishments, which are not located in a tour place, may not appear in web searches. If you want to “feel” the place, ask the locals - the first choice is usually the hotel staff - where people who live in the city usually go to eat, drink and have fun.

11. Are you a beer fan? Explore local breweries

The American brewing school is not secular like the German, Belgian, English or Czech, but it has gained its space among lovers and experts in the last years. It is estimated that there are more than 2,800 breweries in the US, and they may be in the least expected places. In Pinedale, Wyoming, for example, a town of 2,000 people, Wind River Brewing has more than ten labels of its own, including a mango-containing wheat beer.

12. Be careful with lunchtime, especially at night.

In large urban centers, it is possible to find places to eat that are open until 2am in the morning or fast-food chains with 24h drive-through, but in the small and medium urban centers, that is not always possible. Make arrangements and avoid looking for a place to eat after 10pm or you may end up eating at a convenience store and your crackers will be much more expensive than those you would find in supermarkets.

13. If you are in doubt, go to a fast-food place

Nutritionists do not advise, but on a road trip, time is valuable. The US is known for its vast network of fast-food chains: McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, KFC, Wendy's, Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Denny's, Pizza Hut, Chipotle, Carl's Jr., among others. You will find at least three such snack bars in every city you stop by, regardless of population. They are inexpensive, practical and, most important, fast, ideal for those who need to come back to the road soon. However, it is not a good idea to do it every day.

14. Are you going to the US and want to renew your wardrobe? Think Oregon

Traveling to the US is generally synonymous with shopping, in fact, a lot of shopping. One of the  most known routes by tourists is to leave Los Angeles for San Francisco or Las Vegas and Grand Canyon in the sequence. On that way, consider going through Oregon. Why? Because the sales tax, which usually ranges from 6% to 8% nationwide, is zero over there. Also remember to leave the outlet malls for the final part of the trip, when you have a clear idea of ??how much you can spend on it. And Oregon still has breathtaking roads.

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