Tips/Links/Advice for traveling across the country?
April 9, 2008 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Possibly moving from Southern CA to Rhode Island. Do you have any Tips/Links/Advice for traveling across the country?

Both my boyfriend and I would be going and we don't have too much stuff..But..
He just leased a new car and he can't run up too many miles on it. What would be the best way to get his car from one side of the country to another without all the wear and tear?

Also, I haven't driven much more than 5 hours away from where I live. How would I go about planning a trip across the country?

Any kind of help would be great.
posted by poryphia to Travel & Transportation around Rhode Island (4 answers total)
You don't really need to plan if you don't want to; hotels are plentiful along the interstates, so you can just get in the car and go, pretty much. Services are a little sparse through California/Arizona/New Mexico, so be careful about gas there--personally, I fill up whenever I'm half empty there. The eastern half of the country won't be any trouble in that respect.

A big Rand McNally road atlas may be useful for route planning. In general, the interstates are convenient, fast, and boring; if you want to get across fast, stick to them, but if you want to see stuff, think about some side trips on other roads.

P.S. About the boyfriend's car: this isn't exactly what you asked for, but on the off chance that you're more concerned about wear and tear than mileage, I would reconsider driving it. The wear and tear will be negligible; 90% of the time you'll be cruising down a nicely-paved highway at 70 mph.
posted by equalpants at 1:11 PM on April 9, 2008

generally speaking, you'll put less wear & tear on your vehicle by sticking to major highways for long-term high-speed travel - unfortunately, the major highways will also have the most corporate options for both food (bleh) & lodging (sometimes a bit cheaper, but usually reeking of industrial cleanser & cigarettes)

keep an eye peeled for grocery stores - you'll spend a lot less on food & will have a lot more healthy & delicious options - plus you can stop & have picnics, which can be a nice break from driving

take your vitamins - they can help keep you feeling well & ease the stress of driving on your mind & body

drink lots of fluids - same reason

get a small cooler & a couple of freezer packs to keep'em cold

get a good road atlas of the US

good mixtapes / mix CDs are essential - essential, i say! ask friends that share your musical tastes for some so that you have new stuff to listen to as well as old favorites

having an AAA card can be very very useful if you break down in the middle of the night somewhere & need a tow

do y'all like reading? i've often read out loud with folks going cross-country - it can really help to pass the time in an enjoyable way & is a good break from non-stop tunes

definitely stop every few hours or so to get out & stretch, especially if you're driving in the later hours when you might feel sleepy - i've often brought a frisbee along to have something other to do than just walk about

don't drive when you're sleepy! it's one of the easiest ways to have an accident - stop & sleep

learn how to give each other good massages if you don't already know how - it can really help at the end of a long day of traveling, both for your muscles & your mood

cut each other a lot of slack - driving for long periods of time can really stress people out - don't let small irritations build into anything larger

unless you're really pressed for time don't just drive straight through without stopping to see something every now & then - even along the major highways in the US there's usually interesting & unique stuff worth seeing nearby - if you can say which areas of the country you'll be heading through, it might help with folks recommending such places

feliz viaje!
posted by jammy at 1:29 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

The car: you have three options, drive it, drag it, or ship it. Google "car transport" or a similar phrase to get way more shipping company websites than you have ever seen before. Call or email for quotes -- it is an intensely competitive business and it won't take many calls to find what the market price is for that distance. Driving it might be cheaper, unless you are paying the lease company an outrageous mileage fee for the extra mileage. Or, for probably the most money of all the options (but assuming you have more stuff), you can rent a truck and trailer, put your stuff in the truck, and pull the car on the trailer. (If you ship the car, then you have to get yourselves and your stuff across the country without your car, obviously.)

About driving across the country: if you are mostly on the interstates, no need to pre-plan anything; there are hotels and gas stations and restaurants and rest areas the whole way. Buy a road atlas, and use two or three of the free routing websites (eg Google maps, mapquest, etc) to compare routes. If you are driving a big rental truck with a diesel engine, be aware that not all gas stations in the east have diesel (it's more common out west, it seems). Get AAA or a similar membership that offers roadside assistance, have credit cards and cash, and you are ok.
posted by Forktine at 1:30 PM on April 9, 2008

Just did that. No matter what the locals say, buy a really expensive down jacket (preferably with a hood). And THICK wool socks.

About the trip: I like going slow and seeing awesome cities more than saving money/getting there fast. Talk to your boyfriend about what cities you've always want to go to. I like the southern route (with a long stop in New Orleans for sure).
posted by Murray M at 2:53 PM on April 9, 2008

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