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There are hundreds of sights to see across the North American continent. Traveling from coast to coast may seem daunting for the inexperienced road tripper, but with a functional vehicle and a solid plan of action, anyone can endeavor to cross the continental United States and see the sights along the way.

Preparing for a road trip requires significant research and precautionary measures. Ensure your vehicle is up to code and won’t need repairs in the near future. If you believe your car won’t withstand a journey of several thousand miles, you can rent an RV, which would also eliminate the need for hotel accommodations.

Make sure you are able to take several weeks away from personal and professional obligations and make any necessary arrangements to provide for plants, pets, and other responsibilities. Crossing the country will take time, so it is important that travelers recognize this before getting started.

From sightseeing locales and restaurants, you don’t want to miss to gas stations and hotels, planning out stops along your journey will be essential for effectively and efficiently managing your time and resources. Additionally, plotting out these stops can help you identify the best route(s) to maximize your time and minimize stress.

When booking accommodations ahead of time, you should try to find establishments that are not well-known; hidden gems can enhance your trip by granting you new and unexpected experiences. It is important that you book your stays months in advance, as rooms can sell out sooner than you might expect.

You should certainly aim to stop at well-known locations such as Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and the Empire State Building, but be sure to add a few niche locales to your list. Unorthodox attractions like the Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota, the SPAM Museum in Minnesota, and the World’s Largest Basket in Ohio can make your road trip even more memorable and unique.

Likewise, identifying a few places to eat prior to departing will give you an opportunity to try new things and appeal to everyone’s unique tastes. You can sample local cuisine or compare your favorite dishes across the states. Naturally, planning every meal can limit your options once you’re on the road, but giving yourselves a few options before leaving can save time, minimize stress, and help you budget for your trip.

Eating out at every meal is likely not possible, especially when considering the length of the journey. Pack food that can be kept over time, and if you bring food that requires refrigeration, ensure that you have the means of keeping these items fresh.

In general, having a plan is essential when going on a coast-to-coast road trip. You can leave some room for improvisation and detours, but ensure that you have an outline to avoid stress and unforeseen costs.