One’s destination is never a place, but a new way to seeing things- Henry Miller
Isn’t travelling in a group more fun, you may ask.
It depends on who you are and what you are looking for from the trip. I like to discover myself. While on a solo long drive, the time that I get to talk to myself is the time I always crave for.
It requires some amount of planning when you are travelling alone especially if you will be driving alone cross-country.
Let the whole world debate on whether planning is an art or science. But it sure can be made effective with experience. With each trip, I find new ways to improve my next plan.
I hope you are not looking for a quick summary here.
Route planning – the old school way
May I remind you that people used to do cross-country trips before someone even thought about Google maps. They would rely on printed maps and even ask around the road conditions, gas stations along the route, hotels etc. before they start the trip. Do not get surprised as this is still happening in many countries where GPS navigation is not as popular.
Today we just enter the destination address in our car GPS and that’s it- wherever it takes us and we follow. Some of us are smarter and use Google navigation on their phones. So why are we discussing going back to old school anyways? Because its you who is smarter than those little devices.
The traditional navigation software’s are not that smart enough to give you the “smart” route. They will tell you which one is fast or which one is short. But what about the scenic routes? And yeah, what about road conditions ? Forget about safe routes.
In future, may be they will all give you these options but for now let’s stick to good old method in a smarter way.
I generally check other forums and similar expeditions by others to find out the best route. Remember, the best route may not be the quickest one but it will be the safest and enjoyable. When I see two or more routes to the destination, I look for road details. Details as in whether there are cities along the route, gas stations, historic spots, rest areas etc. Search in Google with the interstate or highway number and you will get many reviews. In short, what I am asking you to do is to create your own custom map. Most of the navigation tools will let you add multiple stops and you can use that feature to create your own route. You are driving alone so got to be well prepared as much as possible. This has helped me numerous times. There is a difference between a race track and ‘road trip track’- you know now.
Some of the links which I use while planning my route.
Historic locations, food etc long the route https://roadtrippers.com/
Rest Area locator http://restareas.appspot.com/
Road condition http://www.safetravelusa.com/