Toy car with luggage on a vintage globe map of the United States with a shallow depth of field.
Toy car with luggage on a vintage globe map of the United States with a shallow depth of field.

Traveling cross country can be one of the most rewarding experiences. However, if badly planned, it can lead to unnecessary stress and the inherent charm in traveling is lost.

A set of rules kept in the back of the head can fix that however. Here are some great tips for traveling cross country:

1. Fix your route: It is very important to first decide the route one is going to take. Fix the transportation that you would like to take at the same time. Buy paper maps, get back up batterieis for your GPS device, invest in a good car charger if you are going to drive. And carry maps with alternate routes highlighted. This saves time when lost.

2. Check the weather report: If you are travelling cross country, you would probably be travelling through different climate changes. Carrying a sunbrolly or an umbrella is always a good idea, so are sensible shoes. Pack accordingly. The internet is your best friend, here.

3. Pack light: Unless you are attending a wedding, your bags should not bog you down. It is always sensible to carry cases which itself are light weight but sturdy. The luggage industry has made great strides in that direction. Make a list of essentials – a first aid box is a must, carry an inflatable water bottle and pillow, a pair of light weight towels, quick dry underwear, socks, spare shoes and slippers. If you are not a finicky dresser, a pair of jeans, several quick dry light weight trousers and tshirts should do with you. However, if you are indeed the dressing up for every day kinds, then think mix and match which can rotate in that backpack of yours and create an extensive wadrobe just with elaborate thinking. Those little bottles of cosmetics, shampoo, soap that you have collected from your hotel stays over the years will come in use now as well as the sample sets you may have bought while criss crossing airports.

4. Prep your car if you are driving: If you are driving, your car is going to be your first companion, the human sitting beside you or on the back seat a close second. Pamper your car. Examine it like a scientist would microbes under a microscope. Send it for servicing, map out gas and service stations on the route. Make sure your spare tyre is in good shape as well as the repair kit. Check and update all the car and driving related papers such as insurance, pollution check, tax, driving license and permits as applicable.

5. Gather your identity papers: Scan the important identity papers and keep multiple copies stored in the cloud, a micro SD, a hard disk and a laptop atleast. Keep photocopies in your hand baggage, luggage and in a folder in the car. Keep multiple copies of passport and stamp size photographs.

6. Keep a diary: This will have all emergency contact details and captured snippets of information about the places you will pass through – including leads of places you can rest for the night.

Above everything, feel positive and you will be all set for a wonderful cross country trip.

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