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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

There’s no doubt about it, travelling by car in the USA is by far the best means of transportation. Getting around any other way can be tricky and pricey due to its size. Road trips are just a natural part of summer holidays in America. Here’s how to hit the open road and where to find the best car hire deals in America.

When it comes to snagging a cheap rental car there are a few tricks to the trade. Certain cities just naturally offer better rates than others, depending on the area, the same goes with gas. This can really influence from where you start your road trip adventure. Maybe you’re planning on booking a cheap flight to New York City and then taking off from there to see Niagara Falls or Chicago. Buses and train services aren’t as extensive in the US as they are in Europe, meaning that having a rental car during your holiday will really come in handy.

When it comes to planning a road trip, you should really know where you want to start and where you want to end, because it’s nearly impossible to cover all the ground. The best way to find a good car hire deal is to do your research. Make a search on for rental cars in the USA. If you know your pick-up and drop-off locations, then you can specify your budget and what kind of features you need in your car.

6 tips for American road trips!

  • If you don’t think you will need a car to reach places like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, you will. There is no public transportation stopping in places like these. You also won’t find “real” America in the major cities so if you want to explore small-town Texas, you’ll definitely need a car.
  • Because of its size, the US can be divided up into different regions, each is quite distinct from the others, with its own culture and way of life. Americans across the country don’t fit the stereotypes like you may think they do, so embrace their differences and see’em all!
  • Youth hostels are not so common. There is usually one near a national park and only a handful in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Hotels and motels are more common, as is camping at a roadside trailer park.
    What'll you take? Earl grey or English breakfast? (img: cc)
  • Fast food is road food. Surprised? Food and gas will eat up the majority of your road trip budget and along the free-way you won’t likely find anything else but fast food joints. Instead, pack a cooler and fill up on fruits, trail mix (GORP) and cut veggies for snacks. Not a bad idea either to make sandwiches a day ahead.
  • Don’t stick to the interstates, venture off on your own and explore the smaller roads. You’ll find more American authenticity off the beaten track than in the big cities. Follow the signs for oddities like the world’s largest teapot in Chester, West Virginia or President Lincoln’s last bowel movement, perfectly preserved at the Dime Museum in Baltimore.
  • Petrol or gas prices aren’t the same across the country. It tends to be more expensive in large cities, along the coasts and in the northern regions. If you’re really on a budget, stick to the south or western mountain regions to save on gas.

Have you ever taken a road trip across America? Tell us about some of your favourite stops!

Img: rimonrijper / flickr cc

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