5 HOT tips for surviving a USA road trip
If you’d asked me three years ago if living in a van in America for three weeks sounded appealing, I would’ve answered with an uber loud “helllllllll no”.
Driving on the other side of the road, showering sporadically. Using the front mirrors to apply make-up. Sleeping in the back seat, on the floor, on the roof. Dealing with a million different public toilet seats. Ugh!
But when I found myself signing up to a road trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles, the thought of both hotels AND fuel eating up my budget had me quickly warming up to the ‘accommodation on wheels’ option. After all, this was ‘Murica, land of the RV.
Here are 5 tips you’ll need to survive a road trip in the USA:
1. A reliable mode of transport.
We used Wicked Vans, who, undeniably, have a pretty interesting reputation. However, the 5 Sleeper Camper van we picked up in Vancouver was totally fine. Sure, it was pretty slow and guzzled fuel like a dairy cow guzzles water, but, hey, at least it looked cool. Any fans of Beetlejuice in the house?
2. Gas stations.
Aside from the obvious, you’ll also need gas stations to top up on your car snacks. We found that snacks high in sugar, like these pretzles were most effective at keeping us alert on our long (up to 12 hours) driving days.
Also, caffeine. Leave your inner coffee snob at the door- American gas stations offer up large-size filter coffee cups (think large slurpie-size cups) with little sachets of flavoured cream. We discovered Rev Coffee, a highly caffeinated filter coffee that jump-starts your heart and had me go from yawning in the passenger seat to dancing in 20 minutes flat.
We were also pretty great driving buddies, always ensuring we had enough to drink and chatting so we stayed alert at all times.
3. Casino car parks.
Here’s a great tip: you can sleep in the car parks of rural casinos as long as you go in, gamble and have a few drinks! You can also park in rural Walmart car parks if you call ahead and ask first. Seriously- here’s us set up at the Spirit Mountain Casino, just outside of Portland.
It’s past midnight and we find ourselves at Spirit Mountain Casino, some miles past Portland. We can park our van here in the car park for free tonight, on the condition that we join the Coyote Club, drink and gamble. LA bound, we share the highway with a million RV’s. A photo posted by @whosmitzi on
Here’s the ultimate Casino map of the route we took. You’re welcome 😉
4. Regular stops.
Let’s be real, driving can be pretty monotonous. Some of the amazing places we stopped were:
.. and Monterey, near San Fran, to check out the seals.
5. A travel anthem.
The song you choose must be played regularly, to the point that whenever you hear it you burst into tears or laugh (preferably both). Ours was this:
Hand out the window, music screaming through the speakers, day #8 without a shower, I realised that, yeah, living in a van ain’t so bad!
True freedom and adventure are the best things in the world.