With huge stretches of roads, stunning scenery and an incredible diversity of cultures and landscapes across each state, North America is the perfect destination for a driving holiday.
This incredible continent is one of the best in the world for enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with a fly-drive trip. Plus, the excellent highways provide a useful network between cities and states. Whether you’re enjoying a Florida holiday, visiting the deserts of Arizona, racing along Route 66 or exploring the Wild West, there’s a driving route to suit you.
For those interested in stepping behind the wheel and touring the US, American Holidays has put together some handy tips for planning your trip:
Plan your itinerary carefully
With so many wonderful places to visit in each region, it’s important to plan your journey carefully, making sure to fit in the places you want to see without overstretching yourself. It can be easy to underestimate the distance between towns and cities, so study maps and driving routes to ensure you leave enough time to reach each location without being rushed. Booking multiple nights in the same place will give you the chance to take your time in an area and enjoy a rest from the road.
Organise accommodation in advance
With many popular hotels, motels and campsites filling up in advance, you may prefer to book accommodation before your trip so you don’t end up spending unexpected nights sleeping in your car. If you’re booking through a fly-drive tour operator then they can organise this on your behalf.
Pick the right car
From racy soft-top convertibles to SUVs and giant Hummers, most hire companies offer a wide range of vehicle options, but it’s important not to underestimate the amount of space you will need in your car. With people and luggage squeezed together for several hours a day, make sure you have ample room for an enjoyable journey. Consider a minivan or estate car if you’re likely to have several bags and passengers, or something sportier or smaller if you don’t need so much space.
Also, it’s worth paying the extra for Sat-Nav, as it will allow you to spend less time staring at maps and more time enjoying the drive.
Top tip: Before you leave the hire company’s car park, make sure to familiarise yourself with the controls. Ensure that you know where the lights, windscreen wipers and indicators are. Also, make sure to check for any scratches or dents prior to leaving so that you don’t end up footing the bill for previous damage.
Know how to drive in the US
There are several differences when driving in North America and many important tips to bear in mind when getting behind the wheel:
- You won’t be allowed to hire a car without the photo-card and paper parts of your driver’s license, so make sure to bring them along
- Americans drive on the right hand side of the road. Whilst it’s relatively easy to adjust, be particularly careful when pulling in or out of junctions
- Most cars are automatic, so if you’re used to driving with a gear stick then it may be worth familiarising yourself with the controls before setting off
- It is not illegal to undertake in the USA, so be prepared for cars passing you on all sides
- Unless there are signs telling you otherwise then right turns are allowed at red traffic lights, just make sure that the roads are clear
- Remember, when taking a long road trip, the same rules apply on holiday as in the UK so take plenty of water and be aware of your petrol levels. Stay prepared, as it may be a long way to the next shop or gas station
- Bear in mind that each state has different driving rules. For more information check out the individual Highway Department for each state you plan to visit
Simple planning and recommended routes
If you don’t have the time or patience for the nitty-gritty of fly-drive planning then you can arrange your trip through a tour company. Don’t worry about being tied down to their itinerary, as good operators will offer a mix of flexible options, ranging from simple flights and car hire to fully laid-out itineraries and hotel bookings.
American Holidays specialises in trips to North America and offers an assortment of tailor-made packages to fit within your ideal dates and time-frame.
For more information on Fly-Drive USA packages, visit www.americanholidays.com.