There is something distinctively American about a good old-fashioned road trip. Buy a map, chuck a few clothes into a backpack, fill the car up with gasoline and hit the open road, roaming around on a solo mission or with a group of friends for weeks on end, traveling from city to city and state to state.

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It’s a straightforward recipe for success – if everything goes to plan. Sometimes, however, that can be easier said than done.

The sheer size of America makes the planning process important. Having a rough idea of a start and end point, as well as possible stop-offs, might remove some of the spontaneity from a road trip, but it’ll allow you to budget better. The last thing you want to do is run out of money in the middle of nowhere and be forced to return home with your tail between your legs. Check if you’ll require a visa and sort this as far in advance as possible.

Your health and safety are paramount, so travel insurance is essential, especially as treatment under the American healthcare system can be cripplingly expensive. When it comes to travel insurance websites, many can help put your mind at ease and save you money.

The ease with which you’ll be able to travel around in America will depend on where you are, as the public transport network can be hit and miss when it comes to connecting one city with another directly. That said, you should have plenty of options available in terms of how you actually get around.

Internal flights offer convenience, while catching a bus or train would be easier on your pocket. The Greyhound bus company in particular is often praised for its deals and offers, so be sure to check it out. Hiring a car would give the greatest freedom to really explore America, although there are obvious cost implications.

Another major financial outlay will be on your accommodation. Staying at a hostel is a great way to meet other backpackers and they provide a basic service at a basic price. It’s no frills and cheap, which is ideal when you could be on the road for several weeks or even months. A hostel handbook would be a good investment if you’re really watching the pennies. If not, hotels and motels also offer a more expensive alternative.
Food and drink is cheap, and it’s unlikely that you’ll go hungry in America because the portion sizes tend to be more than enough. Don’t forget to tip, though. Everyone – from the taxi driver that picks you up at the airport to the waiter in your favorite restaurant – will expect to receive a few extra dollars.

To make sure your non-stop American adventure is a success, remember to be sensible. Tourists can be an easy target for minor crime, so stay alert and be vigilant. A Caxton FX card or an alternative prepaid currency card removes the need to carry around large amounts of money.

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