How to Prepare for a Southern U.S. Road Trip

A road trip through the Southern U.S. typically brings plenty of warmth and sunshine while allowing you to see the sights in many different states. For example, if you’re traveling from Los Angeles, California to Alabama after purchasing one of the Birmingham houses for sale, you’d pass through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, before reaching your destination. It’s about 30 hours straight through, but assuming you’d like to do it at a safer and more leisurely pace, stopping to enjoy attractions along the way, it’s best accomplished over at least a week and ideally two.

No matter how you plan to do it, it’s important to be prepared for such a long journey.

Map it Out

Depending on your exact starting and ending point, as well as how quickly you want to get there, before you start planning, map out your route and determine where to stop along the way. Even if you want to wing it, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of the places you might be able to spend the night so you don’t end up stuck out on the road driving longer than you should. If you have time, you may be able to include side trips to visit national parks – driving Interstate 40 through Arizona, the Grand Canyon is less than an hour from Williams. Playing with the map and determining the possibilities is all part of the fun.

Plan for the Heat

A Southern road trip means that there is a good chance you’ll be driving through some extreme heat. Around the Death Valley area in California’s Mojave Desert, the mercury has climbed as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That makes it a must to plan for those high temperatures in case your vehicle breaks down or an unexpected delay occurs, and you can’t keep running the a/c. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water for everyone who will be traveling with you as well as an umbrella for shade, sun protection, and a cooler. Freezing bottles of water and placing them in the cooler can come in very handy for cooling off or thawing to drink.

Before you leave, you might want to get your vehicle checked out or go the DIY route, topping off vital engine fluids ensuring your battery is up to par and your tires are properly inflated. If your tires are overinflated or underinflated, hot pavement can cause a blowout. If you don’t have them already, get sunshades or a windshield screen for sun protection. There’s nothing worse than getting into a sizzling hot car after returning from a hike or sightseeing.

Know the Laws of the Road in the States You’ll Be Driving Through

Something many people don’t think about is that driving laws vary by state. In many states, texting or otherwise using your smartphone can lead to a big fine. In some states, you not only have to move over to the side of the road if a police car, fire truck, or ambulance is coming through with flashing lights but for rural mail carriers. In Arkansas, if you’re driving after 9 p.m., it’s illegal to use your horn. Before you take off, do some research to find out if there are any laws you should be aware of.

Don’t Forget the Playlist

No road trip is complete without having the perfect tunes for the highway. That might mean songs like Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” or the Eagles’ “Take it Easy” (especially when driving through Winslow, Arizona), but whatever you prefer, just be sure to download it before you leave for those miles of roadway that don’t have cell service.



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