Coast to coast travel tips

By Heather Gurecki

 

Late on a mid-semester Wednesday two of my friends and I drove across country for a music festival and were back in time for class on Tuesday. We drove from Massachusetts to California in 48 hours and back in 50 hours so I had to endure it all from the shitty gas station coffee to the 12 hour driving shifts. While it’s rare to find yourself on an expedited trip across the country and back, here are some tips to keep yourself sane and the wallet in tact in case you do.

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  • Pack your own food

In a Nissan Altima it costs roughly 250$ to get from coast to coast, so saving money is a must for the financially challenged. Plus, there aren’t that many “healthy” places to stop along the country’s busiest highways, so getting your own cold cuts and snacks beforehand could keep your body and your wallet feeling good while you’re crammed in the car. This was the longest road trip I had attempted so we ran out of the filling food rather quickly. I would’ve packed more sandwiches and less pretzels.

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  • Space things out (assuming you are a driver)

There were only two licensed drivers on the trip, me being one, and we had decided before we started that we were driving straight through and stopping only for gas (and obviously, the Grand Canyon). The first step to getting through a driving shift is to manage your time. You want a coffee? Wait just one more hour. Listen to the radio for another hour before putting on your favorite playlist (ALWAYS prepare playlists). You get the idea, you can test your willpower and pass time quicker, killing two bird with one stone.

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  • Choose the long way

I am specifically talking about the long way to the Grand Canyon. There are two ways to get to the canyon, a new, faster way and the old way, long and untouched. We chose the long way (worth it). While I suggest taking the long way through the country as well (backroads over highways any day), the old route to the canyon was a nice change from the miles of highway that preceded it.

  • Talk to everyone!

The best memories from that trip were the interactions we had with other people. The old man in Wal-mart telling us about his similar experience in the 70’s, the police in three states, and dozens of gas station attendants all had something to offer whether it was advice or personal experience.