Road Trip to the USA: What Each Traveler Should Know?

Road Trip to the USA
Desert Road on the way to Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California | Photo by William Warby

The USA is a country of cars and roads, thus according to the unanimous opinion of experienced travelers, it’s most convenient to get to explore this country traveling behind the wheel of a car. The car gives the tourist the freedom of choosing the route, the independence from the public transport schedule and excursion routes. You can plan your own route or change it without unpleasant consequences by seeing something interesting aside from the route. In short, a trip to the USA by car is an unforgettable pleasure. However, in order for such a trip to be truly remembered for a long time with exceptionally pleasant moments, it’s worth knowing in advance some important nuances.

Car Rental

Our Rental Car
Our Rental Car | Photo by Scott Penner

Traveling with your own car is not always possible. The most common option is car rental. For example, you are going to visit Florida to have fun in local amusement parks. In this case, use Value rent a car in Orlando to book a vehicle. In the US, it’s allowed to rent a car with domestic driving license. Unlike the rules of some other countries, an international driver’s license is not always required in America. A person who rents a car must not be under 18 years old. In some rental companies, this limit is even higher – 21 years old. In order to get a rental car, you will need to provide:

  • passport with a valid visa;
  • driver’s license;
  • credit card.

If the driver is less than 24 years old, he will be entrusted with only low-cost car models and will be required to conclude an additional insurance protection.

Health Insurance Policy

Road Trip to the USA: What Each Traveler Should Know? 1
Health Care Costs: A picture of a piggy bank, a stethoscope and a wad of bank notes | Source: https://flic.kr/p/bmm8h6

As a rule, when planning a trip nobody thinks about possible visits to the doctor. Meanwhile, the human body is an unpredictable thing, and such a long journey as a road trip to the USA can bring not only pleasant surprises, but also health problems.

You should know that medicine in the United States is a rather expensive service, and the only way not to break your budget after getting to the hospital is to purchase medical insurance in advance.

It’s recommended to find out in advance what kind of health insurance you need, and what company has the most advantageous conditions.

Road Navigation

Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS Car Navigation System
Garmin nuvi 200 GPS Car Navigation | Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

For traveling on the roads of the USA, it’s advisable to pre-plan your route and stock up on a GPS navigator. Of course, it’s possible to add GPS Navigator option to your car rental, but in order to save up to $7-12/day – you can grab your GPS device from home. In this case don’t forget to download online programs and offline maps to your tablet or smartphone.

Also, paper road maps are available at any US market or gas station. Don’t neglect this opportunity, since such maps contain not only roads, but different sights that may interest you.

Toll Roads

Dulles Toll Road
Dulles Toll Road | Image Source: Wikipedia

In densely populated American cities and their surroundings there are a lot of toll highways. In the United States, there are several ways to pay on toll roads:

  • By using E-ZPass transponder – as a rule, it’s offered together with a rental car;
  • By using a credit card on the profile site via Internet – this is a fairly convenient way, since you can pay within a few days after you have passed the highway;
  • By cash – this is quite a rare way, but it’s also used.

The transponder is convenient mainly for multiple payments. For example, if you plan to move in advance on a number of toll roads.

Traffic Regulations

Traffic Lights on Street Corner on Broadway Near Downtown Hagerstown
Traffic Lights on Street Corner on Broadway Near Downtown Hagerstown, MD | Source: Wikimedia Commons

Basic speed limits in the US:

  • on the motorway – 55-75 miles per hour;
  • in the city – 20-25 miles per hour;
  • in the residential area – 15 miles per hour.

The maximum excess speed is 5 miles per hour. For higher speed you will have to pay a fine. It’s important to know that the size of the penalty depends on how much the permissible speed is exceeded. The fine can reach several thousand dollars.

If you have violated the rules, then you’ll need to pay for it. There are three ways to quickly pay a fine:

  • In cash on the spot. The policeman will give you receipt of payment;
  • Send the required amount to the police department directly in an envelope indicating the necessary accompanying information – the police officer will always tell you how to arrange it;
  • Through a specialized website.

Also, you need to follow all the requirements when parking a car: use the parking brake on a sloping road, and pay for a parking space. Free parking, can be found near large markets, near eateries or cafes.

Gas Stations

Road Trip to the USA: What Each Traveler Should Know? 2
Standard Gas Station, Las Vegas, Nevada | Source: https://flic.kr/p/dUvJ2n

The USA is a country of roads and cars, but the local infrastructure is not always well developed. In remote and sparsely populated areas, gas stations can be located at a considerable distance from each other.

In order to avoid troubles, you should always fill the full fuel tank and ensure that the level of gasoline is not less than half the available volume. Otherwise, the trip can turn into a hopeless situation somewhere in the middle of a deserted road.

This recommendation is considered to be very relevant by those who traveled through the national parks of this country: sometimes it’s very difficult to find gas stations in such places.

A road trip to the USA is an unforgettable, bright and comfortable adventure, which will be remembered for a lifetime. We have shared with you some important information that can help make this trip as enjoyable as possible. Have a good journey!

You’ll also like to read: 5 Amazing Places You Should Not Miss While Planning a Family Trip to Singapore

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