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Planning your road trip

If you're planning to move cross-country, you should give your route some serious thought. Instead of taking the quickest route, you could take some worthwhile detours to make the move more memorable. Here are some points to consider before making the trip.

When planning to move cross-country, the route you choose becomes more than just a means to an end: it's an experience in and of itself. That's why it's important to give your travel plans some serious thought. Are you only interested in making it across the country as quickly as possible? Would you like to see some sights along the way? Is your car or truck equipped to handle snow or heat? Be sure to ask these questions and many more before beginning one of the longest moves you can make on four wheels within the U.S.

The straight shot

If you're just trying to get from point A to point B, then the best place for you to start researching your route online. For movers who are trying to cut across the center of the country and are starting from a relatively central location on the East or West coast, then I-80 may be your quickest bet. Traveling from San Francisco to Washington D.C., I-80 West will take you about 2,814 miles in 41 hours. The next quickest would be a combination of I-70 West and I-80 West, clocking in around 42 hours. 

However, you need to keep in mind a few things, the first being that traffic can delay your drive not by minutes, but hours. Research what roads may be under construction or where there are common delays, and look for alternative routes. There are, in fact, hundreds of ways to cross the U.S., and you should be ready to take detours if necessary. Apps can be incredibly helpful in this regard, and Google Maps in particular can give you traffic updates and an estimated time of arrival in real-time.


When making your journey, it's also important that you consider the season. Climate and temperature are noteworthy for people who make the trip for fun, but if you're moving, knowing what kind of weather you could be facing is essential to a safe and smooth journey. In general, it's better to take southern routes in the winter and northern routes in the summer. Wintry drives through Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana may make sense for a Chicagoan heading to Portland, but come January, winter storms and icy roads can make for a hellish trip through the heartland.

Conversely, I-40 may bring Virginians swiftly to Los Angeles, but oppressive summer temperatures and humidity can wreak havoc on your engine as your cooling components struggle to keep it from overheating. This an especially big concern for movers. If you've packed up your car, you may be putting added strain on it by carrying excessive weight. Trucks, too, have a large load with which to cope that can make breaking down more of a possibility in high heat. 

Consider the scene

There are probably only so many times that you'll have a practical reason to drive from coast-to-coast, so why not take advantage of the invitation for adventure? Whether traveling north, south, halfway through the heartland or along the Canadian border, there are plenty of scenic routes for you to choose from. A great resource is Road Trip USA, which maps out plenty of paths to see the nation at its finest. 

One of the most famous cross-country routes is Route 66, which links Chicago to Los Angeles and has become classic fodder for pop and country songs throughout the years. As the National Park Service noted on its website, "Route 66 was the result of America's infatuation with rapid mobility, mass transportation, and technological change," a fact readily apparent in its many stereotypical truck stops and Americana sights. 

The Oregon Trail is another famed route that links the western state with Massachusetts. Movers can stop off at New York's Niagara Falls, Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park, famed metropolises such as Boston and Chicago, and countless other worthwhile stops in the American landscape. These and Route 66 are, of course, just some of many routes to be taken across the U.S.

No matter which way you choose to go, of course, you're bound to have a good road trip, so long as you're prepared for whatever comes your way. Arm yourself with some maps, some apps, a rough itinerary and a good playlist, and your drive should be smooth sailing.. 

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