Julia D'Orazio
February 27, 2022

The Ultimate US Road Trip Guide 2022: Where To Go, Where To Hire, What To Pack

Think of America as the ultimate travel mood board with many diverse cities, landscapes and exotic locales right on your doorstep, making it a fun place to discover by car. So get ready to rev the engine as we share our USA road trip guide to help plan your next travel route.


Where to go on your USA road trip


Options appear to be endless when deciding where to go on your ultimate USA road trip.Do you want to find your inner Zen in nature or want to be feeling the energies of the big smoke? Feel like being cultured and experiencing something entirely new? 

Thankfully, you don't have to settle on just one type of experience. Enjoy 'em all we say! Here are a few to get you inspired for your next USA road trip.


Catskills Scribners Lodge
Image by Scribner's Lodge

Road trip from New York

Stops: New York, New York – Catskill Mountains – Saratoga – Adirondack Mountains – Thousand Islands – Niagara Falls

Suggested duration: 14 days


New York itself might be all one big hustle and bustle, but beyond the city lights, there are plenty of gorgeous countrysides to explore – mountains included. You might even find one of these cozy cabins across Hudson Valley to keep you comfy.  


Road trip from Phoenix  

Stops: Phoenix, Arizona – Sedona, Arizona – Flagstaff, Arizona – Grand Canyon, Arizona – Las Vegas, Nevada

Suggested duration: 14 days

From mountain peaks to the depths of the Grand Canyon and all eerie ghost towns in between, this road trip from Arizona to Nevada covers a lot of ground. Need some extra Phoenix tips? Check out the best insiders guide to Phoenix. Or find out how you can have relaxation and adventure in Arizona.

Road trip from San Francisco

Stops: San Francisco, California – Muir Wood National Monument – Napa and Sonoma Valleys – Yosemite National Park – Monterey Country

Suggested duration: 18 days

Get a yin-yang of a city escape and California's diverse and pristine landscapes that are worth clogging everyone's Instagram feed.


Road trip from Seattle

Stops: Seattle, Washington – Bainbridge Island, Washington – San Juan Islands, Washington – Mt.Rainer National Park, Washington – Portland, Oregon

Suggested duration: 15 days

The ever-hip Seattle is the perfect base to discover what's good in the Pacific Northwest. Spot whales flapping their massive tails off Orcas Island, have ferry rides aplenty and enjoy the big-city vibes of Portland.

Streets in Alexaidria Vrginia
Image credit: Virginia Tourism Board

Road trip from Washington D.C

Stops: Washington D.C, D.C – Great Falls National Park, Virginia – Shenandoah National Park, Virginia – Luray, Virginia – Charlottesville, Virginia  – Norfolk, Virginia – Virginia Beach, Virginia
Suggested duration:
7 days

This road trip from Washington D.C lets you have a bit of everything with having beach time, mountain climbs, visiting the stunning Luray Carvens, and experiencing quaint towns filled with Southern charm in Virginia. 

Road trip from Nashville

Stops: Nashville, Tennesse – Memphis, Tennesse – Tunica, Mississippi – Clarksdale, Mississippi – New Orleans, Louisiana 

Suggested duration: 10 days

Embrace being cultured through song, architecture and most importantly, through the stomach on this epic road trip that takes you to the country’s musical capitals; Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. 

Van for road trip
Photo by Caleb George via Unsplash

Where to hire a van or camp on a road trip 


Questions to ask yourself before you hit the road is a) what is your budget? and b) what creature comforts can you do without?


Camping may not exactly have the five-star comfort factor, but who cares when you can sleep under billions of stars?! Check out what national park campgrounds exist on your travel route. If wanting the creature comforts, i.e. a bed and a proper bathroom, check out Hipcamp for quirky cabin stays, glamping and all national parks and farms in between.


Not sure if full-time van life is your jam? Don't worry; you don't have to commit to buying a van with plenty of options to hire one. Cabana, Indie Campers are just two in a sea of many that offer van hire, so you can enjoy having a 'home' on four wheels.


What to pack for a road trip


There are two types of packers in this world – those who can pack accordingly and those who like to pack their house with them. Depending on how big the car is or how many people are traveling, it might not be such an enjoyable experience if constantly playing Tetris with luggage to make sure everything fits right. 


To make things easier, we list eight must-have items (besides your usual travel checklist) for your epic road trip. And if you got extra space to pack in more than that, lucky you!


  • Plenty of water: It's essential to stay hydrated out on the road, even if you're not really exerting yourself sitting in the car. Pack plenty of water (we suggest a water jerry can) to stay hydrated and for the worst-case and unlikely scenario if you become stranded somewhere. 
  • Travel cooler: Save those extra pennies on going out for a feed all the time and instead, pack your own meals and store them in your travel cooler. Easy.
  • First aid kit: Be a doctor on the go and pack a stocked first aid kit just in case medical attention is required.
  • Blanket: Honey, it's cold inside. People can feel temperatures differently, so depending on your car's AC, whether it feels arctic to some and fine to others, pack a blanket just in case so no one is left out in the cold.
  • USB phone charger/cord: Make sure your phone always has enough juice by having a USB phone charger/cord ready at your disposal. It will save you from needing to conserve those precious phone battery bars.
  • An old-fashioned road map book: Yes, we are going old school with this recommendation, but if your phone or GPS stops working, you can keep calm and carry on your travels by using a road map book.
  • Hand sanitizer: We live in pandemic times to make sure you and your travel buddies leave some hand sanitizer in the car to stay clean. It will come in handy if you need to eat in the car or go to the toilet on the side of the road (hey, it happens!).
  • Plenty of snacks! Avoid the stomach rumbling faced with some long stretches on the road or checking out a remote national park by packing some roadtrip snacks. Your future self will thank you.


Make it enjoyable with the ultimate road trip playlist

You want to make the trip as fun and memorable (for all the right reasons!) as it can be. Besides traveling with people you gel with, there are other ways to make your roadtrip adventure more enjoyable. Chuck on a decent playlist to sing along to (or chill) or make time go fast with playing games. Get that crowd participation going!

Check out our top road trip playlists as curated by us to get your road trip pumping! 

Tips for road trip first-timers


Whether you're the driver or co-pilot, or backseat bandit, being on the road can get physically exhausting. 


Make sure when embarking on long trips to factor in regular pitstops. This includes coffee breaks or stretching those legs to get the blood circulating. Also, it's not always about going from A to B. If something grabs your attention, make sure to stop for it. It could all be part of the adventure and excitement of living life out on the road.


Coffee can also be your best friend, but there is only so much energy it can give you. Make sure to switch up driving responsibilities, so you're not driving tired.


Lastly, in the inspiring words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "It's not the destination, it's the journey." 


Enjoy the ride, folks!

Planning a road trip across the United States?


Why not try our free road trip planner? Curate moodboards to help you collect, organize, and map out your bucket lists and places to visit in one place. 

  • Save places shared by our travel-loving creators and community
  • Save links from your favorite, trusted websites
  • View all locations in an integrated map
  • Curate for your own bucket lists, or easily share with friends and fans
  • Like Pinterest and Google Maps had a baby


Sign up to try it out today.

Feature image: Venti Views on Unsplash

Plan your next trip with our free travel app

Whether it's a road trip, solo trip or group trip, Travis easily helps you and your friends create beautiful, visual interactive Moodboards of your ideas in one place.

Visual trip planner with place on the left and map on the right