Following our amazing trip over the past couple of weeks, these are our top tips for driving Route 66:
1. Have a SatNav – this is vital to seek out hotels and attractions. So often the traffic is fast and exits come up quickly, but if you make a wrong turn then the SatNav will get you back on track with a lot less stress than using a map.
2. If you want to use a credit card at petrol stations they often ask for your zip code. We used the three numbers from our UK postcode plus two zeros to make a five digit code, and that worked (a great tip we picked up from a Canadian guy).
3. Research and book your accommodation ahead of time, especially popular places. Look into Airbnb for local and homely places to stay; it made our trip so much richer and great value for money.
4. Buy an up-to-date Rand McNally map and mark out your route ahead of time. Your SatNav will often take you via the quickest route which may not be Route 66 or the way you want to go. Then at least you have an alternative.
5. Download Jamie Jensen's Road Trip USA: Route 66 on iPad or Kindle and follow the stories as you drive. The book pointed us to some iconic places to eat and visit that we would probably have missed otherwise, as well as giving fascinating accounts of the places we passed through.
6. If you don't have a USA mobile phone, buy a cheap pre-loaded one for $14 at Radio Shack or Walmart and use this to make dinner reservations etc. Be sure to get an operator with country-wide coverage. We chose AT&T which worked well everywhere.
7. Download a weather App to keep you up-to-date on the weather ahead so you know what to wear, and the changes in timezones.
8. Don't over-pack! You will be living out of a suitcase for most of your trip, and choose things that don't crease much. If you under-pack you can always buy more, but you will be surprised at how little you need. We stuck to our USA packing list plus an extra jumper and a couple of t-shirts.
9. Remember when you buy alcohol that you will be asked for photo ID right across the USA, so be sure to keep it with you at all times
10. Above all – Smile! At all times be polite, stay relaxed and people will help you and enrich your journey all the way across America.
Written by Helen