What You Need for an Authentic American Road Trip

American Road Trip

The iconic Route 66 opened in 1926 when the Bureau of Public Roads launched the US’s first highway system. Featuring a mix of local, state, and national roads, it was one of the most scenic and interesting road trip routes in the country.

But with the rise of the interstate, fewer people have experienced a great American road trip. Diners, living room museums, and waiting for AAA at the side of a backroad with a flat tire is what driving across America is all about.

Lucky for you, there are ways to recapture the magic! Follow this guide full of authentic American road trip tips and let the country roads take you home.

Choose a Classic American Vehicle

The best vehicle to take on an American road trip is a 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible ala Thelma and Louise. But there are more comfortable and reliable options too.

If you’re road tripping for over two weeks, a classic American RV from somewhere like is a smart move. You’ll save on motel rooms and you can park in a Walmart parking lot if you forget to book a campground for the night.

No matter which you pick, remember to pack essential car safety gear. This includes a paper map, first aid kit, torch, and blanket.

Plan Your All-American Playlist

In an ideal world, your van would have a tape player that’s had a Garth Brooks B-side stuck there since 1998. But a Spotify or Apple Music playlist that you can connect to your phone via Bluetooth works too.

Consider adding these sweet tunes to your mix:

  • Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen
  • Hotel California by Eagles
  • Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • On the Road Again by Willie Nelson
  • Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
  • Every Day is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow
  • Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker

Whatever you do, don’t put Bryan Adams on your all-American playlist. He’s Canadian.

Visit the “World’s Largest” Sites

What’s an American road trip without detours to random kitschy sites? And the “World’s Largest” sites are the tackiest, best roadside attractions to include on your road trip checklist.

Here are some awesome “World’s Largest” attractions to consider adding:

  • World’s Largest Frying Pans in Brandon, Iowa
  • World’s Largest Garden Gnomes in Accord, New York
  • World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas
  • World’s Largest Fire Hydrants in Columbia, South Carolina
  • World’s Largest Office Chair in Anniston, Alabama

You should also stop at random ranches, gas stations, and any scenic overlooks.

Dress Like a Levi’s Commercial

Aviator sunglasses. Red bandanas. High-waisted ripped jeans.

If you can’t venture on your road trip in the car from Thelma and Louise, then you should at least dress like a background performer. Also invest in a trucker hat, cowboy boots, and a tank top with a print of a metal band you don’t listen to on it.

Ready to Ride on Your American Road Trip?

Venturing on an authentic American road trip is easier than you think. All you need is the right vehicle, tunes, an open mind, and the open road.

There are so many potential road trip routes through America that you’ll need help making an itinerary. Browse our travel articles for tons of US destination inspiration!

Francis Baylon
Francis Baylon is a creator, writer, and publisher with a deep knowledge of every heritage. Worldwide research taught her that every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.

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