The most iconic journey on Earth, a trip along Route 66 is the ultimate excursion for history and driving enthusiasts alike. Before you put rubber to asphalt and kick-start your great American road-trip, here are our top tips to ensure you're all fueled up, prepared and ready for the ride.
Planning your ride through Route 66
Like any trip, planning in advance ensures you'll get the most from your cruise down Route 66.
1. Define goals for your trip
There's little point in budgeting for or booking a holiday if you're unsure why you're even headed there in the first place. business. Create a list of must-see sights so you can ensure the things you're most interested in aren't missed, while leaving a little room to fit in extra places if you have time leftover. It also helps you work out how much you definitely want to spend, and what other things cost if you have extra money on hand.
2. Establish your budget before you book
It's easy to get carried away when planning a trip, especially when considering Route 66 – there's simply so much to see and explore. Setting a budget and ensuring that your goals are within your financial means helps in creating feasible plans. This is where booking a tour with a set itinerary is a great idea, as you're assured that no surprise expenses will pop up during your trip.
As an extra note, it's key to factor in tipping for your daily spend – most travellers tip between 15 and 20 per cent of their total food bill at a restaurant to thank their server.
Booking your Mother Road trip
When booking the stops and sights for your adventure, you'll need to think less about the where, and focus more on when you're getting there and how you'll travel.
3. Sight-see based on the season
You'll have no shortage of places to explore while on your American adventure, which often makes it difficult to choose where to go. A great way to narrow down your list is to pick your attractions based on the season you're travelling in.
A summer Route 66 tour makes for a sun-kissed cruise, however, you'll need to prepare to be amongst a number of other tourists taking advantage of the weather. For those who embark on a Spring tour, there are still places where you'll be able to see patches of snow, though you might need to pack a few extra layers to account for the cold.
4. Research your travel method
Part of the allure to a journey down Route 66 is the thrill of the open road. With almost 4000 kilometres of tarmac ahead of you, you're going to spend many hours getting to know your transport of choice. From roaring Harley-Davidson motorcycles to classic V8's, there are plenty of vehicles to choose from. Ultimately, your selection needs to adhere to not only your tastes, but your skill level, too.
Route 66 is home to a range of terrain types, from dusty desert roads, to hairpin curves on alpine paths. Not only will you need to be able to handle a variation of roads, but you'll need to be comfortable with driving your preferred vehicle for long periods. Motorcycles aren't necessarily for everyone, but even on four wheels, you'll still experience the adrenaline and thrill of Route 66.
Before you hit the road
5. Consider what else you want to do while you're in America
If there's any place to try new things and step outside of the familiar, it's Route 66. Whether you treat yourself to a wild night in Vegas, or to find the weird and wonderful signs of Amarillo, challenge yourself to do something you wouldn't normally do in your hometown. You've travelled all this way – it makes sense to book a few stops in some of America's other exciting cities, such as Miami or New York.
6. Don't underestimate jet lag
Nobody is immune to the lethargic grip of jet lag – even seasoned flyers. Also known as flight fatigue, jet lag is a disruption of the body's natural circadian rhythm – which regulates sleep – resulting from a change in time zone. In addition, jet lag can also cause nausea, headaches and a range of emotional symptoms.
For this reason, it's best if you book a couple of days accommodation in your starting city before you embark on your trip to account for any jet lag that may ail you after you land. Whether you tack three days on in glamorous Los Angeles or in history rich Chicago, this ensures you won't kick off your Route 66 journey on the wrong foot.
7. Trust in your guide
When it comes down to it, the best way to explore the Mother Road is with the help of a guide. Not only will booking a tour help ease the pressure of planning and organising your trip, but a guide has the insiders advantage on all things Route 66.
While many people may think free-wheeling it and tackling Route 66 themselves is a wise idea, they may find that they'll actually miss plenty of sights throughout their journey. Though popular, this stretch of road covers destinations spanning almost a century of history.
Modern GPS systems don't account for past roads, which hold some of Route 66's best kept secrets. With a guide, such as the experts at Route 66 Tours, you don't need to worry about missing the goods – as veterans of this stretch of road, we know exactly where to detour and which stops are worth making time for.
With all that considered – what are you waiting for? To embark on the journey of a lifetime, get in touch with the team at Route 66 Tours to shift your travel plans into drive.