My dreams came true because I finally got to go on a solo road trip across the South West. If you saw my top 10 destinations post, you would recall that the South West was on that list, so it feels really nice to be able to cross it off.
The idea to road trip half way across the country from Texas to California came up when I got the opportunity to work at Coachella. The news came less than a week before a two day training, so I had to act fast to be able to pull this off.
I’ve worked quite a few different music festivals such as Austin City Limits where I got to drive Kendrick Lamar (here’s a photo to prove it!) and Bumbershoot, so I had an idea of what I would be getting myself into.
I would be lying if I said I liked driving more than flying, but as a photographer the option to drive gives me the opportunity to capture almost any spot that catches my eye and that really intrigues me.
Thankfully I made it there and back safely, so here’s how to plan a road trip:
1. Choose a destination
The first step to planning any trip is to choose a destination that is reachable by car. There a tons of different road trips already mapped out to choose from so it all depends on how much you want to drive and what you want to see and do.
A few popular road trips include The Amalfi Coast in Italy, Route 66 in the US, and I-90 from Massachusetts to Washington state.
It’s also hard to get moving when you don’t have anything to look forward to, so give yourself a reason to go whether it be to attend an event, visit a national park or meet up with a friend.
2. Pick must see stops
No road trip is complete without pit stops along the way, so you’ll want to decide what you want to see and that will determine the route you should take.
Don’t worry if you have to go out of your way to see an attraction if it’s on the top of your list. During my road trip from Texas to California I drove about an hour and a half out of my way to go to the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico and it was sooo worth it. I swear I spent like 3 hours there!
Be sure to check the hours since most attractions close early and if there is a fee to enter, so you’re not hit with any surprises.
3. Book accommodation
Once you’ve got a route, it’s time to decide which places you want to stop in and rest for the night. It’s a safe bet to stay in populated towns and places that are not too far off your path.
My recommendation would be to see if there’s any unique housing options that are along your path. El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas is where I stayed during a portion of my South West road trip and it was such a cool experience.
El Cosmico is a bohemian style hotel in West Texas that offers many different types of accommodation at different price points depending on how much glamping you want to do.
Hotels and Airbnb’s are always an option depending on your budget and when you sign up for Airbnb through my link you’ll receive $40 off your first booking.
4. Create an itinerary
Now that you’ve got all the logistics down, it’s time to type out an itinerary with travel distance times, stops you’ll be making during the road trip, and addresses of where you will be staying. Having a typed out document will make it easier for you to stay on track and allow loved ones to know what part of your journey you’re on.
Here’s the one I typed up for my trip from Houston, Texas to Indio, California (don’t forget to take into account time zones like I did lol):
5. Get last minute tune ups
You’re almost all set to go, but whether you have a new or old car you should make an appointment to get your car serviced for any maintenance check ups to give you a piece of mind.
Nothing would be worse than having car troubles during your journey, so important things to check include oil changes, battery changes, brake check, tire alignments and rotations.
Looks like you’re ready to hit the road! Have you ever gone on a road trip, if so where did you go? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create, and grow!