Confession: I love last minute trips on some of my favorite roads. It’s fun to rediscover the nicest scenic rides and take the time to stop at a spot that caught my eye during my last visit in that area.
Due to my geographic location, I tend to concentrate around the northeast United States, as the border is a scant 45 minutes from home. Also, I find the gas prices excellent no matter the exchange rates, and affordable accomodations are easy to find as well.
Here is some practical information:
- Target your area in Google Maps and search for hotels and motels along the way. You can also look them up on expedia.ca and compare rates. Tip: if a specific place catches your eye, phone them directly on the day of your stay and ask if they have last minute pricing specials. Often, a hotel will offer a substantial rebate if it’s a slower week and they prefer booking a room than no booking at all.
- Make sure to get U.S. cash before you leave. I’ve taken the habit to pay cash only in gas stations, convenience stores and restaurants to avoid identity theft or card cloning. Some of my friends have seen their cards get cloned a few times while travelling, Or you could get one of those prepaid credit cards from your bank or the post office – if it gets compromised, the damage is limited..
- If you aren’t already a CAA member, become a member and choose the membership level that gives you the best peace of mind – different levels cover different distances. The base membership doesn’t cover a long distance, you may want to go one step up. Trust me, if you break down further away, it pays for itself compared to towing costs. I experienced a battery failure in Champlain, New-York, CAA covered the towing to my service dealership, paying for towing would have set me back $250 easy – which is twice what the membership cost me.
- Buy travel insurance. Medical costs are brutal in the states, I pay a tad above $85 for a yearly travel insurance that provides medical coverage. You don’t want to think of having a problem on the road, but food poisoning, a mishap or whatnot is always a possibility.
- Even if you have a good GPS, carry a plain old fashioned state road map. My Garmin Zumo often takes me down parts unknown. It’s sometimes great, sometimes unnerving. I recently took an 8 hour detour on a trip that should only have taken 14 hours overall.