We have always admired and wanted to take a trip to the States and have been told by friends that a vacation to the US is a must. The vast open space in itself is a marvel to enjoy not to mention the endless list of sight-seeing spots that seems to be on everyone’s bucket list to hopefully get to see in their lifetime.
So we decided as a family to save and make it the next holiday we ventured on and we were not disappointed. What I do need to mention though is that although the trip was a huge success in that everything went according to plan and ran smoothly, the lead up to the day we departed took most of our mental energy.
You see, leaving things to chance or assessing the situation when we get there is not something I enjoy, mostly because we have and were traveling with our children and we all know kids don’t particularly enjoy sitting in a hotel room or café for hours while you plan the next event.
The to-do list.
Starting the initial planning, paying deposits for, and organizing the entire trip essentially begins with one major factor, endurance. It may not seem like something to mention but trust me, when you are in the thick of it with notes and post it’s everywhere with names or prices written on them then you will know what I mean.
It will seem overwhelming, too many factors to consider and balance, too many people to account for, and some people will find that the stress and anxiety can become too much. This is why having a plan in place from the get-go is going to be your best option.
When researching where and how to begin we came across this travel blog https://www.ytravelblog.com/usa-trip/ written by a family who enjoys traveling as much as we do and who shows us that the fun doesn’t need to stop simply because you have kids, ‘the more the merrier’ as the old saying goes, am I right?
You want to try to think of everything and anything that could go wrong and have a backup plan for those ‘just in case’ moments, and don’t we know that Mother Nature certainly enjoys throwing a curveball our way once in a while.
When you have the foundation of a list to tick off as you plan and make reservations the task ends up not being as daunting as you once imagined and can turn into something fun and enjoyable as the excitement builds to the date circled on the calendar.
People often ask us how we decided on the vehicle that we did when we were abroad (we hired a minivan) and the answer is always the same and simple, we thought about our needs, budget, and family dynamic before considering looks or luxury.
Sure if it was just hubby and me, we would most likely have been jetting around in the soft top mustang we seem to always pull up next to at the traffic lights where the passengers are always having the time of their lives singing out of tune to their favorite hits – and we did that too don’t you worry.
Trying to fit 4 people and the luggage that came along with a month-long trip into a sports car not to mention a standard city car was not on the agenda. Thankfully we didn’t because the souvenirs and trinkets you pick up along the way only become a reality when it is time to somehow fit everything into the bags you initially came with.
The minivan was perfect for us, it suited our budget with some left to spare, and it had enough space for everyone to be comfortable the whole time and no bickering. We did look at larger cars, and station wagons, and after chatting to the rental agency representative who weighed up all the options for us we came to a family consensus.
You want a professional, reliable, and reputable company when hiring a car in the USA, choose a business that makes you feel relaxed and at ease and not pressuring you into renting above your budget or for a vehicle not suited for your family and your vacation needs.
Ask questions, ensure they listen to what your concerns are, and take a browse at their webpage at the customer comments and review sections, this is a quick indicator into the type of service and customer care you are likely to receive.
The top 5 features to look for when hiring a rental car abroad.
Credit card. This aspect may seem budget-unfriendly as you are essentially using funds on ‘account’ but the safety and insurance benefits make it that much more appropriate. In the event a scam or shady transaction did happen you are covered by insurance to claim any stolen funds back and to put a hold on the account to protect from further withdrawals.
Insurance. Keeping drivers to a minimum will save you money in the long run, not everyone is going to need to or even want to drive, with 1 or 2 names on the drivers’ insurance card you have a substitute should you need it.
Paved roads. Not a factor I considered till the sales agent mentioned it, going off-road has its perks as you venture into the dusty wild, but with it comes stones and brush. Scraping against or flicking into the vehicle, these all leave marks or worse dents and could affect your insurance claims and deposits.
Be sure to do a thorough check of the vehicle inside and out before leaving the parking lot of the rental company, see this link of advice and points to make note of before hiring and driving off into the sunset.
- Extras. Are there any, because you will most likely need to bring your own unless you want to pay 2 or 3 times more for the added accessories. Ask about navigational guides, audio systems, and luggage racks so you know what or if to pack them.
- Browse. As in shop around when looking for the right car, don’t simply pick the first result in the search engine because it’s convenient. Try as much as possible not to hire from the airport as rates are considerably higher due to location, but do check average prices for the area when looking at specific vehicles.
Driving through a great nation
When it comes to the United States of America and you’re considering traveling and exploring, these things go hand in hand with choosing the right car for the trip, it can be the difference between a good or bad experience all around.
Choose a car that serves fashion over function and you end up sitting cramped and uncomfortable for the majority of the trip, opting for a functionally sound vehicle and the family will thank you for an unforgettable vacation.
Who knew that a simple decision on a car would have such a big impact, doing your research and homework before setting off will be to your advantage. The States will be a memory you will cherish for a lifetime.