6 Amazing Things We Learned on Our American Road Trip

Thinking about travelling to the USA? How about the adventure of a LIFETIME: road tripping across the Americas! We chatted to couple (and avid SimCorner fans) Wendy and Adam about their recent USA road tripping experience.

We had quite a tough time over the pandemic where it felt like Groundhog Day everyday. So, the minute everything opened up again, we sprung for the trip of our bucket list dreams: road-tripping across the USA! 

It was one of those grand plans we always spoke about in passing, and given the chance we had to save up, we decided to turn it into action. 

Here's what we learned.

🚗 A road trip through USA is a great way to experience the country...and your adventurous side

If you're a beginner at road-tripping, you'll probably learn some new things along the way anyway. First things first, though - the pre-trip mental prep.

  • Road trips make you hungry
  • Road trips make you tired
  • Road trips can make you stress over the littlest things (which is hard, especially travelling as a couple), so when you feel cranky, run through a mental checklist of your basic needs: "Am I feeling this way because I'm hungry? Thirsty? Sleepy?"
  • Road trips are great for new friendships and relationships
  • Road trips help you become more flexible and adaptable - so be ready to think on your feet!
  • Road trips put you in a constant prepping and planning mindset so you always need to keep one step ahead
  • Road trips make you grateful for technology - always keep a travel sim card handy! We can’t stress this enough - Google Maps is literally your best friend
  • Road trips are an awesome way to meet people from all walks of life
  • Road trips can teach you a lot about American history that you may not find in history books. After all, seeing, hearing and being in historical places makes a bigger difference.

🦌 There are a lot of deer on the roads.

And we mean...a lot. When we were driving through Montana and Idaho, we excitedly got the chance to see a deer or two. And then came across quite a few more. Take note though - not only can deer be dangerous to drivers, but it's also easy to miss them on winding country roads. (We even found a Top 10 list of states where you're most likely to hit one.)

With that in mind, here are some things we learned while encountering them:

  • If you see one deer, be careful - there are probably at least three more nearby. We saw a family of four and didn't realise how many more there were until they took off running down the road in front of us.
  • Driving too fast and later at night is not recommended. Deer will be active early in the morning and late into the evening (and sometimes even during the day), so if you're looking for the perfect speed to drive at while driving through Montana, try 10 miles per hour instead of 60!
  • If you do hit one with your car, get it checked out before driving again no matter how minor your injuries may seem. A broken tail light or scratched windshield could indicate something more serious that would make keeping your car unsafe.

As always, never drive if you're drowsy or impaired from alcohol because it can be harmful for both you and others on the road (add deers and it’s a recipe for disaster!).

㉋ The speed limits are different in every state.

Even the same road can have different limits depending on where you are. The best part is that these rules aren't just for when you're driving a car—they apply to any vehicle, so long as it's in good working condition. Once we got over the initial surprise of seeing 85 mph signs on a regular basis, we began to appreciate even more how much freedom is granted by this country's roadways. As always, do some research on the route before your travels so you know what to expect. Remember to get a travel SIM ahead of time just in case, so you can stay connected to Google Maps (or other navigation platforms like Waze) at all times. Whether it’s for safety purposes, sharing social media holiday snaps, or being able to contact someone at any point - staying connected while driving out in the open road is crucial. 

🍱 The food is as varied as the landscape.

You'll want to keep an eye out for regional specialties and foods like barbecue, cornbread, grits, and fried okra. The southern regions of Texas and Alabama will give you the best, most delicious barbecue in the country. Oklahoma has some delicious farm-to-table restaurants that are worth checking out, while states like Missouri and North Dakota also offer a variety of great dining options. And let’s not forget diners - the quintessential American dining experience (The Blue Benn in Vermont has our hearts).

🌆 There's a lot more to see than just the big cities.

On our journey across America's great plains and mountain ranges, we had the privilege of visiting many quaint, smaller towns along the way. Some of these we visited intentionally, and some were just a quick stop for gas or food since it was on the way. It's a shame that so many people breeze past these wonderful towns without taking the time to appreciate them. Because really, there's a lot more to see than just the big cities.

🛣 Every state has a wonderful way to mark that you've been there.

One of the best parts of our trip was stopping to see all the funny state signs, like the ones that say "Home of So and So", and “Connecticut - We’re Full of Surprises”. We saw hundreds, but by far our favourite is the one in Virginia that says “Virginia Is For Lovers—And Those Who Don't.”

  • Everyone collects different things to mark their travels and we have collected coins from every state. The cool thing about collecting coins is that we don't have to worry about accidentally throwing them out when we clean (plus, they’re small enough to pack).
  • No matter where you go, you'll find something specific to that place (or to your experience!). Whether it's licence plates or mugs shaped like glasses with drinks pouring out of them (which are popular in South Carolina), there are always some funny souvenirs waiting for you around your next stop. We kept some coasters from a particular Michigan diner to remind us of their fresh, tasty omelettes (best we've ever had!) and its animated wait staff.

Our trip was simply unforgettable! It showed us how varied America’s culture is and taught us a lot about how to work with each other’s quirks as a couple. Adventuring together, this trip has allowed us to explore our own individuality as travellers and taught us more about each other - what excites us, what piques our curiosities, how we thrive in challenges and how we help each other solve issues and be better versions of ourselves. 

This trip has changed us and our relationship for the better…and provided endless stories that we will tell for years to come!

If you’re reading this and SUPER ready to embark on your own American adventure, be sure to explore the great plains while staying connected.

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