Going on a grand journey across the country with nothing between you and the open road is an exciting prospect—you can enjoy a personal Lewis and Clark-esque adventure as you explore new locations and experience new sights.

To ensure your journey is a success, however, there are some common road trip mistakes to avoid.

Not Examining the Route Beforehand

Before you go anywhere, you must chart your course ahead of time and understand the roads and routes you'll take along the way. Nothing kills the enthusiasm and fun of a road trip quite like getting stuck in heavy traffic or experiencing the discomfort and uncertainty that getting lost brings. Take note of any major construction or delays that may come up in the near future. That way, you can plan around them and perhaps avoid them altogether.

Disregarding the Environment

The United States has various environments and biomes: the scorching deserts of the West, the rolling plains of the Midwest, the freezing winters in the North. So, you need to ensure your car is protected against bad weather and the environments you'll experience during the trip. When you need to endure the dusty deserts or freezing temperatures, a little bit of preparation beforehand goes a long way.

Driving for Too Long

Know when to call it a day. If you feel exhausted, you should always find an opportunity to pull off the road and take a break. Becoming a tired and irritable driver is not only one of the most common road trip mistakes to avoid, but it's also one of the most dangerous. You can easily doze off behind the wheel and drift off-course, making you vulnerable to collisions. For your safety, never drive while you're tired. It's just not worth the risk.

Ignoring Parking Costs

In a similar vein, when you do pull off the road, make sure parking fits into your budget. It's such an easy thing to overlook, but in many instances, you'll have to pay in some form to park your car. You can expect this most when staying overnight in a city—parking on the streets of a major city like Chicago or New York can quickly become $50 or more a night. Keep this in mind as you travel so that you can keep track of your budget.

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