By: Amy Shim – Health Policy and Management
Deciding to drive from CA to GA wasn’t a tough decision for me, especially since I enjoy driving and wanted to make a trip out of it. I also had my partner along for the ride, which makes a huge difference. We left on August 11th and arrived in Atlanta on August 18th, driving through about 7 states along the way. We booked Airbnbs for all overnight stays, because it gave us the option to cook/chill food if we wanted to.
Here are a few tips for your drive to Atlanta:
Packing your car
I used large vacuum seal bags to pack all my clothes and blankets. It saves tons of space!
One tip is I would highly recommend that you pack light and prioritize things that are truly necessary. There are several reasons for this. First, overpacking your car can be a natural target for theft, so try your best to keep your belongings close to window level. Second, overpacking your backseat can block your rear view, which can especially be a hazard at night.
Get your car checked before the drive
On Day 5 of my road trip, I had to jumpstart my car. My car is fairly new, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting your car checked. I highly recommend swinging by an auto shop before the trip to make sure your care is in good shape and your tires are ready to go.
Check the weather and account for travel delays
Luckily the drive will probably be in the summer, so you’ll be working with pretty decent weather. We were hit with some rainfall on the last day from New Orleans to Atlanta, so be wary of any weather changes along the way and plan accordingly. I budgeted about 5-6 hours of driving per day.
Leave in the AM
It is so worth your time and energy to leave in the morning. Driving with intense heat hitting you constantly can tire you out quickly. Getting a head start in the morning will help you beat the morning rush, and you’ll also get to your destination before it gets dark.
Use cruise control as much as you can, especially when you’re driving on flat land (i.e. Texas) with not a lot of traffic. I didn’t take advantage of it until a couple days in my trip, and it made a huge difference on my energy level.
I really make an effort to take pit stops to get your body moving at least every 2-3 hours. Look out for any billboards- we followed one to a Gater Chateau on the way to New Orleans, and got some cute shots holding some baby alligators! It’s also a great way to explore different food cuisines local to the area. We purposely spent two nights in New Orleans to explore the area more, which was so worth it! It also gives you and your car a break. Another tip is to check out local gyms if they have any day passes for purchase. We checked one out in Texas and it was a good change from the rest of the days.
Wishing you the best of luck with your travel plans, and looking forward to meeting all of you in the fall!