Visiting all 50 US states is a bucket list item for some people. For others, it’s just a fun family or individual goal that helps organize vacation plans for a few years in a row. Deciding to tackle the circuit of states is a big decision, but it can instill a sense of adventure and accomplishment in annual getaways. If you choose to put the goal on your lifetime to-do list, it’s wise to make a detailed plan of action about where to go first and whether to include capital cities in the itineraries.
Begin by being honest with yourself about why you want to make the mega-journey. Then, sit down and develop a financing plan for the first leg or two. A common technique is to visit close-by states first, especially ones you can drive to for weekend visits. Don’t forget to document the fun with a simple video or series of photos, and try to do something in each place that’s only available in that particular state. Here are a few ideas to make your plan simple and affordable.
Why Do It?
There are plenty of reasons to travel to all the states, but most travelers do it for the fun and variety. The project can be completed in a few years or over a lifetime, done alone or with family and friends, or arranged to be a part of larger trips. Then there are the intrepid travelers who believe in visiting all the best parts of their home country before venturing overseas or taking extensive cruises. Finally, the all-states plan works perfectly as a bucket-list item that won’t cost a fortune or take years to complete.
Save Big by Paying Early
Paying in advance for bus, train, or car excursions can save you as much as 50% off the retail price of travel. That’s just one of the reasons so many people take out personal loans to buy air and rail tickets months in advance. Check carrier websites to see how much you can save by mapping out plans for next year. Consider checking ten or more states off the list in a circular pattern that begins and ends closest to home. Personal loans allow you to avoid dipping into savings, enhance credit scores, and take advantage of seasonal discounts and specials. Then, there’s the psychological relief of not having to deal with ongoing trip-related costs, assuming you take out a loan to pay for the entire trip ahead of time.
Start with the Low-Hanging Fruit
Pick nearby destinations first. If you live in Tennessee or Missouri, instead of taking your first trip to New York City, consider visiting the eight bordering states first. Not only does this approach make driving a viable option, but it’s the least costly way to knock a number of places off the to see list in a short amount of time.
Aim for Unique Adventures
Planning is the name of the game, particularly for regions where you have never traveled before. Don’t fall for the capital city temptation, because only in a few cases are those the most exciting places to visit within a state. Attempt to visit at least one unique place within each state’s border, like a famous waterfall, canyon, underground rock formation, bridge, or building.