How to Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other)

Do you live in one end of the country and want to see more of your country? If you enjoy traveling interstates and don't mind a long trek, traveling an interstate from one end of the country to the other, can be a fun and challenging thing to do. This article can help you achieve this "lifetime goal"!


  1. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 1
    Be prepared for, what could be, the longest journey in your life. Cross-country trips can last anywhere from a week to a week and a half if travelled for 24 hours a day under a 7 day week period.
  2. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 2
    Pack enough clothes to prepare you for the trip. You'll be covering a lot of miles, and with those extra miles, you'll be traveling often. Traveling that often, will necessarily mean you'll have to stay at hotels and motels, and changing your clothes often.
  3. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 3
    Take along a lot of money for the trip. Between all the gas you'll need to obtain to the money you'll need to use for lodging expenses nearby as well as tolls and automobile upkeep while traveling to the destination, a lot of money is needed.
  4. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 4
    Make sure your perform all necessary maintenance tasks on your vehicle. Check all fluids including the car's oil (in the engine), transmission, power steering and automatic brake fluid (ABS). Make sure your battery is well charged, and that all four of the car's tires have excellent tread on them. Make sure your brake system is well in tune. Check other items in your car, to make sure they work consistently too (steering column.
  5. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 5
    Know any areas where the specific interstate terminuses are. Decide if you are really ready to travel to the starting gate.
  6. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 6
    Travel to the starting terminus with your car.
  7. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 7
    Begin your journey, when you feel that everything is "in control" and everything is set, making sure that all items from the list have been checked off.
  8. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 8
    Plan to purchase at least one night's worth of lodging at designated stop-off-points, at least one night in advance of your arrival into the town or big city (two nights, if this lodging is in a bigger city).
  9. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 9
    Pull over every few hours. Bathroom breaks are always needed. Even if the area is just a legal pull-over spot on the side of the road, take this opportunity to rest and stretch your legs.
  10. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 10
    Travel this interstate and only this interstate until you've reached the other end's terminus of this interstate.
  11. Image titled Take a Trip Along an Interstate (From One End to the Other) Step 11
    Turn around and head back for your home, once you've reached the other terminus.


  • Travel with a laptop computer and several digital camera cards or an iOS device. You'll have many, many pictures to take at famous landmarks and almost infinite possibilities of "Welcome to (State name) here" signs as you travel along the interstate you've chosen.
  • Include the remainder of your family when you take this trip. It's a "thrill of a lifetime" for many, and any family member may and can, partake in helping you out.
  • Always plan on staging two or more legal drivers, if you want to travel this far distance without having to change drivers that often, or should one driver become hurt or need a break for some reason.
  • Be prepared for construction projects that can route you off and around the interstate, or even delay you in some cases. Be prepared for some construction delays in your travels/route.
    • Never speed through a construction zones at higher-than-asked for speeds. Most fines through a construction zone can be doubled or tripled to that of an average ticket. Always travel the advised speed or slower.
  • Don't try to pull onto other secondary interstates that may route you around a city. When you travel from one of the interstate to the other, it's often advised not to get off to travel around this city (thereby defeating the purpose). Yes, although lodging may cause you to get off temporarily for the night, backtrack the route and travel back to the interstate at the point of interception where you last exited the route.
  • Interstates always connect from one interstate to another (some exceptions may apply). When you are finished with the long portion of your journey, be prepared to enter onto another Interstate that can take you elsewhere.
  • Don't forget to pack a camera with enough film. It's not too often that people will travel from one end of one interstate to the other without switching interstates. Record that journey by photographing specific landmarks that exist along the route. Although some of the "Welcome to (state name)" are a good option, there are other landmarks that can be seen along the route, that any body will want to photograph the moment they come along and intercept this point.
  • Some interstates are longer than others. While (North-to-South/South to North) interstates seem less-daunting to travel than those interstates that travel cross-country (East-to-West/West-to-East), there is some possibility that some North-to-South ones may be very daunting to a new route-taker.
  • Traveling a route like this, can be treacherous on a car in winter. Always try to travel an interstate like this when both points can be reached in summer-time.
  • Be prepared for some rainy days or other weird weather conditions. Tornadoes and other storms may envelop over the Great Plains states, and what's worse is when you have to travel over or through this area.
  • Traveling an interstate in the back of a minivan is a lot more fun to a child than traveling an interstate in a car. If you own a minivan and a car, try to use the van in lieu of the car.
  • Prepare your car for treacherous travel weather extremes. Weather that extreme is hot air (you'll need air conditioning), or cold air (you'll need heat), your car will need to be checked that this system works wonders when it needs to work.
  • Research which interstates travel from one end of the country to the other. Although United States roads map double as a double-check, Wikipedia has several really great pieces of information that can be checked on that map.
    • Even numbered highways are designated as east-west interstates, while odd numbered highways are designated as north-south routes.[1]
    • Odd numbered interstate route numbers increase from west to east, and even-numbered routes increase from south to north.[2]
    • Numbers divisible by five are intended to be major arteries among the primary routes, carrying traffic long distances.[3]
    • West–east arterial Interstates increase in number from I-10 to I-90 without an I-50 or I-60 present. There are no I-50s or I-60s because these interstate would pass through states that have US highways with those same numbers which needs to be avoided.[4]
    • Spur auxiliary routes with and odd first digit deviate from their parent and do not return while circumferential and radial loop routes with an even first digit return to the parent. However, sometimes these routes may be named several times around and into cities along the main line.[5]
  • Be careful of Interstate 84. Due to financial difficulties the US faced in the 80s and 90s, there are two unconnected portions of the interstate separated by many unconnected states instead. There are two separate portions. One portion connects through MA and runs into CT,NY and ends at eastern Pennsylvania, and then there's the western portion of I-84 that runs near the Pacific Ocean near Portland, OR and runs through ID, and down into Colorado ending well north of Denver. I-84 was meant to be a connector interstate to bridge the gap where I-80 stopped, however, bridging the gap didn't happen and the public complained. The Interstate is being constructed the remainder of the way, but this transition period is taking quite a long time: there is a sunny horizon at some point in this construction period.


  • Traveling the full length of an Interstate takes a great amount a time and gas, along with wear and tear on the car you are using. Be ready to pay for all bills that are associated to this trip.
  • Very few interstates begin in the center of the US country; if you plan on traveling East-to-West. However, if you are planning a trip and are prepared for a journey to get you from your area to the starting terminus, your best bet is to travel another interstate that travels North-to-South first.
  • Recognize that some interstates have tolls in other states, while connecting states might not have any. Be forewarned that you may need significant amounts of change to travel on these tolled interstates.
  • Always plan several more side-stops, if you have kids in tow in the car. Kids will commonly get cranky, and in the case of the kids being toddlers, some may require a routine diaper-change. Pull over and care for these items first, before returning to your itinerary.
  • If this interstate runs over the border of either Canada or Mexico, be sure to take your passport and birth certificate along, as a "just in case" measure.
  • Cross-country trips don't bode well in a rental vehicle. Most rental car companies tend to consider the mileage number when the car is returned and charge by the day and week. And besides, rental car companies ask for a full tank of gas upon the return location.

Article Info

Categories: Road & Rail Travel | United States