Phil and Carol White have done something that is only a fantasy for most people – they spent a year traveling around the United States. Before the trip was over, they found that they were repeatedly asked for details. Not just details of their travels, but how they had prepared for the trip, and how they managed life on the road. Answering these questions inspired the Whites to write Live Your Road Trip Dream: Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home.

How to Prepare for an Extended Trip

The first portion of the book deals with the practical how-to’s of a project as complex as traveling for a year. One of the early chapters is titled “Financing Your Dream,” and the Whites cover a number of issues. Where will the money come from? What about the house, the cars, the investments? What about family responsibilities?

It may be hard initially to think in terms of expenses for an entire year on the road, so the book includes the budget that the Whites set for their trip. They also layout a more frugal sample budget. The appendix contains a worksheet that readers can do to help plan expenses for their own travels.

The Whites also devote a chapter to another very important subject. Once you’ve decided that such a trip is financially feasible, how do you decide to actually go? This chapter discusses such practical matters as breaking the news to family and friends and getting their support. They also emphasize the importance of choosing the “traveling home” wisely, and the occasionally challenging task of getting along with a traveling companion 24/7.

Managing Life on the Road

Other chapters in the first section look at such necessities as staying in touch during the trip, handling problems back at home or emergencies along the way, and some of the decisions that will need to be made along the way. The Whites list many potential bumps in the road for readers, ranging from major problems like accidents or medical emergencies, down to mundane tasks like vehicle maintenance or how to pass the time during long stretches of driving.

The Whites are generous with advice about how they handled issues on their trip, but also remind readers that there is no perfect plan for everyone. They give some important answers, but more importantly, they nudge readers into thinking through the possibilities ahead of time.

The Whites’ Road Trip

The second half of the book is essentially a condensed diary of the year that the Whites spent on the road. Like the rest of the book, it’s written in a folksy style that feels like a letter from a friend instead of an instructional manual. The descriptions of people and places make readers long to hit the road for their own trip. They also detail problems they ran across on the way and how they found solutions. The Whites make it clear that while there’s no replacement for planning, there’s also no substitute for flexibility.

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