Editor's note: The following guest post was written by Andy Murdock, the US digital editor for Lonely Planet.
As much as you'll miss your roomies and classmates, the next best thing to chucking your graduation cap into the air is hitting the road and watching your alma mater shrink to a blip in your rearview mirror. For at least a brief moment in time, there's nowhere you have to be, nobody telling you where to go or what to do. The only boss of you is, well, you.
With a few good friends or flying solo, the postgraduation Summer road trip requires distance, new vistas, and time — time for the experiences you set out to find, and more importantly the transformative ones you'll never see coming.
So if it's all up to you, why do what everyone else is doing? Here are a few creative ideas to get you started planning your trip:
Get Your Cross-Country Kicks Out of the Way
If you strategically went to college far away, then a slow, meandering trip back home across the country is in order . . . with the emphasis on slow and meandering. While all of the east-west interstates have their moments, they're about speed over scenery, local culture or adventure. The best of the US for the savvy traveler is on the back roads and the lesser-known north-south highways.
A road trip is a journey, not a destination. Instead of stringing together cities in a cross-country itinerary, plan your trip around the interesting roads themselves, and use the interstates to connect them as necessary. Some roads to aim for: Skyline Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great River Road along the Mississippi, US Route 89 (a road-tripper's dream that connects more national parks than any other road in the US), US Route 395 along the eastern Sierra Nevada, or the famously scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
The scenic Pacific Coast Highway