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Thoughts on successfully launching a sponsored cross country roadtrip

Whenever someone is doing a cross country trip, I usually get connected to them through a mutual friend to set up a time to pick my brain on some lessons I learned through successfully launching a series of sponsored cross country roadtrips.

Here’s a couple general notes I share in each of these conversations…

1. Hire a full time driver. Driving an RV is stressful and time intensive. If you want to get work done, hiring a driver is the best decision you could make.

2. Equip the RV with wi-fi so you can work on the road.

3. Wrap the RV in your branding if one of your objectives is to get “press” out of the trip. Every city we pulled into we had a press appearance on TV or in print because the RV made for such a great visual. It’s pricey – about $7,500 – but worth it in the PR value.

4. Sleeping arrangements. Depends on the RV, but we had a RV that comfortably slept 3 people…and we were over it within the 1st week. We stayed with hosts in every city we went, parked the RV out front, used their shower and bed space, and used the RV as a place of refuge.

5. RV time is like dog years. Every month in a RV is about 3 months in real time. You cram so much into a short amount of time that time expands. With that said, we were on the road for 4 months, 120 days, and that was a long, long time.

6. Consider splitting up the trip. We did a loop of the west coast first, with Phoenix as our home base. After our first loop we spent a week in Phoenix to relax and recover from the road. Then we set out for an East Coast loop. That break in between was like refueling the RV.

7. Meetups. I’d assume you’d do this anyway, but Meetups in each city are a great energizer for a weary road crew and a great way to make new connections in each city.

8. Small cities vs. Big cities. There’s more space, cheaper prices, easier roads, friendlier people and more press in small cities versus large ones. As you plan the logistics of where to go, I’ve always thought that visiting a city like Flagstaff (for example) has more of an advantage than visiting Los Angeles.

9. Schedule. Being on the road you’re in a constant battle with the optimal amount of time to spend in each place. On a roadtrip there’s a different vibe. 3 days in a city can feel both long and short – long in the sense that you can’t believe you have another 2 days to spend in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and short in the sense that you are uprooted once again to go to the next city like Cheyenne, Wyoming. Finding the scheduling balance is the key to keeping the team going.

10. Avoid the Midwest. Yellowstone is cool. That’s about it. Otherwise it’s long stretches of flat road with fast food and windshield bugs. I’d try to get out of going to states like South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, etc.

11. Sponsorships. We were rejected a lot. It comes down to who finds value in the mission of your project. Kickstarter people? A venture backed startup? A rich uncle? It’s up to you to connect the dots or figure out a way to finance it.

I’ll update the rest of this list, one day…

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