Courtesy of Ryann Ford.
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There’s nothing that screams summer more than an all-American road trip. Yet, whether you’re searching for the best barbecue on Route 66 or taking in the ocean views from the Pacific Coast Highway, there are a few essentials you need to know before you hit the road.

We asked Ryann Ford, the photographer-turned-author of The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, to divulge her tried-and-true road tripping tips.

Ford has been in the driver’s seat since she moved from her native California to Austin, Texas — via Route 66 — almost ten years ago. It was during one of these seat-belted sojourns that she first noticed a delightfully dust-strewn and architecturally charming rest stop along the highway, and recognized its inherent appeal. "I knew I had to shoot it," she recalls. Five years, nearly fifty states, 150 rest stops, and one wildly successful Kickstarter later, her debut book hit shelves.

Here, Ford shares with us the secret to a successful – and Instagram-worthy – road trip. Who calls shotgun?