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Must-dos For A Memorable Road Trip

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The road trip does not intimidate me. I have have spent tons of time in the car so I consider myself an individual who understands travel and how to make it a productive experience. However, there is one trip that now stands out as a sort of failure to me.

A couple months ago, Spencer and I had the ridiculously cool experience of packing up everything into our '98 Camry and hitting the open road from Utah to Virginia. A young married couple and their trusty pup touring the good old USA - sounds classic, right? We should have stopped to see and do ALL the things, and I should have enough visual proof of the trip to fill at least 3 Facebook photo albums. Unfortunately, that's not what happened. We saw little, did nothing, and the only proof of crossing the Mississippi River is maybe my car's mileage. 

Yeah... That trip is now a black mark on my road trip resume. And I think I've gained a travel complex. We missed out on a lot. If certain things were different it would have been memorable for good reasons instead of lame ones. Now you get to learn from my mistakes and make your road trips a blast from start to finish.

Stock up on snacks before you leave
Road trip snacks might be the main reason I love the idea of a road trip so much. There's something about bonding over munching and chatting while watching the scenery pass by. But trying to figure out food on the road can be difficult, if not scary, when you have to please more than one person and you are navigating a foreign place. To make things easier I plan a grocery store run before we get on the road for some familiar drinks and food. At best, you can keep the party going a little longer if you can't agree on a place to stop right away. At the very least, you have something to do if you get bored.

Take all the pictures!
cross country road trip with pets
Not taking pictures is the number one thing I regret the most from our cross-country trip. The only pictures I have are of a barbecue restaurant we ate at in Kansas, which I can't find, and this one of Muggle sleeping on our big pile of stuff in the backseat. Boooo!

Memorable pictures don't even have to come from stopping more than you need to. Even simple snapshots of state signs as you pass through, fun vanity license plates, jamming out to the playlists you create, and the gorgeous landscape would be enough. Phone cameras these days are freaking amazing. You could end up with some serious pics on your Instagram. It was such a waste for me to not try but now you'll know better!

When in doubt, look it up
In our day you can't help but rely on the internet for a lot. I buy almost everything from Amazon. I've learned that taking some time to read reviews or doing a little extra research can be a game changer when you are purchasing or planning blind. 

On our trip I tried to get us to stop at a prairie dog zoo in Kansas. Spencer made me check the reviews and I'm glad I did because it sounded a little run down and not quite the magical moment I was hoping for. We saved ourselves some time and maybe some heartache. In another instance, we had planned to stay a night at a hotel in Indiana. According to a pet-friendly travel website this hotel allows pets with no fees. We rolled up unprepared to pay extra. They let it slide, thankfully, but now I dig a little deeper, or even pick up the phone, to find out exactly what we're in for. And don't forget to scroll down to read the reviews. You can learn so much!

Allow yourself time to stop and do more
I wish we had stopped more, even if only at rest stops to stretch our legs (and take pictures!). Spencer was not into hanging out at many touristy things, like presidential libraries (we passed 3!) or searching out "Triple D joints" to grub at. Also we were so set on getting to Virginia as soon as possible that we didn't sleep well when we did stop for the night. There was no rush to get anywhere, and yet we spent our breaks at quick gas fill ups and in restaurant parking lots. The weather was beautiful the entire trip but we barely got to experience it.

Don't be afraid to add a little extra time to your plans if you can - unnecessary deadlines lead to unnecessary stress, hence the lack of sleep. If you use your time wisely, and more enjoyably, there won't be any reason to worry. If you see something worth checking out consider an unplanned stop. It could be the coolest thing you've ever seen!

Thanks to Spencer's schedule we made it safely to Virginia in extremely good time. The car didn't die on the way, despite it's being incapable of making it out of the driveway three days before we left, so that was nice. Muggle made it in one piece too. I still have a bit of a love-hate relationship with travel right now but I am more than wary for my next trip. Good luck and may your excursions be worth remembering!
2 comments on "Must-dos For A Memorable Road Trip"
  1. I agree with every single one of these! MY husband and I are taking a road trip mid July from Alabama to Colorado! I am sooo excited! I love road tripping mostly because I love being able to stop and look at places on the way.

    1. I'm so jealous. My husband has gone on record many times that he'll probably never do this again haha. I hope you two have a blast!!!


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