This is a guest blog post by Hydaway ambassador and computer tech specialist Gwen Stephens. Follow her on Instagram @gwenstephens08. All photos are from Gwen’s many travels.
If you’re a type A personality, move on now — this isn’t your kind of road trip. If you like to take life as it comes (or at least try to), read on for some tips to enjoy a satisfying road trip.
Before we get started, we need some tools for a successful road trip. This is by no means a definitive list but just a few items that make the following suggestions easier to accomplish.
- Hotel app
- Map app
- Road Atlas
- National Parks Annual Interagency Pass
Now that we have our tools, let’s get going!
First things first, where are you going?
Figure out where you want to go and what you might want to see and do along the way. Be prepared to add stops as you find interesting sights and attractions along the way. Some of the most interesting sights we’ve seen on road trips have been the unexpected stops along the way, like this giant grasshopper!
How long can you spend traveling?
How much time you can realistically spend on your trip? Plan for 1 day less; a little re-entry time is always nice on the tail end of your vacation. A road trip doesn’t have to be a long drawn out journey either! Quick, long weekend jaunts can be just as satisfying and rejuvenating. Don’t have a lot of time but want to visit someplace far from home? Remember, nothing says you can’t fly and then road trip when you get to your destination. We did that in Hawaii, and it was well worth it for views like this!
How are you getting from point A to point B?
While the freeway may be faster, and there are certainly times when you need to make time, as it were, take the road less traveled. Exiting the freeway leads to so many interesting finds, charming small towns, unexpected parks or gardens, and great local restaurants, to name just a few. We wouldn’t have seen this large doublewide traveling on a Kentucky backroad if we had stayed on the freeway!
Be a tourist along the way.
Don’t wait until you get to your destination to start exploring! Pick up those tourist brochures when you stop for gas. You might find an unexpected gem that didn’t show up when you did a search for attractions and activities along your journey. We’re so glad we didn’t miss these fresh peaches in Colorado!
Ask the locals.
This applies to local attractions as well as dining options. Looking for a dinner recommendation? Ask the locals where they eat. It may not necessarily be where the Chamber of Commerce or tourist board recommends, but it’s sure to be delicious. Often times, the locals will point out eateries that aren’t listed in the local guides, and if the locals are going there, you can be pretty sure they have stood the test of time. Check out this great BBQ we found thanks to some helpful locals! Same goes for area attractions. Sometimes you won’t find anything on a local gem in a tourist brochure but the area residents will often be happy to point out a not to be missed activity.
Reservations aren’t always necessary.
No, I’m not saying that you should just drive until you can’t anymore and then hope to find a room for the night. Instead I would suggest that you make necessary reservations for things like nights at National Park lodges or a hotel room if you’re road tripping to a festival or event. The other nights on your trip see how things are going as you move down the road! Sometime in the early afternoon, figure out how much further you want to go for the day and use that hotel app on your phone to find a room in the area you plan to spend the night. Most apps allow you to find, reserve, and check in on the app.
Don’t be afraid of spontaneity!
By not scheduling every moment of your trip, you leave yourself open to so many “Oh, that looks interesting!” stops along the way. Make sure to keep your Hydaway bottles handy so you can stay hydrated during fun detours!
Lastly, get in the picture.
Don’t be shy or worry about looking silly for taking a picture of something (or someone)! Make sure that you document your travels by including pictures of you and your traveling companions at the many stops along your way. That’s one thing you certainly won’t forget!
“There’s the trip you plan and then there’s the trip you take.” – Kevin Kling