Friday, April 4, 2014

30 Things I’ve Learned About Life as a Road Tripper

Turning 30 & The Things I’ve Learned Along The Way

I’ve recently turned 30, and although this may not seem like a big milestone to many, I’m definitely starting to feel the “old age” setting in. I’ve made some amazing travel memories the last 10 years, mainly road tripping in North America with some close friends. In celebration of my recent birthday, I wanted to share some of my lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Here are 30 things I’ve learned:
  • You’re never too busy to road trip, even if it’s a short day or weekend trip. We once road tripped 26 hours to trek on a glacier and make it home before work on Monday.
  • Travel is good for the soul. You make so many amazing memories along the way, and these memories will last a lifetime.
  • Sometimes getting lost is a blessing. Although getting lost can be quite frustrating, we’ve stumbled across some great things, and wonderful people when lost. We also have great laughs about our adventures getting lost in various towns and cities.Sometimes we get lost in life, but it's what you get out of the experience that really matters.
  • A smile can go a long way, especially when road tripping through small, remote towns, where they don’t get many tourists. This rings true in everyday life as well.
  • New York isn’t as scary as we expected. This comment goes back to the age old "don't just a book by it's cover."
  • Patience is a virtue when it comes to road tripping, traffic and life
  • Road tripping at night is a great way to avoid rush hour traffic. We often try and plan to arrive in a big city just before sunrise, as it gives us the day to explore, and we waste less time sitting in traffic.
  • Coffee is an amazing thing! I’ve only recently just started drinking coffee. I find I can’t stay up as late as I once did, and I can’t drive as long as I used to. Coffee helps give that extra little boost that’s sometimes needed. It also helps get the creative juices going while blogging.
  • If you’re tired, pull over. We’ve driven long hauls to try and make it to our next destination in a timely manner. If you find you’re tired, remember that it’s not worth causing an accident to get to your next destination on time. Pull over and rest for a few hours.
  • Travel with pillows and blankets. This comes in handy when it’s nap time, but also if you get stranded somewhere remote, and have to spend the night somewhere cold, you can stay nice and toasty until help arrives. This is a great life lesson, always be prepared.
  • Travel with at least 2 days’ worth of food and water. If you breakdown in between towns, and can’t get help for several days, at least you’re somewhat prepared.
  • Buy a National Parks Pass if travelling through more than 1 or 2 national parks in America. It’s good for an entire year, and most places allow you to camp overnight as well. This also helps encourage you to visit more national parks, and travel often, as you have the pass for a year.
  • Pick and choose your battles. It happens to the best of us, we get on each other’s nerves when confined in a car for long periods of time. It’s not always necessary to snap at your travel partner, especially over the small things. Tensions in the car while road tripping can put a damper on your trip.
  • You get used to sleeping uncomfortably in a car. This rings true with life lessons as well, sometimes in life you have uncomfortable situations, but make the best of those situations and look on the bright side.
  • Be a tourist in your own city. We’ve road tripped all across North America, but I’ve never made it to Victoria (it’s the capital city of our province)! There is also so much we haven’t seen or explored in our own city.
  • Don’t book hotels in advance. This tip really depends on how you travel. We’ve come across a few instances where we didn’t make it to a town the day we had expected to.  Some hotels don’t let you cancel your booking once it’s made, and you lose out on that hotel reservation that you’ve already paid for. In life, things happen ...
  • Orbitz while on the go. We don’t generally book hotels while road tripping, as they cost money, but when we do, we use Orbitz. We generally find free wifi at a McDonalds or Starbucks and book our hotel when we’re a few hours away, so we know we’ll make it to the hotel that day.
  • Natural disasters happen. We always have friends on tornado and hurricane watch for us while travelling.
  • Reach out to people on Twitter. This is probably the best thing we’ve ever done while road tripping. People give us great advice of things to see, events in town, and traffic tips.
  • Connect with the locals. This is a great way to get the inside scoop on attractions, must see places, and awesome dive bars to stop in.
  • Know your time zones when travelling across the country, especially if trying to make it to attractions before they close.
  • Rest stops are a great place to use clean bathrooms and free wifi. Not all, but most rest stops we’ve been to across North America are by far cleaner than any gas station bathroom we come across on the side of the highway or interstate, and several have free wifi.
  • Local wave pools are a great place to shower. After travelling in a car for so long, it also feels great to get out and go for a quick swim.
  • Welcome centers are great information hubs, they also have free wifi. We never put much importance into welcome centers until we stopped in one in Maine. This led us to a 1,700 lb chocolate moose that was built in 1997. We also used their free wifi to book our Statue of Liberty boat tour.
  • Do you’re research on various towns and attractions before you leave. The internet is a wonderful thing, chocked full of helpful information to help plan your trip. This helps you know in advance if an attraction has shutdown, moved, or even suggested other attractions along the way. It’s also good to know which towns have high crime rates, maybe it’s a good idea to just pass through those towns or avoid them all together.
  • Have a budget set so you know how much money you’re going to need. This is no different then budgeting your pay cheque for rent, various bills and unexpected expenses in life.
  • Eating out all the time can be quite costly. We try to travel with most of the food we’re going to need for our trip to help save money, but also for survival reason in case something happens.
  • Travel with a map as a backup. We’ve hit a few dead zones where are GPS just won’t load data. A map can help navigate you, if need be.
  • Prepare for random tolls along the way. The east coast has a ton of toll roads. With it being a plastic world, it’s a good idea to carry a few dollars in change to pay for those tolls. Nova Scotia has a $4 toll in and out of the province. Prince Edward Island’s toll is $45!
  • Be street smart. Lock your car, and don’t leave any valuables in your car. Also, don’t travel with a ton of cash. There are lots of ATMs along the way.
The most important thing we’ve learned about road tripping, besides being safe and prepared for anything, is to have fun and travel often. It’s a great relief from the everyday life of an office job, and even short weekend trips are doable.

Happy travels!

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