A Road Trip Primer
by Heidi Mast
This article first appeared in the May/June 2015 print edition of Daughters of Promise.
A seasoned traveler, Heidi Mast shares tips for making your next road trip as memorable and fun as you envision it!
Yelp is an awesome app when you’re trying to decide where to eat. You can find unique local places and filter it all by price and star rating. We’ve found many hidden gems while traveling that we would’ve never found without Yelp. I’m in Fort Lauderdale at the moment and just today, we found one of the cutest coffee shops I have ever seen, through Yelp.
I love this app and have used it multiple times. Airbnb lets you rent from individuals in the area you’re traveling to. You can search by location, price range, number of beds, etc. You can rent anything from penthouses to tree houses. My last trip to NYC, my friends and I rented an apartment on the 38th floor of a building two blocks from Times Square. For my next trip to Portland, I’m looking into a tent in someone’s back yard (don’t tell my mom).
Does it bug you to fill up with gas at one place and then drive down the highway and pass another exit that has it for 15 cents cheaper? When your tank is getting low, pull up GasBuddy to see the best gas prices reported by other GasBuddy users in your area.
I love how last-minute and flexible Priceline allows you to be. Priceline makes it possible to NOT plan ahead and still get great deals on hotels. You can do pretty much anything you can do on the regular Priceline site with their app, including the Name Your Own Price section which is often where you can get the best deals.
I love Groupon and through the years have used it to find deals close to where I live, but recently, I’ve started using it when I travel. If you know what cities you’re traveling to, then you can look at deals a few weeks or even months before you go there to see if there are any good deals for restaurants, hotels, or activities that you might want to grab.
This app runs in the background of your smartphone, alerting you to historical sites, architecture, entertainment, etc. The app talks about interesting places as you drive by and will customize recommendations based on your “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”.
1. Keep an open box of dryer sheets in your car. Even if your car started out smelling nice, by day eight, you will be happy these are there.
2. If you’re parking your car when exploring a new city, drop a pin on your map app. Not being able to remember where you parked your car is the worst. Then you can explore, carefree, wherever the wind takes you.
3. Two-port USB car chargers are super nice.
4. Keep extra small bills on hand to pay toll.
5. Have a good playlist to listen to. If you listen to the playlist as you’re making memories, when you get home and listen to the songs, those memories come flooding back.
6. Use an eyeglasses case to store cords and chargers.
7. I always like to wear slip on shoes and leggings for road trips. Sometimes your legs have to go in weird places to get comfy and it’s nice not to worry about the position of your dress. It’s also much more comfortable traveling without shoes and if you have slip ons, running in and out of gas stations is a breeze.
1. Put an inch or two of peanut butter in the bottom of a plastic jar then fill the jar with celery sticks. You can do the same with ranch and carrot sticks or pretzel rods and nutella.
2. Cheese sticks – one of my favorite road trip foods.
3. Hard boiled eggs.
4. Nuts, Berries, Granola bars.
5. Chocolate. I inevitably get hungry for something sweet while driving any substantial distance.
6. Popcorn and Cookies.
7. And of course chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks