In 2007 we took a mother-daughter road trip across the United States. We started in Idaho and went East. We were on the road for 30 days, talk about a bonding experience! In our time on the road we learned not only a lot about each other but also a tip or two about road tripping. Since then we have used these tips, the best part is remembering where we learned them.
Lose the Minute to Minute Itinerary
This can be a challenge for some people. Most of the time we keep planners and plan our schedules meticulously. On the road, it’s not necessary, and can even be a waste of time. There were times that heavy rainstorms forced us to pull over and wait it out. There went the time frame. When we made it to Boston it was field trip day at the aquarium and the line was out the door. There went our planned activity. Other times we just weren’t ready to move on to the next town. Had we been so worried about meeting an itinerary we would have missed the lightning storm in the middle of Montana that lit up the sky. We would have missed the farmers market in Boston where we ate peaches with the juice running down our arms and smiles on our faces. We would have missed our hearts calling out that we needed a little more time in New Orleans to really take in all that it had to offer. Itineraries have the potential to hold us back. They put us in a mindset that focuses on the next step, as opposed to focusing on the moment and thoroughly enjoying where we are. So, what we suggest is a loose timeline and a list of places that you want to visit and explore. That way no matter what happens out of your control, you can still enjoy the journey.
Tunes, Snacks, and Entertainment are a Must
Road trips take time. That is part of the beauty of them. But be sure that you have enough stimulus to cover those long hours. The “oh, I’ll nap the whole time” idea is not as easy as you think. Some days all that we did was drive and there are only so many hours one can sleep. On top of that, those precious hours of road gave us the opportunity to belt out Savage Garden lyrics, consume way too many Starbursts, Fritos, and Diet Cokes, and talk about our goals, dreams, and everything in between. Other times all we needed was a little quiet time so a book or a small craft was our indicator that we needed a social break.
Communication is Key
Two women, one car, and a lot of time sounds like a recipe for disaster; especially with one being a teenager. We are proud to say that the only time voices were raised was when one was napping and the other needed the napper to look at a map…now. We get asked all the time how we handled each other’s company for so long. The answer is always communication. When we were tired we told each other. When we needed to stretch, we said something. When we needed space, we made sure to find some space. Had we not allowed for an open communication channel the trip would have turned out very different. If you communicate and really listen to what the other has to say the problems will be few.
Of course, there are plenty of other tips such as; make sure you know where your next stop for gas will be, let people know where you are, and get the car serviced before you hit the road but others will tell you those things. If your go with the flow, prepare for boredom, and communicate there is almost nothing that can turn your trip sour. 12 years later we still talk about our 30-day road trip. The memories may fade with time, but the bond will always remain. So we say to you, get out there and enjoy the open road.