My husband and I, while agreeing on the big things in life (finances, morals, lifestyle, future goals, etc.), have shockingly little in common when it comes to the day-to-day. Not counting the fact that I grew up just north of Boston, while he grew up a world away in southern India, we are two very different people. We don’t share the same hobbies, nor do we gravitate to the same things. I’m Yankees, he’s Red Sox. He’s a Mac, I’m a PC. He suffers from an inability to sit still, while I could sit on the couch and marathon TV watch for days. I recently had a Firefly marathon, but won’t bother to lament the fact that such genius didn’t take days, even with the Serenity movie included. (I’ll never really forgive Fox for screwing that up…sigh…but I digress). Despite our differences, travel unites us.
Our first real trip consisted of 7 days in Arizona. We spent time in Holbrook (Joe & Aggie’s – BEST. PANCAKES. EVER.), the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Winslow (where, yes, I stood on a corner). Aside from one day where things went a little wrong, it was that trip that sealed our relationship. Since we both had interest in traveling it was important that we be travel compatible. It was a relief that we were. 5 years later, we have countless successful trips under our belts.
Still, when I’ve talked about our upcoming trip and mentioned that we travel well together, people have repeatedly asked me, “But do you ROAD TRIP well together?” The first few times I was asked the question I mentioned the few local road trips we’ve taken with success. But the more people asked, the more I realized that virtually every trip we’ve taken has been a road trip. That trip to Arizona? We stayed in 5 different hotels in 9 days (including the iconic Rte 66 teepees). Hawaii? 11 total plane rides, 3 islands, and 6 hotels in 11 days. Montana? 6 hotels in 8 days, with 1,000+ miles put on the rental car. I could go on, but I’m sure you see my point. Even when we fly to a new place, we never just land and stay put. Every trip is a road trip. We’ve had lots of practice.
But none of that means that our planning process is similar. We attack travel planning from two totally different directions. He likes to dive straight into the travel books. He recently picked up the newest edition of Moon’s Road Trip USA (after already reading the older version over the previous month) and has been plotting out maps and itineraries. We’re in agreement that our trip has no firm timetable or set locations, but we’ll have a general idea and then see where the wind takes us. But he has numerous potential routes mapped out with potential events marked on a calendar each day. I appreciate his hard work, and have provided input to his planning, but I prefer a more freestyle method.
I’m not even sure when that happened. I used to be the girl that would plan a vacation within an inch of its life. Event tickets were usually purchased 6 months in advance. Every minute was accounted for before my bags were packed. I’d always say I was flexible and willing to change things on the fly, but I hated the thought of landing someplace and not being able to find anything to do. Of course, I never changed anything, but then, I was never left without something to do either. These days, I like knowing a few options and then just letting things fall into place.
So, while my husband is pouring over guide books and maps, I’m taking to social media to find ideas. I have a few Pinterest Boards devoted to our trip. One is camping specific, complete with packing tips and tricks, as well as campfire recipes and dos and don’ts. Another is devoted to fun places we might stop. I’ve pinned many articles with specific routes, quirky attractions, or travel advice. I like knowing I’ll be able to access them as we go.
More recently I’ve given a shout out to all of my Facebook friends looking for suggestions for off-the-beaten-path type places that they’ve encountered on their travels (have had a few good suggestions, but could definitely use more). Places that won’t be in a guide book. Places that I wouldn’t think of. We’ll hit up a lot of National Parks, and historical monuments, but then we’ll also likely hit up more off-beat places like Captain Kirk’s future birth place in Iowa and the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, home to the original buffalo wing (Bonus that I have an old friend in the area. Hopefully a reunion over a plate of wings is in order).
So tell me – what are your best road-tripping, travel tips? Where have you been? What’s your can’t-miss recommendation? Because, where you lead, I “might” follow.