If anyone has the urge to be on the road as long as Nic and I were, I have compiled a list of tips for you – if you want. I do feel that after 46 days on the road, I am a bit of an expert. Just saying.
- Camp as often as possible. This will save you so much money, and you don’t have to “rough” it too much if you don’t want to. There are a lot of campsites that offer showers, water, and electricity for campers to utilize. Don’t forget your shower shoes and towels! Also, don’t forget your pillows, because rolled up towels are not a very comfortable replacement.
- Bring twice as much water as you think you will need. Nic and I had gallons of water we carried around in the trunk, and when we could, we would refill them with water from campsites that offered drinkable water. This is a huge money saver.
- Ladies: always squat. You know what I am talking about. Even if you don’t think you can because you have been hiking all day and your legs are like jello, just do it. It is not work the risk.
- Bring snacks that won’t melt. Chocolate will obviously melt, but so will a lot of other things if it is hot enough. When you are in the desert, it is always hot enough. Peanut butter will get super runny, gummy vitamins will clump together in one ball, etc. If you have a sweet tooth like mine, get M&M’s or another chocolate that is candy coated.
- Invest in a good cooler. One of our wedding gifts was a Yeti, and it was perfect for our road trip. It kept food cool for days without us having to replace the ice, even when it was sitting in the oven, also known as our car in the summer heat.
- Get crafty with your snacks and meals. In order to save money, we made a lot of sandwiches for the road, but we got tired of turkey and PB&J pretty quick. Good snacks we packed were: apples, oranges, bananas, tuna packets (you can get different flavors at the grocery store), crackers, Twizzlers, applesauce, fruit cups, yogurt, and carrots. If you have access to hot water (jetboil, anyone?) you can also get freeze dried food, oatmeal, mac & cheese.. so many options.
- Do not be the jerk who is going for a leisurely stroll in the mountains. Yes, I’m talking to you, bald man in the red corvette with the top down going 15 miles under the speed limit because you are enjoying your retirement. If you are going to be that person, the least you can do is pull over when someone drives up behind your vehicle, so they can pass you and be on their merry way. Some of us have places to be.
- Always carry deodorant with you. I feel like this one is self explanatory. While I’m on the topic of toiletries… bring your own toilet paper, hand sanitizer (that one should be obvious), and face cleansing wipes (these are especially great if you don’t have running water).
- Don’t waste your money on expensive restaurants; the dive, hole-in-the-wall restaurants always serve better food anyway. Plus, I think the experience is more down to earth and you can experience the culture more.
- Last, but not least: be flexible. Having flexible plans is not a strength of mine. I like to have a plan and I like to stick to it. I like knowing exactly where my next meal is coming from, where I am sleeping for the night, what activities I will be doing during the day, and where the nearest and cleanest restroom is located. Nic is the exact opposite. He is all, “let’s just figure it out as we go. I’m a man and can pee in the woods,” (okay, maybe I added the second sentence). My usual response to this is a heart attack. It is so important to be flexible though, and I have learned to do this with consistent support and reassurement from my husband. It is good to have some kind of tentative plan or idea of what you want to do, but the ability to change it up and go with the flow is crucial, especially when you face something unexpected, like a thunderstorm or some kind of ailment. The important thing about road trips is that you enjoy them, right? As long as you are living, experiencing, and thriving in the adventure, you are doing it right.