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Thread: Cross country travel hacks welcome

  1. #1
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    Cross country travel hacks welcome

    We're going by car from East coast back to Phoenix next month. My partner likes to "wing it" vs. I'd like a little more pre-travel preparation.
    I remember seeing an app somewhere which would tell travelers if there is anything nearby they may be interested in seeing.
    We'll be on main interstates, but should have time each day for a little diversion to a historical museum, or unique architectural or landscape features, etc. Question is how to find these on the fly since we don't know in advance how much driving we'll feel like doing each day.
    Total driving is 4-5 days, so it's not an epic trip, but it's also something I only plan on doing every few years so I'd like to make the most of our little journey. Would appreciate input. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I did a half-cross-country from Houston to New Jersey with my DD. It was pretty unplanned. She called me and told me she was "dropping a friend off at home" and when she said he lived in Houston, I told her I'd meet her in Houston (happened to have market research there, coincidentally) and we'd drive home together.

    I wish I could tell you we used a cool app like the one you mentioned but they didn't have apps back then! (it was 2008). But we are both kind of "wing-it" people, and we had a really wonderful time. It brings back so many great memories.

    My advice would be to do a little research before hand and find the "must do's." Then you have some framework, but allow yourself the flexibility to find those more spontaneous experiences along the way. Decide how much driving you plan on doing per day and where you will be stopping and staying at night. Also strategize which route you will take. You can do the Southern route, or the mid-America route through the Virginias, Tennessee, etc. There are advantages to each. If you are traveling on August 21, you can maybe hit up Charleston or Nashville for the solar eclipse!

    The spontaneous events and attractions can be aided with an app, but also with your own intuition. It's really fun to go "off-script" when the spirit moves you.

    BTW: found this article about travel apps for local attractions: https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/fo...al-attractions
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    When you cross into a state stop at its welcome center. You can pick up a free travel guide and if it's during regular business hours get attractions tips from a staff member. In some states they will also help you with lodging reservations. I remember years ago Mississippi being particularly helpful with that.

    Or you can contact the states on your route ahead of time for the free guides, but they can take a couple weeks to arrive. Or you can look at the online version some of them have, split into regions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    National Geographic's article on best road trips. Has some nice "off the beaten path" ideas--perhaps not on your route, but I thing a couple are. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com...st-road-trips/

    Another idea is to get an audio book of some of the regions you plan to visit and listen while you're driving to get a more immersive experience. Bill Bryson is a fantastic road trip listen.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  5. #5
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Your local AAA office has a ton of brochures. We just got a bunch of travel helps from them for our upcoming road trip.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    When you cross into a state stop at its welcome center. You can pick up a free travel guide and if it's during regular business hours get attractions tips from a staff member. In some states they will also help you with lodging reservations. I remember years ago Mississippi being particularly helpful with that.

    Or you can contact the states on your route ahead of time for the free guides, but they can take a couple weeks to arrive. Or you can look at the online version some of them have, split into regions.
    Yppej, your post made me look at my own state. Makes me wonder why states don't have virtual welcome centers as well.

    Edit:
    Looks like mine does, just an oddball link through the government site to get through it (may be more direct via Google).

  7. #7
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    Have fun!
    I usually start googling "unique things to do or see in ____" whatever state I'll be passing through. There is so much off the beaten path if you don't mind traveling off the interstates. We went up to St Louis a few weeks ago and on the way back went 45 minutes off the interstate to tour an old lead mine in Bonne Terre. Very interesting and a cool boat ride underground. Once you know what route you'll take if you post it I bet we could come up with more options than you want.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    The other thing to check out are hotel coupons. We have found some unbelievable prices. These guides are at the state line travel centers but you can also access online.

    https://www.hotelcoupons.com/

  9. #9
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    Yppej, your post made me look at my own state. Makes me wonder why states don't have virtual welcome centers as well.

    Edit:
    Looks like mine does, just an oddball link through the government site to get through it (may be more direct via Google).
    dude, our state has a great website for state maintaned historic and natural sites! It is amazing, some of the historical houses and sites they maintain!

  10. #10
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    Safe travels, Lainey! Rob

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