If you plan to make a road trip soon, or if you’re one of those people that travel a lot or even travel to make a living, this post was written for you. I love watching YouTubers’ hacks videos, so I thought I’d do the same – just in my way. These are travel tips I’ve come up with. (Nothing stolen from the internet.) But they’re written with travel centers in mind so if you’re stopping at dinky little gas stations or in airports, these might not apply.
1. If you walk into a ladies restroom and the toilet seats are up, yay you! This most likely means they just cleaned, and you get to sit your butt right down on a brand new disinfected seat – without worrying about wiping it down or using those paper covers. Men’s restrooms, now that’s a different story.
2. Sometimes toilets that (are supposed to) flush automatically don’t. Most toilets always have a button you can press to flush. Sometimes though they’re tiny and on the side of a pipe, so you might have to look for it. Remember this next time it doesn’t flush. (One the other hand, some toilets have flushed 3 times before you’re even done, making sure your butt gets washed too so there’s that.)
3. If you buy rewards cards, you get points every time you buy something at any location of that same chain. This is helpful to know because the points count up faster than you think, and we get free coffee and free food and snacks fairly often. And I’m mentioning this because we’ve met drivers on several occasions that did not even know this.
4. My favorite thing about travel centers is the coffee corner. A lot of coffee makers have a small timer so you can see how old the coffee is. If it shows more than 45 minutes, I’m wary about getting some. What’s worse than old coffee, am I right? I always drink my coffee black, so old coffee is really gross. I always take a cup, pour a drip of coffee and take a sip before filling my cup. If it tastes meh I still take it. (Cuz I need my coffee.) If it tastes blah I add some flavored creamer. If it tastes blueauggh I do half coffee and half cappuccino. I make it work some way or another. It’s better than nothing.
5. Coffee stations also have hot water. This is useful on so many levels. Get a cup of Ramen noodles from the food aisles and add hot water for a quick snack or lunch. (I’ve never done that, but it’s an option.) Or a cup of instant oatmeal for a yummy breakfast. (That I love.) And if you take a cup of only hot water or fill your hot water flask, it’s free! (Which is useful in case you have a teabag in your car.)
6. When taking a lid for your coffee cup, don’t take the top one. Lift the top one, grab the second one and put the top one back. Why? Less chance that unwashed hands from the bathroom have touched the second lid than the top one.
7. While traveling, don’t be afraid to drink enough water. Drinking more water will help you avoid car sickness and headaches. I have learned that 95% of my headaches are because of dehydration. And if you’re worried about frequent bathroom breaks, don’t be. You should never be in too much of a hurry not to have time to stop and pee. Also, after a few days you’ll get used to it and will need to stop less often.
8. There are very helpful apps for road trips. Before leaving, do some research on which app could be useful for you and download it. My husband likes Truckerpath, a GPS/map app that tells you where the travel centers are in the city of your destination. It also shows you all the Walmarts and rest stops and I don’t know what all. It’s designed especially for truckers, but could also be useful for other travelers. Get an app that’s more than just GPS; get one that’ll help you with tips and suggestions on the road. There are apps that’ll tell you where to find the cheapest gas if you’re that kind of person. But be forewarned – there are apps that are downright stupid.
9. Bring stuff to keep you from getting bored. Movies make road trips look like an incredible exhilarating experience with adventure around every corner but in reality they can become very boring very quickly. Bring your knitting or something.
10. Keep your phone battery charged. Nothing worse than stopping for a bathroom break and you notice in the mirror that you’re looking cute today but can’t take a selfie cuz your phone is dead.
11. Make sure you always have some cash/coins with you. Ya never know when you’ll need some to buy tacos from a food truck or help out a man with a cardboard sign at the red light or need to vacuum clean your car. (We’re still learning this since we mostly use credit cards on the road.)
12. To avoid forgetting your wallet filled with credit cards and drivers license in a public restroom, just leave it at home. It’s what I do, and it works. (Yes, there’s a backstory there which I would love to forget. Ugh.) This only applies though if there’s a second person you’re traveling with that has all the things you’ll need. If you plan to drive yourself or shop a lot, DON’T leave your license and money at home (neither in a restroom).
13. Bring wet wipes. Whether you sneak a handful into your purse at Famous Dave’s or buy a roll at Walmart doesn’t matter to me, but they’re very useful. They make for an easy cleanup after eating in your car. They remove sticky food residue and beverage spills and even stains in your clothing. I also use them as a substitute shower before bed if we haven’t been able to shower that day.
14. If you’re trying to take a picture of the scenery while speeding 80 mph down the interstate, make sure the “Live” feature is on on your camera. This prevents blurry pictures and later you can actually go to edit, then select a different time frame of the photo if you like the photo better from .4 seconds before. It’s called the Make Key Photo.
15. For you Canadian travelers with credit cards, most travel centers in the states now have the “tap” option for your credit/debit card. They also claim to have applepay which just about never works though. But yeah, tap is great – especially if the cashier doesn’t even know about it and she’s like “you’ll have to insert the chip” but then we tap and it’s done and she’s like “wow that’s cool”. Hahaha yeah we Canadians are sitting back and watching the great US of A trying to catch up to us tech-wise.
Are there any tips that I’ve missed? Please, let me know about it in the comments! As much as I’m on the road, I welcome all the suggestions. If I get enough I might even write another post about it (with a shoutout to you, including a link to your Instagram ;))