I’m a fairly experienced roadtripper. I’ve got a Garmin, I can assemble a healthy(ish) meal from gas station food, I know which outfits to wear when I’m going to be sitting for seven hours. (Here are my six suggestions for road tripping by yourself)
1. Bring cash and quarters
Did you know that Illinois and Indiana have approximately one million toll roads? And that some of them only take cash? If you’re roadtripping through a toll-heavy area, get $20-30 in small bills and keep them in your glove box or cup holder so you’re not rummaging around in your purse when you pull up to the toll booth. Also? Lots of those quaint little towns you happen upon will have quarter-only parking meters – none of these fancy, schmancy credit card parking meters. Be prepared.
For the longest time, I thought AAA was “for old people.” Maybe because my parents had it? Regardless of its target market, IT IS FANTASTIC. Not only because you’ve got peace of mind for $66 a year, you get discounts on pretty much every hotel and motel in America and lots of tourist attractions. In one trip, my membership paid for itself.3. Use OKCupid to meet locals
As you probably know, OkCupid is a free online dating site. Though it’s usually used for finding lovahs and wrestling partners, you can totally use it meet locals, make friends, and get travel advice. I met up with no less than five lovely dudes who tour guided me around their cities (not a euphemism!) told me about the reality of living in a beautiful place totally overrun with tourists and took me to places I wouldn’t have gone otherwise (again, not a euphemism.)If you feel a little nervous about going out with the stranger in a strange town, email a friend your date’s photo, phone number, and real name or try the strictly platonic Invite For A Bite.
You probably already have one of these, right? For the longest time I didn’t. Because who cares if my phone goes dead when I’m two blocks from my apartment? But it’s a bit more dire when you’re in the middle of nowhere, by yourself. You can pick up a usb phone charger at any Walgreens or CVS.
I think I’ve sung the praises of this home/room rental service before, but let me clear my throat. It’s cheaper than any motel, it’s a million times homier, and it’s kind of a built-in friend if you’re traveling by yourself. I was in Savannah and Asheville by myself and each time I stayed in the spare room of a home owned by a single woman. We drank coffee together and talked about creativity, Heather told me the backstories of her two cats and Gert invited me along to dinner with her boyfriend (ages 64 and 67 respectively). So lovely!
What are your roadtripping tips and tricks?