Through Tupperwares of home,-made fruit plates, bags of nuts and pretzels, bottles of water (ok, and a few bottles of Coca-Cola), and a few bags of beef jerky, all whilst laughing to our favorite comedian's stand-up, the boyfriend and I made it through a cross country trip to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and back! Surprise: we still like each other! When I told friends that our plans for Vegas had changed, and that we had decided to drive to our destination, most we worried that we would come back tried, angry and ready to take a vacation from each other. Honestly, I was nervous myself. Our deparure date seemed to be approaching quickly and I still have this lurking suspicion that I had not prepared enough (despire being fully packed). Newsflash Cassandra: if you've been driving since the age of 16, you don't need to prepare for a road trip. You've already done it. This one, is just going to require way more (sometimes dirty) gas station visits, and more naps in the car. However, we had an amazing time and I believe it took a great deal of teamwork and common goal of, 'we're gonna make this the best trip ever' that helped us out. The reason for this cross-country excursion was the amazing experience of finally making it to the Electric Daisy Carnival electric music festival in Las Vegas, NV. It was a cosmically electric experience; I'm only sad we couldn't have stayed longer and enjoyed more (we were only at the festival 2 days; we spent the remaining time with family). Also, it was my first trip to Vegas, so I tried to fit in as much adventure as I could in a short period, which can still leave your head spinning after you get home!
As it it the season for vacations and adventures for most, I did come up with a few tricks/tips to survive a long road trip and to make the most of your experience:
Laugh as much as you can. We have discovered that you can create Pandora radio stations based on favorite comedian. I ended up laughing so hard my stomach hurt and a little drool was coming out of my mouth because it wasn't closed I was laughing for so long. So instead of scrolling to find just the right station or re-playing your 'road trip' playlist again, laugh your way through the great plains (they're boring enough and need some livening up).
Pack a lunch. I can't tell you how boring convenience store food can be after you 3rd stop at a gas station. Especially to keep you energized and focus, fresh fruit and veggies can be a much better resource; home-made guacamole is also much more satisfying than the next bag of chips you buy. A small cooler or lunch box can keep them cool for the 24 hour trip!
Stop to wonder. "Horses!' was something I yelled out repeatedly on our drive. Taking few moments to gaze and take pictures of the beautiful landscape you're passing through can make the trip more special. How amazing and fortunate that you're seeing new parts of your home country and enjoying new geographical features. Coming from the flat Midwest, I was so happy to experience the mountains and deserts of the West.
Make that car comfy. After all the prep for the trek, I forgot a pillow! A cross-country trip and I forgot an essential piece of napping equipment. I had to improvise by bunching up a shawl; probably the one time I cursed myself on that trip. If you're spending over 2 hours in the car, make it comfy and cozy with your favorite socks, sweaters, leggings and blankets. HOWEVER, don't underestimate the power and versatility of a good shawl/wrap/sweater. Oh, you're traveling to 100 degree weather? Bring a shawl.
Don't oversleep; don't go sleepless. You're ready to make this vacation the best one yet. Not happening if you're in bed getting some extra shut eye. During vacations is the only time I utilize the excuse, 'I'll sleep when I'm dead.' (Not justification for a late Tuesday night out at Tommy Bahama-themed Karaoke bar--go home!) However, you don't want to be a zombie and absolutely lack-luster about the amazing things you're exploring. I actually left the trip feeling under the weather, and unfortunately, my immune system did seem to bounce back throughout the trip. However, making sure I got my full 8 hours of sleep, allowed me to be energized and ready to do as much as I could and all that I wanted to do. You don't want to constantly caffeine dependent in order to experience your time off.
Group Huddle. 'But I don't want to!' Don't end up talking and sulking like a kindergartner on your trip. Taking a few moments in order to go over what you want to do for the day with your fellow vacationers can really help group morale and ensure everyone is getting out of their adventure that they want to. Saying, 'I was thinking of doing this? What did you want to do?' can make all the difference. Nobody wants to spend their time with a Debbie Downer. They want an Energetic Ethel! (Hey, I tried making that work).
Again, Vegas was a true dream come and I hope everyone gets the chance to experience something new and exciting this summer. Travel is the only thing you spend your money on that makes you rich ;)