Being a new car travel destination for us meant doing some preliminary planning (thanks AAA for the handy TripTik!), and also being more flexible to discovering sights and sounds along the way.
Now having come home, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about our experience and thought I’d share 10 thoughts worth noting the next time you take a road trip cross country, or even just within your own city or town.
1. Car trips are long with children in tow. A DVD player for the kids can take you a couple states away before the first sign of restlessness or boredom creeps up.
2. There’s no better way to see a change in weather than traveling far from home. Budding trees, green grass, warmer sunshine, and palm trees are potentially only a few days drive.
3. Most restaurants, rest areas, and gas stations have bathrooms that are filthy and unwelcoming. That needs to change.
4. Looking for a nice local restaurant to have lunch? Sadly, the American road side typically offers only fast food places with greasy burgers, fried items, and fountain drinks. Drive into town to find hidden gems if you want better choices.
5. Attitude is everything. Everyone you meet, whether it’s a trolley driver, restaurant server, or retail shop owner during a visit provides an impression of your city to visitors. If you’re pleasant or disgruntled, people will remember your business and/or brand – and city – by how you treat them.
6. Electronics may distract us to kill time on the road, but it’s easy to miss scenery like wild animals, Smoky Mountain mist, and gorgeous gorges in an instant if your head is only looking at a screen.
7. Tourists crave local favorites – prepare accordingly by having them in stock. If I’m in Kentucky, I want to sample a fine spirit courtesy of the bourbon trail. If I’m in the South, grits for breakfast are a must. Tap beers from one of your hometown local craft brewers sound great. Tell me what you have available, don’t make me guess or make the wrong choice because I don’t know any better.
8. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you’re using social media for your business, there’s no better way to leave a good impression than by replying, responding and interacting to those that talk about your business. Especially tourists. I’ll buy more of your products and remember your business better because of it. (Shout out to @VisitSavannah for being an awesome social media host during our day trip to Savannah, Georgia!)
9. Tide To Go Pens stain removers work wonders when you have kids with you. They might help you too in a pinch.
10. Document your journey. Use Facebook and social media to tell family, friends and others about your experience. They’ll learn from what you post and just might visit the same location because of what you said about it.
11. A bonus comment: Looking for a local coffee shop, theme restaurant, or area attraction? Be sure to ask your concierge, a local resident, or use social media platforms or apps like Foursquare and Yelp to find out more. The internet is an amazing resource to tap into to find exactly what you need when you are there.
What do you like best about travel? Any tips you care to share about trips you’ve taken that would make someone’s next road trip even better?