Friday, July 18, 2014

SWG2L: Travel, Revisited

A few years back, I posted my Top 10 Single Woman travel tips. In a bit of a twist, I read those again this week and ... they haven't changed. I stand by every one of them and I'm genuinely surprised.

However, if I were to write that post again I'd probably expand it and add a few more. Turns out after a few good-sized road trips (and another one in the works) I've actually learned some new things.

Crazy, isn't it?

Anyway. Here are a few more things I'm considering as I plan my upcoming trip this fall.

1. As Andi commented way back then, make sure someone knows your itinerary. Keep in mind that this isn't just for your safety -- it's also so that, in the event of an emergency back home, someone can get you a message within a day if your cellphone is dead or just plain out of service. When I go for my longer trips, I talk to my mom more than on an average week, partially because the miles get long but also so that someone knows where(ish) I am. I'd say it takes away from the independence of a trip ... but I actually feel more freedom of movement if my whereabouts can be narrowed down to a 20-mile radius most of the time. Otherwise I overthink things. ["But I told them I was headed to Oregon and no one knows where I am right now but this is the most normal route and if I go elsewhere and something happens they won't be able to find me and then what?!"]

2. The longer the trip, the more I need to talk to other humans. This plays out in multiple ways, from making sure I visit people en route to the larger use of my minutes. The truth is that after I've seen something awesome, odds are good that I'll want to share it somehow ... and the more things I see, the more I want to share them. Amazing math, eh? Now my trips are planned with stops at friends' places included because as much as I love my alone time, I get plenty of that driving.

3. Think outside the box. I will find unique places to stay (whether I'm finding a church camp or tenting it somewhere) that make me feel relatively safe. I'm also making use of Atlas Obscura to find interesting things along the miles and I love geocaching for discovering out-of-the-way parks. Miles of highway and cheap hotel rooms all start to look the same after awhile -- find something to make it more interesting.

This is only the beginning.
4. Have paper. Look, I know everyone's got a smartphone and probably GPS in their car and all that, but you know what? Sometimes you don't have service, your GPS is out of date, or you'd like to find your way to or around something that either device isn't convinced exists. Brochures help. Maps help. And you can get one from just about any state or province either as you enter it OR ahead of time.

5. Don't fear the food. Like, anywhere. Unless you've been warned otherwise from someone you trust.

6. Before you go, talk to strangers. I've gotten more ideas from tourists passing through this area (and one friend's boyfriend) than I've found online. This is something I mentioned (at least partially) in my original post, but I can't say it enough: people are the single best resource you can have.

All right. I'm off to make a couple phone calls relating to this thing. Got some couch-surfing in my future...

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