I hope you’re traveling this summer.
Whether it’s across town, to the neighboring state, or across the world, I hope you have the opportunity to go somewhere new, see something different, and be someone else for a minute. There are a million reasons to travel, but those three are near the top of the list for me.
We’re on the road right now, somewhere in the hills of West Virginia with our dog and our camper. We don’t have any grand plans this summer, just short three-to-four day trips as Chris settles in at a new job. We were in New Orleans in March and in October we head to Florida, but for now, it’s just quicker drives and longer weekends.
As I was packing the car and camper last week, I realized my favorite travel items are probably things everyone should know about because they make our trips easier, keep stress to a minimum, and help us have a good time while we’re away from home. I think that’s a goal everyone has when they’re gone so I’m sharing my very-limited amount of travel wisdom here for your reading pleasure.
What I LOVE to travel with:
Listen, I don’t own a selfie stick and I never will. I have principles and standards and I just cannot handle a selfie stick. There I said it. BUT I will allow a phone tripod (like this one) to hold my phone if we need to take a family picture with all for of us. A selfie stick feels like it’s all about me, but a tripod feels like it’s about including everyone. That’s how my brain works. Deal with it.
-the book Road Food: An Eater’s Guide Across American & the Yelp app
I’ve shared this before, but our travel rule is we eat where the locals eat. I want to explore new restaurants and fall in love with food I can’t get at home. Remembering a location by a great place to eat is fun for us so we pick restaurants one of two ways: with the Road Food by Jane and Michael Stern or the Yelp app on our phone. The Sterns traveled the country writing this book well before the internet told you all the great hole-in-the-wall treasures available so there’s something nostalgic about carrying this book in our car and checking to see if we’ll be near any of the places. There are only about 3-5 places per state (if that) so more often than not, we use the Yelp app on our phone to see what’s nearby and what the people are saying. We have never had a bad dining experience as we stick to four and five star spots. People are brutally honest with their review on Yelp and I really appreciate it. I still remember the ONE time we went to a Mexican restaurant near a place we were staying in Washington, DC and didn’t check Yelp. It was disgusting. A bad food experience sticks with you. Yelp for safety, guys.
-a really comfortable maxi dress
Okay, maybe it’s a muu-muu. There I said it, I like to travel in muu-muus. But here’s the thing, all that good food? All that sitting in the car while getting to your destination? You don’t feel your best, leanest self on vacation. Enter: GIANT DRESSES. I don’t think I really need to convince you, but here goes: they’re amazing to travel in, they work as bathing suit coverups, you can sleep in them, you can wear them to dinner and look like you care about your appearance, and, once again, they’re amazing to travel in. I might even be wearing one as you read this. Go check Instagram. (This is my favorite black one I wear all summer long. I use this one as a cover up. Or you could just search muu-muu on Amazon because the options are endless.)
I know all the fancy people download movies to tablets and let their kids watch them, but we don’t do that. I’m pretty much anti-iPad if you haven’t picked that up yet. But traveling for long distances without some kind of electronic is also really hard. Yes, kids can do it, generations before us traveled across the United States without so much as a Walkman, but we do let our kids watch a few movies when we travel. We sprinkle Redbox movies (found at most gas stations or McDonald’s restaurants) in with coloring, reading, playing, and staring out the window wishing you weren’t stuck in a car. It’s all about moderation, and the $1.50 movie rental is a perfect addition to our long hours in the car.
-DJI Osmo Mobile
I take a million pictures when we travel, but rarely do I take longer videos like my parents did back in the day. I’ll share snippets to my Instagram Stories, but I’m not really taking videos that would equate to the home movies my parents made during my childhood. Am I alone in this? Do you find yourself recording longer videos when you travel? When we went to New Orleans in the spring, I got to test out the DJI Osmo Mobile compliments of Verizon, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to remember to take longer videos as we traveled and how professional they looked. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m *really* good at taking shaky videos that make viewers want to barf, but with the Osmo Mobile, it steadies your hand and your cell phone so you can take amazing videos that look like you had a camera crew with you on vacation. Plus, the app lets you edit videos to share instantly so you can make everyone at home jealous with your adventures.
-Chatbooks app for your drive home
I shared this in an email before, but I still love it so much and think you will too. Chatbooks are a great way to finally get all those pictures off your phone and in physical form. I have the app on my phone and while we’re on the road heading back to Indiana, I’ll upload the pictures I want to print onto a private Instagram account and then let the Chatbooks app put them in book form. (Side note: don’t do this on your regular Instagram account that people follow, THAT IS SUPER ANNOYING. I will unfollow you in three seconds flat if you post multiple pictures a day or use Instagram like a Facebook album. THEY’RE NOT THE SAME THING. And if you want to upload all of pictures for something fun like Chatbooks, make a new, private account that no one has to scroll through then just pick one or two favs for the public, follower account. I’m serious. We don’t want to see all your vacation pictures on Instagram. Stop it.) You can also use Chatbooks through Facebook so you don’t have to have an IG account at all. I print a 6×6 book after every trip and it becomes a scrapbook of our adventure we can grab off the shelf anytime we want to reminisce. If you use this link, you’ll get your first book free and I’ll earn $5 toward my next one which is a win-win in my book.
What about you? What’s on your must-have travel list? Anything you can’t live without that the rest of the class needs to know?
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