Come along with my daughter and I as we navigate our country’s highways and byways – circumnavigating the entire U.S. Let’s hope we accomplish every one of our goals…to successfully plan and execute a 50-day road trip, to widen one sheltered teenage mind, to deepen one mother-daughter bond, and to ask women we meet along the way “What retro advice would you give your teenage self?”.
It’s time to start planning our Retro Advice road trip! To prevent overwhelm, I’ll just follow the advice I give my kids when they are assigned a massive school project — start with what you know, break it into parts, tackle one part at a time, and pace yourself to allow for breathers in between parts.
Here’s what I know (so far)…
- One young-at-heart middle-aged mom and her almost-teenage girl;
- 50 days;
- One turbo Mini-Cooper Clubman;
- One ton of luggage (including, but not limited to, a mix of healthy and nutrition-less snacks, at least 20 pounds of beauty products, two iPods, two laptops, and enough clothes and shoes to stock a small boutique store);
- A San Diego launch, a southerly route until we hit the Atlantic, a relaxing meander up the East Coast; a left turn toward the Pacific Northwest, and a return home on a well worn path down the West Coast;
- And, one probing question to ask women we encounter along the way!
Being a hyper-organizer, I already knew the first “part”. I needed an online hub that would function as my virtual trip binder. “Inside” would be our itinerary, contact information for all accommodations, details on scheduled and optional activities, a “To Do” list, notes, and maps.
This is one of those moments when I shake my head and wonder – “What the heck did we do before the internet???” Within 30 minutes, I had exactly what I needed…
Google is the icing on the cake of the internet. I typed in “road trip planner” and was directed to the source…an article entitled “The Web’s Top Automated Road Trip Planning Programs” published by Road Trip America. (Other search results either provided limited or outdated information or quoted this article.) In the article, six online programs were reviewed and rated ‘” AAA TripTik, Yahoo! Trip Planner, Rand McNally, Mapquest, TravMatix, and Plan-Your-Trip. I’ve learned that 3 stars translates to inconsistent and anything less than 2 stars is just asking for frustration, Only AAA TripTik (4+ out of 5 stars) and Yahoo! Trip Planner (4 stars) seemed worthy of further investigation.
Although the article stated that AAA TripTik was free of charge, at the time I visited the site, it was only “free” to AAA members who paid their $48 annual dues and a $20 “admission fee”. Being a semi-professional internet mooch (who already has auto service), I tested out Yahoo! Trip Planner and found that it had all the features I needed…
- The ability to share our itinerary via email or a public link;
- Customizable itinerary items (i.e., city, hotel, restaurant, activity, and more);
- A “Note” section for listing tasks, reminders or any other relevant information regarding each destination;
- Accurate maps indicating our route and all planned stops; and,
- Links to travel guides and personal blogs/reviews for each destination;
- And, best of all…it was free. Sold!
Part 1 – Check! Part 2 – Hostels. In order to stretch our budget as far as possible, we would be staying at hostels as many nights as possible…much to my royal daughter’s chagrin. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy this “mind expansion” thing quite a bit…and, possibly reap some significant long-term rewards.
Click >>> HERE to read the advice gathered on this trip on the Retro Advice blog!