Roadtrippin’ with Oscar
In this summer’s unusual and unstable climate, many people are opting for safe, short road trips rather than extravagant, long distance vacations.
Having traveled for business for many years, I’ve picked up a few, nifty habits along the way that have turned my travels from monotonous to memorable. Here are a few:
- Pack light. If you think you need it, you don’t. A semi-formal dress for dinner. Seriously? Where are you eating? Dairy Queen. Get real: It’s a vacation.
- Eat local. Although Dairy Queen is the official stop sign of Texas, consider hunting down a local diner. If you’ve seen me lately, you know I’ve been eating at some of those Texas diners, enjoying chicken fried steak and iced tea. My weight proves that I know what I’m talking about! And don’t forget to ask for a wine list and the chef’s specialty. If it’s not on the menu, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not available. Go ahead and ask.
- Plan as little as possible. Of course, you’ll want to hit your destination highlights but remember, the road along the way is chock full of hidden nuggets. The Snake Farm between San Antonio and New Braunfels, TX and the Billy the Kid Museum in Hamilton, Texas are just a couple of examples of cool places to stop. It’s your time – enjoy it!
- Take photos of you and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger for help (unless you suspect they may try to run away with your phone or camera). These moments are too few and far between. Record them.
- Make a note of your destination address. Not only to let friends and family know where you’ll be, but it’s a time saver while driving. Enter it into your map app and you’ll always have the answer to, “are we almost there yet?”
- Don’t use a debit card for purchases. Debit cards are the easiest target for thieves. Worse yet, once you report it stolen, your bank cash is frozen until a new card is activated. Use credit cards instead. If lost or stolen, you can always dispute any fraudulent charges. Your cash is still available to use for the remainder of the trip.
- Hotel, motel, condo, or Airbnb? There are many pros and cons for each. Do the math to determine which fits your budget. Keep in mind the experience you’re looking for and make your choice. Eat a continental breakfast or cook your own in a house? Private or public pool? The choice is yours.
- Stop frequently. Too many times I zoom through communities without giving a thought to the downtown shops and the treasure spilling out of its doors onto weathered porches. If I hadn’t stopped to pick up a Belt Buster Combo at the local Dairy Queen, I would have never discovered the Davy Crockett statue that proudly stands in the City Park of Ozuna, Texas. I encourage you to stop at a local burger joint and discover the town during this break.
Enjoy these tips! I hope you put them into practice, A LOT. Most of all enjoy the open road and stay safe. And beware: Those rattlesnake signs at the rest stops are for real!