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Things I Learned on My Road Trip

fort-benning

Oh, what an interesting weekend I had! I drove down to Ft. Benning, Georgia on Friday to visit my cousin in basic training and got back late last night. I’m completely exhausted – it’s an 8-hour drive and I drove it on Friday AND Sunday, with plenty of running around in-between. So here’s a short one for a change!

Things I Learned on My Road Trip

My refusal to use GPS is a good thing. I hate GPS. I think it turns people into mindless drones who can’t get anywhere without a little box telling them when to turn. Instead, I pull up directions from Google Maps on my phone, take screenshots (in case I need them and don’t have service), print them out (in case my phone dies), and actually pay attention to where I’m going. My grandfather, on the other hand, spent the entire trip doing U-turns and cutting off other vehicles because his GPS was acting stupid.

It’s possible to go on a trip without shopping. This was one of the few times I’ve been out of town since I decided to stop overspending. Other than gas and food, I bought a pair of shoes for my son (that I planned to buy anyway) and two pairs of flip flops (2 for $5). That’s it. No souvenirs, no clothes, no nothing. And it’s nice not to come home with a ton more stuff than I had when I left.

I love my car. My Toyota Yaris gets about 42 mpg. I drove over 1000 miles and spent just over $100 on gas. Yes, an SUV might have been slightly more comfortable for 3 women with way too much luggage for one weekend, but the gas receipts don’t lie. My parents can’t even fill up their SUV once for under $100 anymore.

I’m getting old. Seriously. A few years ago, I could make a trip like that without a second thought. Friday night, I crashed for nearly 12 hours after spending all day in the car. AND took a 2-hour nap on Saturday. I won’t even talk about how painful it was to get up this morning. I honestly considered calling Jayden in sick to school so I could sleep more. And now my emails are out of control because I’m so off track from traveling.

That’s all from me for today – I may have to take a nap! Anyone have other educational moments from road trips? 

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web designer and single mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!

Comments

  1. I have a GPS but I haven't used it in years. It never correctly took me to where I needed to be, and now they want over $100 to update the maps.

    • I think I gave up on my GPS device when I found out I had to pay for updates. No thanks. I'll just use Google maps and my cellphone. Back in the early 2000sies, I used an old fashioned map. I don't know how I did it, but I was a map reading genius.

  2. I am way too reliant on my GPS. I am definitely a drone and I wish I could pay more attention. It has helped me out A LOT but if I'm traveling to a place for the 2nd or 3rd time I've noticed that I still don't know how to get there without the GPS. If you're just following directions it's hard to really pay attention to where you're going. I've been trying to get better and sometimes I just tell my wife, 'well, we're just going to see where this road takes us.' lol

  3. Things I've learned on road trips:

    1) I really do live in the least expensive city in the world. Everything is way more expensive elsewhere than it is at home, from gasoline to restaurants.

    2) I need to get out more. Traveling is awesome, and there are always some killer places not too far from home. Also, when you drive, getting from one place to another is so incredibly affordable.

    3) I need to use my GPS. Going without is cool…until you miss an exit and add another 20 minutes to your drive home. It's annoying as all get out – and I'm terrible with reading the signs as I blow by them. (Also, I should probably drive closer to the speed limit.)

  4. My GPS usually takes me in the most indirect route possible

  5. what a fun post! Gosh, I remember making 8 hour drives to Minneapolis – the BIG city – to see friends and concerts (I'm from North Dakota) when I was in my early twenties. When I moved to North Carolina, I'd drive about 8 – 10 hours and be soooooooo exhausted, even after sleeping a full night!

    I like to use GPS AND an atlas. I received a GPS as a wedding gift last year, and my husband and I downloaded a Daria voice for it hahaha, she's really mean and randomly says things like, "if I have to hear this song one more time I'm going to bash my forehead onto the dashboard". I love the GPS, but you are right – if you don't pay attention to where you are going, your GPS can make you do really dumb things.

    I have a Volkswagen that gets 30+ miles in town and closer to 40 highway. Everyone who makes fun of me for it sure turns red in the face when we compare gas bills. Also, I never understood buying a bigger car than you need. So many of my friends in ND would have huge trucks or SUV's and they would always say that it is because of the winters and they need 4-wheel drive. Well first of all, you don't need 4-wheel drive – you simply need to know how to drive, and second of all, most of the people who had 4-wheel drive had no idea how to USE it so they spent more to NOT help themselves. I've always had front-wheel drive cars and have only been stuck a few times, all because I drove stupidly and having 4-wheel drive would have made me just as stuck. . . sorry end rant :)

  6. I love road trips and I love having my GPS. I usually plot my course and then input where I am going into my GPS. Maybe I got a good one, but I haven't had any problems.

    Also the GPS I have for my motorcycle is WAAAAY more useful than a just a map, since you can't really read directions while riding on a bike safely. Again, maybe I am lucky, but this thing has come in handy.

    I also like taking my GPS to other countries, especially ones where I don't speak the language well (ie Germany). The GPS was a life saver there since reading street signs was tough enough, let alone asking for directions (thank God my wife speaks fluent German!)

  7. I like my gps on my phone, comes in handy sometimes. When we do go on trips we normally do a printout off of mapquest and I have the wife read the directions off to me when I need to. You ever watch that movie "Idiocracy"? I sometimes think that is what our world is coming to, either that or the machines are going to take over the world like Terminator

  8. thisaggiesaves says:

    I bought my dad a gps for Christmas but he still uses his maps and will call me to google a place if he can't find it.

  9. Gotta disagree on the GPS, Andrea. I looooooooves my GPS! Then again, I always Google Map the route beforehand and make a mental note of landmarks, so I have a general idea of where I'm going. I mostly like the GPS for in case I get lost, and also so I can see what streets are coming up. Anytime I think about someone solely relying on a GPS, I think about that episode of the Office where Michael does exactly what the GPS tells him, and then ends up in the lake. I've never done THAT!

  10. shopping2saving says:

    Hahhaha I'm kind of in the middle between you and your grandfather when it comes to GPS. I like it but it's inevitable that my GPS will make me go the long way or make u-turns when I don't need to. Yet when I print stuff out, the papers fly everywhere or I can't find the street signs fast enough so I make u-turns anyway.

    Hope you had fun! We did the whole 8 hour roadtrip in a weekend a few weeks ago and it was exhausting as hell. We used to be able to do those things when we were in college but now it's such a hassle…

  11. Teinegurl says:

    Even though i lived in Hawaii all my life i still get lost! i'm so directionally challenged ! If you tell me go to such and such street i'm lost but if you tell me go down 3 blocks past the mcdonald's i can find it! GPS was created for people like me but i use my cell phone and i look up the address online before i leave. I used to print it out but then when i have a hard time driving and looking at the maps i printed out.

  12. GPS is great if you are going to be in a metropolitan, or popular tourist area. Those are the ones that get updated with the highest frequency. I remember my parents driving to NO from Ft. Lauderdale and there being roads along the way that weren't on the system in small towns.

    I learned a long time ago that I'm just not meant to be in a car for very long periods of time. I'm so pathetic, I had to stop multiple times on my trips to Orlando and Jacksonville which were only 200 and 300 miles respectively. It's just not for me. If I had to go anyplace far, I'd rather fly early in the morning when I can go back to sleep more easily and avoid the traffic and paying attention. That lesson was learned on a NY to South FL drive alone when I moved down here.

    The best thing I found about driving trips was the little eateries like you find on Diners Drive-ins and Dives. They are so much better than (almost) any national franchise and oftentimes, the food is ridiculously portioned and very reasonable priced.

  13. I am always a google maps girl. I don't really want a gps but I could probably "use" one. I just look up and print out directions instead. I could get lost getting out of a paper bag (sadly this is not an exaggeration but I wish it was) I did do one really long road trip where I took a bus from Central NY to Missouri and it was not fun. I hated it. It did help me limit what I could bring/buy though.

  14. I perfer to use a paper map, but GPS gives you the chance to find spots you think of at the last minute. I have to make one of those 8 hr trips in Aug to go to a family reunion. I can't get off work the Fri before or Monday after, so it will be a quick trip.

  15. I'm not a fan of GPS either, I want to throw it out my mom's window each time it talks. I just print out directions and pay attention.

    Things I've Learned:

    - The drive there is always the best because you're on a mission. Driving back just sucks.

    - If I can keep driving, I need to ignore my husband's requests to stay in a really crappy overpriced motel.

    - California and Texas drivers scare the $hit outta me.

    - If you only consume 5 hour energy drinks on a road trip, you'll have to stop way less for bathroom breaks.

    - My husband will continue to drive whether or not he can actually see. That's about the time we need to switch.

    Glad you had a great trip and didn't buy tons of stuff. :-)

    -Jen

  16. yourlifeforless says:

    I like using the GPS, but it's easy to get so enamored with it that I lose focus on the road. Before any trip, I'll study the route on Google Maps, taking a mental note of the roads I need to take. That way I know what to look for along the way.

    One thing I've learned is that everyone is prejudiced against some other group of drivers. It's always people from another state who don't know how to drive!

  17. I love old school methods. Like actual mail :) I also prefer map reading over gps. They are some things about technology that I prefer over the old school, for example, online bill pay over standing in a line. It's a give and take for me.

    I really want to take a real road trip. It wouldn't take me 2 hours to cover my entire island. I wonder how an 8 hour drive feels.

  18. I hope you can get some rest today and feel better by the end of the week! These are some very great lessons from a road trip – I particularly like that you chose not to overspend on this trip. What a great inspiration! I'm going on a short road trip next weekend (not nearly 8 hours!) and I think I may use some of these tips on my own travels :)

  19. I do my directions for trips the same way. You can never be too prepared when in unfamiliar surroundings. Sounds like you had a great time, thanks for the great content as usual.

  20. I seriously love the little gas-sipping Yaris, and I'm with you on the issue of maps. Who wants to look at a 2" square screen when you can unfold a map (maybe an old-fashioned one) and get the big picture?

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