How to take a surprise trip

Hey there!

Welcome to my corner of the web..head on over to my about me to learn more about myself and what this blog is all about!  Today I’m going to share with you about my most recent road trip adventure.

2012 is the year of big travel for me! It’s actually the main reason behind my starting this very blog, because I want to share with you as I head from Ohio over to Alaska, Michigan, and Australia over the next few months!!

I’ve been preparing and planning for my trips (but still have lots to do!), but this one was a bit less thought least on my part.

On Thursday night I got home after a day of work and a staff meeting and threw things in a bag and set my alarm for 4:44 am so I could prepare some healthy meals and snacks in the morning before heading to Chicago for a surprise! sounds crazy. But I figured I had to seize the opportunity and go with the theme of adventure in my life. You see, my boyfriend Mo and our friend Gabe had been busy biking all the way from Cleveland and planned to arrive in Chicago on day 5, Friday for a weekend of seeing the city! These incredible guys not only biked over 400 miles to get there, but did so in the name of raising money for a local non-profit in Southeastern Ohio through selling awesome t-shirts (that my talented and lovely friend Chloe designed!) and asking for donations online. They call themselves “Rewarding Rides” and have the motto of ‘do something nice for someone, today and everyday’. Aren’t they awesome!?

But anyways.. thanks to my incredible co-workers I was able to take a day off work (I work at a daycare in the summer) and headed to the Windy City to surprise the guys at the end of their ride!

So..without further tips on what to do when taking a last minute road trip:

1. Think about the weather and plan accordingly.

Um…yeah, I didn’t actually believe it could get below 90 degrees ever again because it was so hot all week. We (Mo’s sister and boyfriend and I) got to Chicago and the heavens opened up for a torrential downpour not long after. Good thing I remembered my umbrella!! Also good thing it warmed back up quickly, because I packed nothing but sundresses and shorts/tank tops.

Colin attempting to fill up his water bottle out the car window during the storm

2. When packing, think about what you’ll be doing when you get there.

I knew we would want to spend our days seeing as much of the city as possible, so I packed some good walking shoes and sunscreen, as well as layers like a lightweight sweater good for going between sweltering heat and blasting air-conditioning.

3. Pack some meals and snacks for the ride and trip.

I have some stomach issues which have led me to a more restricted diet than most. I also just simply enjoy packing healthy and delicious foods so I know I will have some fresh foods along the way, and to save some money for other fun things! For this trip I packed a smoothie for breakfast on the way there, two salads, a few packages of oatmeal, and containers of fresh fruit and veggies/hummus. I also brought some chips, trail mix, and other random goodies (like a 12 pack of beer for the guys..I figured they earned it!)

4. Grab some cash before you leave.

Especially when car pooling, it’s nice to have a variety of bills to be able to share costs on things like gas and tolls, rather than mumbling something about only having your card and never paying them back. It’s also good if you need small bills for public transportation, taxis, parking garages/meters, and tips.

5. Go to the library.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely have 6 hours to spend sitting and doing very little..perfect time to read a good book I say! If you get car sick then ignore this one..but spend the time doing something leisurely you don’t usually get to do (unless you’re driving, silly)

6. Look up some reviews or talk to a local.

My friend Gabe is a vegetarian so I knew I could convince the guys to try a vegetarian restaurant while we visited, which is something I don’t generally suggest to my carnivorous boyfriend! I am not strictly vegetarian, but tend to eat a plant-based diet so these type of restaurants appeal to me. Whatever your interest is in, look it up and read some reviews.. you may discover a gem you wouldn’t have otherwise found! I also talked with my brother who used to live in Chicago, and he helped me figure out public transportation and gave some suggestions for where to go which came in handy for sure!


7. Don’t plan too much.

First of all, I only knew I was coming about two days prior to this trip, and then was home for about 2 waking hours during those planning wasn’t happening! I also knew the biking boys would be exhausted, so I thought of a few things I really wanted to do/see and figured we would play it by ear. This worked out well because we enjoyed our time, got to see plenty of things, but didn’t feel disappointed by not fitting everything in to our small time frame.

8. Just do the damn thang!

Pardon my French, but don’t let yourself get caught up in the stress of planning, packing, traveling, etc and just enjoy the experience. This is something I really tried to focus on with my impromptu trip and hope to continue doing so on my upcoming adventures. I really am so grateful I was able to experience the city for a weekend with people that I love, and that’s the whole point. Try to tear yourself away from texting/facebook/twitter/instagram/blogging as much as possible in the moments you have on your trip. You can do it all later!

Alright well those are my tips from my first random road trip, I hope they are helpful!! If you have any more you want to add please feel free in the comments section below.

Where have you traveled on a random/surprise trip? or, Do you like to plan everything out or be more spur of the moment with your travels?