Our travels have taken us from Florida to northern Minnesota in 16 years of marriage. Each experience has enriched our lives and we learn more about our great country and the people in it. One thing we have learned is, “Every town has its story” and part of the fun is learning what those stories are. We have met people who’s ancestors has lived in these towns for many generations and have told us of their ancestors having a large part in their community’s founding.
Most of our travels have been in Wisconsin due to time restraints but we don’t feel limited by that. There is so much to see and do here! In our 15 years of marriage, we have developed a list of tips to make our trips successful and nearly free of frustration. For all trips with enough advance notice, I contact the area’s Chamber of Commerce to send us a publication. If the trip is planned less than a week in advance, we make sure we get to the chamber when we are in town. We learn a lot from talking to the staff who work there too, so go in if they are open.
If you happen to be traveling further afield and may need to rent a vehicle at your destination, I recommend Turo. Check out the airport car rentals at your airport. More are added frequently so check often for updates.
One Week (or More) Out
Research where you are going. I keep a stenographer pad on a clipboard and make a page for the town we are going to. We make a list of points of interest and try to find them in advance, getting addresses. I look for historical markers in the area that we are visiting at this site:
Check your own state for similar sites. A state’s Historical Society is a great resource. In addition, I look for a town’s Historical Society (if any) and check for buildings of interest.
Day of Trip
Choose clothes suitable for weather
Many of our adventures are outside all day, especially in summer. We dress for sun protection and comfort. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, I especially like Columbia hikers. Moisture-wicking socks (not cotton) go a long way in helping your feet feel good all day. The shirts we wear are also non-cotton. Gander Mountain and Travel Smith have great shirts that protect us from the sun. We have often found such shirts at thrift stores for a greatly reduced price. We also wear hats with brims going all the way around and a bandana around our neck to prevent sunburn. Also sunscreen and sunglasses of course. For people who need to wear glasses at all times, bring a spare pair in case of breakage. It is also good to carry a spare set of clothes if you get wet or dirty.
Be sure to tell family and friends where you are going and when you expect to be back. Also leave them numbers to contact you in case of emergency and have them do the same. Plan for delays, it is hard to be precise even with a timetable mapped out.
1. Food – Pack a lunch or snacks, you WILL get hungry, sometimes when you are not near a restaurant or gas station.
2. Water – Bring refillable cups that fit in your vehicle’s cup holders and a gallon insulated water jug with more. You won’t always be near drinking water on your travels at all times. When we hike, we wear a Camelbak Hydration System filled with plenty of water for our hikes.
3. Garmin and road maps (if the Garmin fails) – Our Garmin nüvi has been ESSENTIAL for helping us plan our trips, as well as Google or Bing online maps for planning routes. We can even input addresses in advance on the Garmin to save time on the road. You save a lot of money and time by not getting lost.
4. Road Emergency Kit – Spare tire, First Aid Kit, blanket, winter wear, tire jack, flares and emergency flashing lights, flashlight, crank radio, hand warmers, etc. for winter travel, also include a small shovel and cat litter to give tires traction in snow if you get stuck.
5. Stand-alone portable device charger – Both vehicle-powered and not. Don’t be caught with a dead phone when you need it the most. We recently acquired some solar powered chargers too.
6. Camera – An important part of your trip, it pays to invest in a quality camera. My primary camera is a Canon Powershot SX500 IS, 16 MP. I have had it for two years. I saved over $50 on the camera on a sale just before Thanksgiving. Get plenty of extra batteries, I have six. Also have a lens-cleaning cloth handy in your camera bag. Also invest in an inexpensive tripod for a great self-portrait or when you need the camera to be rock-steady.
All these tips have helped us to have stress-free adventures and we go home with many great memories to share. Happy travels!