There’s An App For That

To Help Your Travels

Apps that make your Road Trip a Bit More Smooth

Most people nowadays have a smartphone. Whether you side with Android or iPhone, everyone has apps that they like and use everyday. Having technology so easily at your fingertips provides the ability to organize and plan out an efficient, cost-effective trip. Through a bit of searching, I’ve created this list of my favorite apps that we utilized throughout the trip and since we have arrived.

Gas Buddy gbuddy1

  • My favorite app of all and here is why:
    • Trip Cost Calculator: I planned all my gas stops via their website BEFORE leaving. (Although we didn’t stick exactly to the stops, it was very insightful to see which cities were cheaper- or the entire state of Iowa) It was also convenient to get a ballpark of total gas price for the drive.

Find Gas Near Me: If we weren’t using the route given, the homepage of the app uses GPS to see all gas stations around you with their prices in a list. If you’re on the highway and don’t want to go far from the main road, there is a “Map” option (instead of “List”) at the top to see all the gas stations down the route your headed.

Google Maps

  • If you have an iPhone, download this app instead.
  • It is constantly reevaluating the best route to where you are going, considering traffic, etc. If there is an accident, it’ll show you (BEFORE it’s too late) a route that may save you 5 minutes.

Road Trippers

  • Great for finding food, parks, hotels, and fun stops along the way
  • You can plan your trip (From A to B) and see what is in 0-50 miles from your planned route
  • Add points and have your entire trip routed on a visible map that links to contact info and websites.
  • Searchable Options Include:
    • Accommodation
    • Attractions & Culture
    • Food & Drink
    • Nature
    • Points of Interest
    • Camping & RV
    • Entertainment & Nightlife
    • Services
    • Shopping
    • Sports
    • Scenic  Drives

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 3.33.14 PM

  • Maps Engines Lite (Google)
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Things BEFORE the Big Trip

Emergencies, Conveniences, & Under the Hood

Before heading out on any long distance trip, there are a few things that might come in handy if you equip your car with.

Covering All The Bases

  • Umbrella: Unless you’re headed to the dessert, a large and purse sized umbrella will come in handy
  • Snow Brush: Not for everyone, but as I head into the rocky mountains, something tell’s me my car sitting in the uncovered, open parking lot in December might need some attention
  • Maps: Technology is great, but its always good to have a map just in case of emergency (car dies, lack of phone signal)
  • Flashlight
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Blankets
  • Mace
  • Tool Kit

    Under The Hood

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  • Oil Change: Our drive was 1,355 miles. My car needs oil roughly every 3-4,000. Do it before so you don’t have to worry about it.
  • Car Tune Up: if you take your car to NTB for an oil change, they’ll take care of a full car check for you
  • Fluids
  • Check Your Tires

Tetris 2.0: Packing for Your Move

 Welcome to the ultimate challenge! 

A game of puzzles, patience, and strategy

Trying to fit everything in your car safely and efficiently can take some time. It took us 3 moves to get it down to a science, but I think we figured out the most effective ways to get the job done.

IMPORTANT: When packing your car for long distance, it is crucial you distribute the weight of your luggage somewhat evenly throughout your car. (If the car is “back end” heavy and it rains, you lose a great deal of traction on your front tires)

Before Loading Up:

  • Everything must be in a bag, box, or container. Having loose items is never a good idea.
  • Containers are your new BFF’s. Seriously. These rectangular beauties will make your game of tetris all that much easier, along with your suitcases.
  • Set everything in one area to get a REAL idea of what everything you need is
  • CLEAN YOUR CAR: GET ALL THE JUNK, TRASH, & STAINS OUT. No excuses.

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Getting Started:

  • Begin with the biggest, squarest things and work smaller
  • Lay them across the bottom (don’t forget- distributing weight is good, so don’t just stack all your heavy containers above each other
  • TIP: Make sure there is room behind the driver and passenger seats. (Reclining for sleep, driver chair adjustment, etc.)

Nearing the End:

  • The final objects you still need to fit (things like backpacks and makeup/shaving kits) are great to fit into the little space between the containers. They are both safe and stabilize the surrounding objects from moving while driving.
  • Long distance drivers should TRY and make their rear view mirror visible.

They’re Out of This World

cartop

cartoppacked

 

So I would just slip this into my other tips of packing, but once you see these photos, you will understand.

Space Bags are the bomb. Why? Because you pretty much DOUBLE your clothing space for packing. (And trust me, I didn’t believe the cheesy infomercials either.) Kyle and I got a car top carrier that literally went from being full from a few winter coats and blankets, to transporting the majority of condensable clothing.

TIP: We did originally try backing them into out suitcases, but found it much more advantageous to save those for the nice clothing. With the majority of our clothes over top, much of the trunk space opened up.

spacebags1 final1

Picking & Choosing

Rules to Ditch By

I’ll admit, I have an act for not getting rid of anything. I love all my clothes, every little pot and craft I’ve had since I was 7 and still have books from my 8th grade English Class. Unfortunately, when it comes to a long distance move, it’s time to let go of those things you’ve held onto so dearly. (Yes, I’m talking about your 80s shredded and bleached jeans) During my purge, I made a few simple rules to help me get rid of the junk.

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Here They Are:

  1. Clothes
    • If you haven’t worn it in over 2 years, say goodbye
    • Any stains that you think “aren’t noticeable”
  2. Books
    • Valuable Satin/Leather bounds- KEEP
    • Anything you haven’t read (and probably won’t again) in over 5 years
  3. Nik Naks
    • Allow a few (5 tops) personal items to help your next place feel more homey.
    • The Rest: Storage or Sell
  4. Jewelry
    • You know the fashionable necklaces you wear (Since they don’t take up THAT much room, it’s not a big deal, but be realistic- I’ve learned that I wear a bigger variety of my necklaces when I have less because it’s easier to search through them and match in the morning)
    • Donate the rest to Goodwill.

Pretending to be Snow White

If It’s Not Clean, You Can’t Get Mean

If you do it right, you’ll get back your safety deposit with delight

Before making the big move, you must get out of your current living situation.  Procrastination is not an option. Before starting somewhere new, you must move out from the old. Outside of packing up every last thing from your shnazy old apartment, you have to clean and make the place presentable to avoid any pesky waves from your deposit. After quite a few moves, there are some products NEEDED to successfully make this happen.

The Almighty Cleaning Products:

Before You Clean

Everything must go.

Spend one day moving out all furniture, while leaving an additional 2-4 hours (depending on how messy you are) to get everything together.

The Process

Kitchen:

1. Once you’ve cleaned out all the cabinets, fridge, and counter tops, begin with some paper towel across the counters to sweep off any loose garbage (like my boyfriends mass amount of messy coffee grinds from his morning cup).

2. Spray the Scrubbing Bubbles Cleaner over all counter tops, and wipe down.

3. If you have dirty cabinets, Clorox Wipes are your savior (as well as being a great final touch up product).

DirtyEditcleanEdit

The Beginning

Let Me Start With a Warning:

I’m a novice travel who is possibly a hoarder.

With that said, I decided to take a journey. I rid myself of more than half my things, compacted what I could into my car, and went off to a new place seeking opportunity, with someone who I know I could trust and would support me. From Ohio to Colorado, we adventure to the foothills of the mountains, to see what the midwest has to offer. I’m here to document our experiences, tips, and mishaps to learn how to really be an efficient traveler and look back on this eye opening experience.