One of the greatest advantages of working virtually is the ability to change scenery whenever the opportunity arises. One day my husband asked me if I wanted to do our cross country trip, in 2 weeks from that conversation. Driving from Southern California to NY/DC and back to Southern California has been a goal of mine, I was ALL about the opportunity.
Back to the timeline. I had 2 weeks to prepare.
#1: Make preparations. I scheduled all in-person client meetings, made sure the team was set-up. Wrapped up any major projects which may require printing. (The lovely thing about 2015 is printing on the road is 100% doable).
- Download a couple great audiobooks. For this trip we listened to David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Sales and Customer Service. The road is a great place to ‘read’ a book and get some innovative ideas going.
- Make an ‘available offline’ playlist or two on Spotify. (You’ll have plenty of time to make new ones)
- On the road wifi/4G goes in and out periodically. Don’t depend on it 24/7. For the most part we had a connection.
- Buy supplies:
- Cooler, a small cooler that you can refill every day and easily fit in the back seat of your car/truck.
- Book your hotels. You might want to be super spontaneous, and that’s fine and all. But you don’t want to arrive in a city only to find the better hotels are sold out. I’m not sure about you but I’m not OK with a RED RASH INN (a reference from my Uncle J, via the Simpsons.)
#2: Packing. The most important part of my packing list, was my work electronics and miscellaneous devices. Here we go:
- Electronics/Misc: Laptop, laptop charger (don’t lose this at a random hotel), iPad, iPhone(s), charges, Hero4, charger, portable charger, portable charger charger, USB car charger. A couple of pens, highlighters, one pad of paper. Keep your bags as light as possible.
- Aside from your electronics you have the obvious clothes and toiletries.
- *TIP* Just because you’re traveling in a car DO NOT pack carelessly. You’ll find going in and out of hotels will be awful with too much luggage.
#3 Make the route. (This is a simultaneous task to #1 and #2, this involves your road dogs, in this case my husband)
You have a few main choices to drive cross country. Consider the time of year and what you really want to see. For us we chose: Flagstaff, Amarillo, St. Louis, then due to weather we had to change from Pittsburgh to Cambridge, OH, then we arrived in NY. We stayed in NY/DC for the bulk of our time. We have family in both cities. We had a total of two weeks to do the whole trip. The route home was much more rushed. We went from DC to Memphis, Sayre, OK, and back home!
You’ll need to be flexible. This may contradict my statement about prebooking your hotels. We booked through Hotels.com and as silver members they take care of last minute cancellations for us due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Towards the end of our trip we booked a hotel with very odd policies. I didn’t notice until I had already paid. Hotels.com got us out of the room. They’re awesome.
#4 Determine your work level. Is this a working vacation? Or is this a vacation. There is a difference. During vacations I like to stay clear of phones, email, internet. During working vacations I’m very much still on the clock. Determine how much you want to do on the road, and maybe set some time to do some innovation and brainstorming for your business.
#5 Stops. Truckstops, gas stations, Cracker Barrel, etc… If you want to eat healthy or have dietary restrictions the road through these great United States may not offer you the best options. You’ll need to pack what you can and plan your route around grocery stores. The stops are part of the fun. Buy random magnets, use the restroom, see the locals. Soak it all in.
#6 Yelp, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com. You’ll find the restaurants, tips, reviews on what to do via your trusted apps.
#7 Working on the road. Up your data plan if you need to. You’ll be using a ton of data while checking email and taking care of business. Spare your battery if needed. If you don’t have a laptop compatible phone charger you’ll need to preserve battery. Your driving routes could keep you on the road for 10-18 hours depending on your plan. Time zones will become an issue so if you have any conference calls make sure you have planned accordingly.
#8 Sleepovers. This is specifically for the roadies who aren’t in too big of hurry. Give yourself enough time to rest. Get your 6-9 hours of sleep. Driving and sitting shotgun can be more exhausting than it sounds.
#9 Plan your visits. Unless you’re on the road for 6+ weeks you aren’t going to see everything. You’ll see some awesome sights, but you can visit every monument, museum, historical landmark, etc… The most important part of this trip is the journey, tranquility, and adventure of the road.
Road trips are not for everyone. This is for the population of people who love being on the open road, staring at the sky and random U.S. horizons. This is for you and me. My husband and I love the road. We’ll be the retired couple in the RV for sure.
Last but not least, ENJOY – this trip is amazing. My husband is a great partner. Talk, sit in silence, listen to tunes, listen to an audiobook, whatever you do – Enjoy.
If you have questions comment below. Thank you for letting me share a portion of my trip with you.
Founder & Owner of The ANROMA Group – SocializeLA.com
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