In early January, after being home for the holidays, I had to make my journey back to Alabama to start working with my residential chapter at the University of Alabama Birmingham and focus chapter at Spring Hill College. While I was home for the holidays I did a ‘big kid’ thing and bought a new car! So me and my new Malibu had to get back to Alabama somehow and we decided that, instead of shipping the car and me taking a flight, I would make a road trip from Las Vegas, NV to Birmingham, AL. Twenty-seven hours and a seven-state stretch, we somehow survived the long journey. I’m here to share my six tips to surviving a long road trip cross-country!
1. Have a travel buddy
My dad was my travel buddy. He took a few days off work to be able to make the trip with me so that we could switch off driving and have some company along the way. Not only was it nice to have my dad during the car ride but also I was excited to get to Birmingham to show him around the city.
2. Pack sandwiches
To save money, we made PB&J sandwiches and a few turkey sandwiches and kept them in a cooler bag in the back. The sandwiches were a tasty snack to hold us over before we could find a place to stop for dinner. When driving through some states we would go miles and miles before finding a rest stop that had lunch spots. Our homemade sandwiches saved us money and time, and I had fun making them all with my mom before I left!
3. Bring a new book to read
I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of reading. It’s just not my cup of tea. However, I do like to do a little reading when I am traveling because it helps pass the time. For this trip, I didn’t bring a novel to read, I brought a cookbook! For Christmas, Santa brought me a Pioneer Women Cook Book. Since I have been living away from home I have really gotten into cooking and baking and trying new things. The cookbook is filled with easy lunch and dinner ideas and new ways to cook popular dishes. During the road trip, I read off different recipes to my dad and we picked which ones we liked best and what I would try when I got back to my apartment in Birmingham.
4. Have something to look forward to mid-trip
Thirteen-and-a-half-hour long days of driving is pretty exhausting. The time seemed to go by slower and slower, and the scenery wasn’t all that exciting. Besides counting down the miles until we reached our destination, we precisely planned out where our resting stop would be. Our half-way stopping point was Amarillo, TX. Amarillo is home to the Big Texan. It is a huge steakhouse that is famous for its 72-ounce steak challenge! My dad and I were looking forward to stopping in Texas to be able to eat dinner at The Big Texan. When we arrived, it didn’t disappoint. Entrees came with rolls, salad, two sides and a 20-ounce steak. The food was delicious and I definitely recommend checking it out if you ever are in Amarillo.
5. Fuzzy socks!
Fuzzy socks might sound like a random travel tip but it is one of my must-pack items when I am preparing for a trip. For a long car ride, I don’t like to keep my shoes on – they are simply uncomfortable. But fuzzy socks are so comfy and homey! They will keep your feet warm all trip and make you feel like you are just sitting at home relaxing. To me, putting on my fuzzy socks and wrapping up in a blanket is the most relaxing thing. If you are in need of a new pair of fuzzy socks I recommend checking out the socks at Francesca’s. They have tons of cute styles and they’re so comfortable.
6.Bring your own thermal coffee mug
Coffee is a must for trips, epically long car rides when you need to stay awake. I suggest bringing your own thermal coffee mug. Not only will it keep your coffee warm longer but we also found that when we brought our own mug into places to get coffee, they were happy to either fill our cup for free or give us a discount. We not only saved money by having our own mugs but it stayed warm longer and didn’t spill as easily as it could have in a paper cup.
So there you have it! Those are my six tips on how I survived a 27-hour car ride from Las Vegas to Birmingham. The trip was exhausting and the scenery was not very exciting but having my dad with me made it all the better.
– Emily Srok
* Pictured is my dad and I stopping in Oklahoma on day two of the road trip. Not pictured is my mug because McDonalds wouldn’t put an iced coffee in it 🙁