My best friend Keri and I have been talking about planning a West Coast Road Trip for over a year and we’re so excited it is actually happening!
Keri and I met in college and became fast friends. Both of us are singers/performers but we also have insatiable desires to explore the world and eat delicious healthy food. After we graduated, we took our first road trip together on the East Coast. It was such a blast that we knew we wanted to do it again, bigger and better!
For the past few years I have been in New York pursuing my creative dreams in Theater while Keri has been all the way across the country in San Francisco pursuing hers in Opera. This summer she is moving back to the east coast. But before she leaves we decided it would be amazing to travel the west and then fly back to the city together.
Planning such a big trip can certainly be intimidating. Especially because our plans include camping in National Parks which is totally new to us! So with our busy schedules and bi-coastal living situations, how did we go about planning our trip? Here are my tips and tricks for planning a road trip with your best friend.
I’ll be updating you all about our trip in future posts. Stay Tuned!
1. Plan Ahead
Booking flights, rental cars, and lodging ahead of time is KEY especially when you are traveling on a budget. We started our trip planning in December of 2016 and our trip will be taking place at the end of May 2017. One of the essential reasons we started ahead of time, other than to save money on flights and lodging, was the National Park campsites fill up MONTHS to a YEAR in advance. Wild!
2. Decide on a Route
The first step! Right away, turn your dreams in to a reality by sharing with each other where you want to go. Things to take in to consideration of course are the overall time you want to spend on the trip, your interests and possibly where you may have some connections. It’s best to start with where you will begin the trip and where you want the final destination to be. For us, we are starting in San Francisco and will be ending in Las Vegas. We will be leaving the rental car at the airport and flying to New York from Nevada. Then you can space out your long days of driving with stops along the way! We used Google Maps to lay it all out, but there are a number of websites that specialize in more detailed Road Trip map making as well.
3. Use AirBnB
We’re young artists. Or in other words, we’re on a budget! So instead of paying a ton of $$$ for hotels, we’re looking forward to having a fun and enlightening travel experience by staying with people using AirBnB. Not only are AirBnB accommodations super affordable, most offer free wifi and laundry! Some even have pools or jacuzzis and offer breakfast in the morning. People leave great, detailed reviews for hosts so it was easy to find clean and safe places! Hopefully we’ll get to hear the local perspective on places to explore along the way.
3. Create a Pinterest Board
The two of us LOVE Pinterest. We use it to cultivated all sorts of inspiration, but it is especially useful for our road trip. We created a collaborative board that both of us could save great ideas to. Not only does it help us get excited by seeing beautiful photos of places we will see along the way, we have also pinned a great deal of helpful tips from other travelers.
2. Create a Google Doc. Itinerary
With Google Docs you can create an Itinerary that can be edited by both of you at any time anywhere, and there’s even an app for viewing and making changes on the go! We found this super useful to document all of our travel info including flights, accommodations, and expenses. You can even color-code everything for easy reading. You can share the doc using a view-only link so family members and friends can be involved. I’ll be sharing a map and our full itinerary in a future post! 🙂
3. Make a Google Sheets Packing List
Similar to the benefits of Google Docs, Google Sheets is an easy way to create a collaborative spreadsheet which is especially useful for packing lists! Like I mentioned above, we are both new to camping – so this is helpful for us to make a checklist of all the essentials we need from tank tops to bear spray…hooray Yellowstone! We also included links to things we need to buy on Amazon. Because I’ll be joining Keri out it Cali, we’re having those things shipped to her.
4. One Person Pays, the other uses Venmo
When purchasing tickets and the rental car as well as for booking our accommodations, we found it easiest to elect one of us (me!) to be in charge of the booking. This way I would receive all of the confirmations to my email box and it wouldn’t be spread out between the two of us. Because we’re splitting pretty much everything, I would request from Keri half the total cost of each item using Venmo and I’d transfer it right back to my bank account.
5. Create a Folder in Gmail
On a big road trip there is a lot of booking to be done! Tickets, accommodations, flights, rental car, etc. and it can all be pretty overwhelming. If you’re busy like me – your email box is filled every day with random notes and things can get lost easily without some organization. The best thing to do is create a folder, mine is called “West Coast Road Trip” that you can easily sort related mail in to. This way while we’re traveling, no time will be waisted sitting and searching!
6. Create Spotify Playlists
The magic of Spotify is not only can we create collaborative playlists for those long car rides, when it’s time to get on the road we can download them so it doesn’t use up all of our data! MAGIC.
7. Get Excited Together!
That’s it! It’s your best friend and you’re going on an adventure of a lifetime! You’ve planned it, you’re packed and now it’s now you’re ready to venture fourth and see the unseen.
Make sure you have all of your camera gear, extra chargers and a journal (I’ll be sharing my full packing list soon!).
We’re so excited to share our West Coast Road Trip with you. Subscribe to my mailing list for updates, you won’t want to miss a thing!
Keep it Busy,