Lessons I Learned Driving Across Country

I recently traveled across country from California to Florida by car. I logged in 37 hours of driving, eight states and uncountable trips to road-side bathrooms...

It took me 5 days and I learned a lot about road trips along the way that I would love to share with you for your next Griswold adventure!


I drove major highways and realized that there is no healthy food along these road ways. There are many, many, MANY fast food places right off the road, but healthy food choices are almost impossible to find. Even in major cities, I had to drive significantly off the interstate to find anything other than burgers and fries. 

If you want to eat healthy on your trip, it's best if you pack your own food. Luckily, I had packed a cooler with water, organic berries, bananas, apples, nuts, dried fruit, organic beef jerky, peanut butter, milks and more. I chose aseptic packaged milk so it didn’t need refrigeration which was a good idea since my ice packs melted rather quickly in the 113 degree heat in Arizona!

I also noticed that most hotels that we stayed in had refrigerators! I was able to put my freezer packs in there at night and they were ready to go the next day. I also put my waters and fruit in the refrigerator at night in the hotels which helped preserve them throughout the trip. By the end of the trip all of the food we packed was eaten and I didn't have fast food guilt!

The back seat of the car looked like I hadn't cleaned it in years when we got to our destination, but it was definitely worth it. 

And... I made sure to pack my own hand soap. I'm not the only that does that right? Two words - PUBLIC RESTROOMS. I have issues.. I know... 


I was so excited to try out all of my gadgets, my phone maps, GPS, tablet etc. I was ready to go!

I can’t tell you how many times I got lost, couldn’t get my phone to work or ran out of battery life. I heard many times from the back seat that the tablet died and could I plug it in.

That said, power inverters are awesome and a must have! They make sure that tablet doesn't turn off right in the middle of that movie that has kept the back seat passenger happy for the last hour. 

It was great to have all of this wonderful technology, but carry a good old fashion paper map, get the Melissa & Doug USA License Plate game (we found Alaska & Hawaii), pack crayons and activity books and books for the kids, it will keep the melt downs at bay! 

FYI... Triple AAA members can get free maps at one of their offices. 


You don’t have to book reservations, but you might consider calling ahead and making sure that a convention won’t be in town the day you might stay the night in a certain town!

We planned to get to Amarillo and stay the night, but little did we know that a convention was going on that same time and ALL of the hotels were completely booked. If I had called ahead I could have saved time and money for myself. 

We ended up in a really nice suite with a jet tub that my son SWAM in, so it turned out ok, but not frugal!

Also, if you are thinking of staying at a particular hotel, but are not sure about it when you get there, ask to see the room before you book for the night. You can preview the room and say yes or no, if it isn’t what you were hoping for. This may save you from having to keep your shoes on in the shower! Not that I know anything about that or anything on a personal level...


Even with your best planning, you will probably experience those “Griswold” moments. Your child may just vomit in the back seat, making your other child vomit and end up with an unexpected stop to clean up (or so I hear).

You may leave something important in a hotel room and drive 75 minutes before you realize it and have to drive all.the.way.back to get it, losing 3 hours of precious time. Yes, that really happened - ugh. 

You may have to get that gas station sandwich, because you are hungry and there is no where else to eat for hundreds of miles.

You may run out of gas, consult your "find a gas station app" and end up at a hotel because the map swears it was a Chevron!

By the way, gas is the cheapest in Alabama, there is an organic gluten-free Italian restaurant in Flagstaff Arizona worth checking out and Darth Vader lives in Shreveport Louisiana now, he retired and became this paper towel dispenser.

So make sure “Holiday Road” is part of your music for your road trip and enjoy the ride... I hear life is a highway...