After my daughter graduated from college last year, she accepted a one-year internship in Washington State which led to the trip of a lifetime.
This move was about as far from home as she could go without leaving the contiguous United States. She decided to accept the position which meant that I would drive with her from Georgia to Washington in what ended up being an eleven-day trip. With her car loaded down, we set out with two things in mind: 1) To make it to Washington safely and 2) to see everything we could possibly see along the way. We were able to accomplish both.
We left Georgia and traveled through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Canada and finally Washington. Throughout our 3,000 plus mile adventure, we saw unforgettable sights and scenery, had amazing food, and excellent accommodations.
We planned to spend the first part of our trip driving with a few pit-stops along the way so we could spend most of our time in South Dakota, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park. I don’t like surprises so I spent a lot of time researching the areas and reading reviews while planning our driving time, sightseeing and lodging.
Here are a few tips when researching for trips:
- Travel times: Web tools like Google Maps make it easy to plan travel times. I factored in time for food and bathroom breaks along the way and was very happy to stay on schedule. I was a little nervous to make hotel reservations ahead of time in case we couldn’t make it as far as I thought, but our timing was right on schedule.
- Things to do: We knew our key travel destinations but also used local and state tourist/visitors websites helped us to fill in the gaps and make the most of our trip.
- Food: Reading restaurant reviews is helpful when visiting a new place. I love to try to find the place where the locals eat.
- Accommodations: When booking hotel accommodations I researched locations, reviews, and amenities. While traveling alone with my daughter I wanted to be sure we stayed in safe areas. Reading reviews and looking at what else was in the area gave me an idea of exactly what we were getting.
- Pricing: When planning our trip I had an idea of pricing for hotels, area restaurants, local attractions and any added fees like tolls or parking.
Some of the resources I used for research were:
- https://www.tripadvisor.com (Great for reviews of lodging, restaurants, and attractions)
- https://www.visitkc.com (Kansas City)
- http://www.unionstation.org (Union Station)
- https://www.nps.gov/badl (Badlands National Park)
- https://www.nps.gov/moru (Mount Rushmore)
- https://www.nps.gov/yell (Yellowstone National Park)
- https://www.nps.gov/grte (Grand Teton National Park)
- https://www.nps.gov/glac (Glacier National Park)
- https://www.travelsouthdakota.com (South Dakota Tourism)
- http://www.visitmt.com (Montana Tourism)
- https://www.travelwyoming.com (Wyoming Tourism)
With the help of these sites, we were able to keep our schedule and see everything we wanted to see and more.