10 Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE We Left On a Road Trip

by - March 26, 2015

10 things I wish I knew before leaving on a #roadtrip - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak

Wash the inside of the windshield.  It's a road trip.  You're going to want pictures of the road.  And pictures of the road through a streaky, dirty window just aren't the kind of memory you'll want to hold on to.  I can remember, a few days before we left, saying to myself, 'I really need to make sure I wash that,' and then promptly forgetting about it until I took my first on-the-road shot and thought, 'well, shoot!'

Walmart is more expensive in the US.  Maybe this isn't a fair statement - I don't know about every American Walmart but the one in Bradford, Pennsylvania certainly is.  All I wanted was some fruit and veggies for our snack plan containers but I just couldn't stomach the prices compared to home.  Luckily our complimentary hotel breakfast came with a lot of fruit each day and we happily helped ourselves!

Constantly losing radio stations.  Yes, I know, I'm quite behind the times on this one.  Everybody who's anybody has all their favourite music downloaded to their phone and they make a great playlist and every one is happy.  I have exactly ZERO songs on my phone.  I just haven't got around it to.  Shame on me!  So we were faced with the endless search for a good radio station - only to lose it within the hour. No thank you!  Next time I'll be better prepared.

Don't eat at McDonald's.  Obvious, right?  But the kids think they love it and the dollar menu is actually a dollar menu {once you're out of Canada}.  I had a salad - because ew - but everyone else had a burger and apparently meat just isn't the same...if it's meat at all...?  It's certainly not Canadian beef anyway.

Believing you'll have gorgeous weather doesn't mean you actually will - pack for everything.  For some reason, I thought 'hey, we're going south, we don't need big warm coats and mittens and boots.'  I didn't consider that it would snow on our first night in Pennsylvania and that we'd be walking snowy paths at the Kinzua Bridge or how chilly it would be while we gazed at Niagara Falls on the way home.

Southern hospitality is a real thing.  Canadians have this reputation of being super polite.  I would argue that American's are just as polite...perhaps even more???  I had this crazy idea that we'd cross the border and be faced with a week void of a please or a thank you or a door held open for us.  It's all a lie, people!  We were overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality we were met with along the way.  Of course, there were a few grumpy people scattered through but more than once we commented on how crazy nice everybody was!

Gas station food is not food.  I don't know what it is but it doesn't belong in your body.  THAT HOTDOG IS NOT A HOTDOG - DO NOT PUT IT ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR MOUTH!!!  Trust me.

Bring along containers for beach mementos.  We arrived at the ocean during low tide which meant there was really no end to the amount of sea shells we could collect.  Liam filled his pockets.  Noa filled her purse.  We dumped out a water bottle and filled it with sand so we could bring home our own little miniature beach.  Next time I'll take a bucket or a plastic tub or a jar - anything with a lid - anything that would mean clothes {and then suitcases} and purses don't get full of sand.

GPS is fallible.  Technology is beautiful.  GPS is brilliant.  Until you try to go home and it has you heading from Pennsylvania to Niagara Falls via Montreal.  Montreal!  If we'd trusted it, our second last day would have consisted of an eighteen hour drive instead of six.

Your daughter might look cute in that oversize truckers hat but her face will just be a shadow in every picture you take.  Back when we ran a recording studio, I had this 'I Heart Little Box Studio' hat made as a promotional product sample.  Somehow it came into the possession of my daughter and somehow it was her hat of choice when they were all told to bring one.  It's too big for her.  And she looks crazy adorable in it.  But seriously - every picture of her is cast with a dark shadow across her face!  

Have you learned anything from a trip you've taken?  Spread the wealth - share it in the comments below!

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  1. I love it! I love it! All of it. I could particularly relate to the ones about the GPS and bringing warm i.e. winter clothes just in case.

    1. I couldn't even believe the GPS was trying to send us to Montreal - CRAZY!!! Though, I'd love to go there someday...

  2. Aunt SallyMarch 27, 2015

    Lots of good points, Alanna. Gave me a few chuckles.


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