Nov 22 – Be adventurous, instead of same campground, try a different place.
Mar 19 – Always carry an extra credit card and hide it somewhere else.
Mar 18 – Put an old wallet with fake or expired credit cards and IDs in the glove compartment.
Mar 17 – Mail yourself all the important information so it can be accessed anywhere
Mar 16 – Always bring duct tape as it is versatile and can be used for many purposes.
Mar 15 – Don’t leave any wallet in the car
Mar 14 – Don’t put important documents in the glove compartment as it is the first place a thief would look
Mar 13 – Sacrifice a fruit when coming back to the USA so the border agent will not feel obligate to look harder.
Mar 12 – Always bring your passport on a long trip as you never know you may just want to cross the border for a few hours
Mar 11 – Always stop at an ice cream factory to sample ice cream and learn a little bit about ice cream.
Mar 10 – A place with a sunrise name usually indicate that it would have the best lighting in the morning and the worse during sunset.
Mar 9 – Upload digital pictures to internet accounts as a backup storage
Mar 8 – Burn pictures/video onto DVDs/CDs and mail them home
Mar 7 – Bring a laptop with a DVD/CD burner
Mar 6 – Be conscious of your presence to an environment. Minimize your impact.
Mar 5 – Take a phrase book of the foreign language spoken in a country where you will travel.
Mar 4 – If a sign indicates a hike is not suitable for small children, believe it.
Mar 3 – Round shaped cheese has a more uniform consistency in taste than the block kind.
Mar 2 – Goat cheese is healthier than cow cheese.
Mar 1 – Always stop at a cheese factory tour to sample cheese.
Feb 28 – Always have enough water in the car so there will be more options when camping as some campgrounds do not have water.
Feb 27 – Check for any cargo box to ensure it is locked by pulling on it.
Feb 26 – Be adventurous. Take a trip on your own instead of joining a tour.
Feb 25 – Ask for plastic bags when buying grocery and use them as garbage bags instead of big garbage bags. Small garbage bags be tossed away easily and would fill up quicker so there won’t be a lot of garbage in the car.
Feb 24 – Look can be deceiving. Just becasue someone is carrying a fancy camera, it doesn’t mean he/she can take good pictures.
Feb 23 – Check out local grocery stores; they tell stories
Feb 22 – Respect nature and don’t disturb it; just take pictures and enjoy it with openness and let the mind soak in.
Feb 21 – Always carry extra water (or a filter) just in case a trail is longer than advertised.
Feb 20 – Always head toward rivers as old towns are always near water.
Feb 19 – Whenever in a foreign country, always try to speak its local language. People there will appreciate and be nicer to you.
Feb 18 – Look for interesting things such as mushrooms and flowers when hiking; it will make the hike fun and entertaining
Feb 17 – Whenever go hunting for mushrooms, flowers, birds, trees, don’t disturb them; just take pictures
Feb 16 – Always carry some napkins, preferably 1st Aid Kit, when hiking
Feb 15 – Don’t go off to a wilderness place where you won’t see another soul for days if every adult is carrying a kid already just in case if one of the adults is hurt on the trail.
Feb 14 – Stay at a tepee if you never have when you have a chance.
Feb 13 – Tent camping is more flexible than RV camping. And there were many places that RV sites were full but not the tent sites.
Feb 12 – Can use KOA as a cheap motel substitute.
Feb 11 – Check out places with devil’s name. There are always something unique about devil’s places.
Feb 10 – Camp occasionally at private campgrounds: they typically have playgrounds for kids to play.
Feb 9 – Don’t be discouraged by the Campground Full sign. Go around and ask; you may find one.
Feb 8 – Remember that a 3-season tent is not completely waterproof, especially the floor.
Feb 7 – Bring a steamer cookware. We had a lot of steamed vegetables on the trip, a lot of broccoli, great cancer-fighting food. We get the steam free as we often cooked rice, pasta, and soup.
Feb 6 – Although a kid is maybe small, he/she can drink just as much if not more when hiking.
Feb 5 – Do a trial hike before embarking a long hike with kids.
Feb 4 – Always scout out places for next visits.
Feb 3 – Go to see synchronous fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains late, after 10 pm if possible when everyone would be leaving.
Feb 2 – Arrive at a popular campground place no later than Thursday night. In some places, it may require to arrive on a Wednesday night.
Feb 1 – Stay at alternative lodgings such as caboose, yurt, or teepee. They will provide memorable stays.
Jan 31 – Play a game of finding interesting signs or license plates.
Jan 30 – Bring fold-away food covers to keep flies away.
Jan 29 – Bring some hiking poles. Although most of time we didn’t need to use them, there were a couple of trails where hiking poles made a big difference, providing an extra support for safety.
Jan 28 – Expect the unexpcted and turn it into something positive. See Mt Baker post.
Jan 27 – Always bring a passport on a long trip. You never know you will need it or not.
Jan 26 – Bring a big collapsible water jug. We brought along a 5 gallons one we brought at REI. It was one of the most useful items we had on the trip. Whenever we saw drinkable water, we filled it up. It saved us money and a lot of trips going from campsite to water source.
Jan 25 – Put some food scrapes about 10 feet away from the picnic table to attract flies and bees away from the table.
Jan 24 – Find a campsite with a little breeze. Mosquitoes do not like wind over 10 MPH.
Jan 23 – Don’t pick a campsite near standing water: it always has a lot of mosquitoes
Jan 22 – Pack your own lunch food. It not only saves money, it saves time.
Jan 21 – Do not average more than 3 hours of driving per day for the trip. Plan some slow days where you don’t drive at all.
Jan 20 – Take pictures of interesting signs and interpretive panels with or without people. An interesting sign tells a thousand words. Information on interpretive panels can remind you later of things.
Jan 19 – Bring DC to AC Power Inverters. We brought two and we needed them as we had many things needed to be charged and we could only do that while driving because we camped a lot.
Jan 18 – Stop by any Welcome Center when entering a new state. One thing we always did on the trip was to stop at the 1st Welcome Center in a new state to pick up guidebooks for that state. We found all state guidebooks informative and useful. A lot of states also provided free maps. We had discovered a lot of interesting and unheard of places in those guidebooks.
Jan 17 – Use trip planning software such as Microsoft Streets and Trips. It was difficult for us to plan such a long trip until we got the Microsoft Streets and Trips. It allowed us to make many changes easily and provided us with an estimate day how long the trip would take. There may be other software which may work just as well or better. But Microsoft S/T worked for us.
Jan 16 – Get seat back organizers. The car becomes your home on a long trip and there are many little things to be stored. We got two seat back organizers to keep drinks, pens, toys, books, maps and many things organized for the trip.
Jan 15 – Drive on side/scenic roads when possible as opposed to interstate highways. There are usually more interesting things on the side roads such as fruit stands where you can take a break and get a treat at the same time.
Jan 14 – Ask for plastic bags and save them as garbage bags.
Jan 13 – Color-code your bags/containers or bring few things. We had a lot of stuffs in the van and we didn’t have enough bags such as holding dirty clothes/shoes, snacks/food, miscellaneous items so we started using grocery bags. It was a chore to find anything as we had to dig them out one at a time to find things. A month into the trip, we went to Target and bought 3 different color bags so we could store and find things easier.
Jan 12 – Bring your common sense on the trip. We all want to have fun on the trip but use your common sense: remember, safety always comes first.
Jan 11 – Don’t over-plan and be flexible. We only had a rough schedule just to gauge the amount of time we need. We never intended our itinerary to be our bible. We also didn’t sweat too much about if we brought everything. It wasn’t like we were going on a backpacking trip where we couldn’t buy anything.
Jan 10 – Always bring paper maps; don’t depend on digital maps completely yet.
Jan 9 – Hike early in the morning on sand dunes. Sand dunes usually are cool and pristine in the morning. In the afternoon, it gets hot, windy and occasionally has a chance of lightning storms.
Jan 8 – Stop by Fruit Stands. We found that stopping by a fruit stand was a great way to stretch out, talk to some local folks, and of course eat something healthy for the day.
Jan 7 – Bring some duct tapes. Duct tapes are versatile and they always come in handy when needing to hold things together. When the lock on the left rear side window of our van was plied opened by a thief, we kept the window shut with the duct tape for the next 2 months until we got home to repair it.
Jan 6 – Bring at least two ice chests if you are camping. Leave all food in the main ice chest and take out just lunch, drinks and snacks for the day. This way, you will keep the main ice chest cold.
Jan 5 – Suspend the insurance of all other cars you leave behind you while you are on the trip. We did that with our other 2 cars and saved a few hundred dollars.
Jan 4 – Digital cameras rule; they let you take as many pictures as you want without costing you a dime until you know exactly what pictures you want to print.
Jan 3 – Take a few extra pacifiers. We had 4 pacifiers that were barely enough. They had a tendency to disappear.
Jan 2 – Don’t drive at night if possible. It is generally not safe to drive at night in an unfamiliar place. We only drove twice at night on the whole trip. The 1st day was when we drove to Lake Tahoe because we went to visit a friend in Sacramento but we know the road to Lake Tahoe well. And the 2nd day was when we were at Smokey Mountain National Park, we stayed up to see synchronous fireflies, an unusual and spectacular event only happened a few days in a year. But even then, we had driven the road earlier that took us back to our campground
Jan 1 – Make as few reservations as possible. With reservations, you are tied up to your plan. So instead of let the trip take you to places, you become slaves to your trip. Without reservations, you are free to deal with different situation. We only had one reservation on our trip and that was our vacation exchange at Vermont. Actually, because of it, we had a difficult time to plan our route to make it to there by a given date.