Tips For Planning a Road Trip Without Hotels

Stay out of hotels and try these other overnight options to get more out of your road trip

Road trips can be one of the most fun and most enlightening travel experiences. Whether you've decided to take the long way to your planned destination, or you've mapped out a scenic route from state to state, or you've simply decided to drive west (or east, West-Coasters) and see what happens, you're sure to stumble upon amazing, humbling, annoying and fascinating surprises.

But gas is expensive and hotels are expensive and you want to be able to spend money on the experiences you find, not on the places in which you only spend eight hours sleeping. Are there other options? There are several, and they might make for an even better experience than a week of cross-country hotel hopping.

Bed on wheels

We're going to skip pretty quickly over this one because if you're reading this guide, you've probably already decided against sleeping in your car. However, it's certainly an option and we have tips on how to do it comfortably. Your first thought might be: can I sleep in that much space? It depends on your vehicle. But a less obvious but more important concern for someone sleeping in their car and avoiding hotels is washing. There's no shower in any car on the market, unless it's an RV, in which case you definitely don't need to read on.

Some of your stops might let you jump in a lake or stand under a waterfall with a bar of soap (both very fun ways to wash). But in a colder climate, bring baby wipes to freshen up in between opportunities to shower. Also bring a bin to store wet things in until you can dry them, and decide if you can build a bed of blankets or fit an air mattress on the folded seats of a larger vehicle if that's what you're driving.

Blanket of stars

Don't want to sleep in the car? Explore the campsites along your route. There are many options for car-camping, some free and some not, that let you spend the night and offer various amenities. State maps list campsites at state and national parks, and you can also look for private sites. You might not find one with bathrooms, but that's not really the point of camping, is it? So pack toiletries and toilet paper. Find a tent with enough room to sleep comfortably, either for yourself or for the people with whom you'll be sharing it.

Try to book a reservation for a spot. If that's not possible, arrive as early as possible to grab the best area. Invest in campfire cooking equipment so you can start the day with a delicious breakfast, hot coffee and hot water to wash dishes. Of course, pack flashlights and batteries—it's going to make any problem much worse if you can't see how to fix it.

Bed & breakfast

If you're looking for homestyle comfort instead of a night under the moon, try a local Bed & Breakfast. They're usually a private home offering overnight accommodations plus a morning meal. Plus-plus: showers! Enjoy a night on a real bed, in a cozy home environment, for less money than a towering hotel. The key to staying at a B&B is to communicate with the innkeepers. They're not hosting hundreds of guests, so the service will partly be tailored to you. Let them know if you don't eat meat, if you can't do stairs or if you'd prefer to try a restaurant in the morning.

One of the best perks of a B&B is the ability to talk with the owners and the other guests. They'll have local information, travel tips and fun stories that you can take with you or share on that blog you're keeping about your adventures.

Airbnb

A B&B in the air? No, it's the online version of a B&B, where you can find thousands of rooms, apartments and homes available to stay in. The website lets you search easily through the listings of people offering vacant spaces to guests and you probably won't have to spend a lot of time before you've found options. It has all the perks and potential downsides of a regular Bed & Breakfast but with the convenience of the internet and all the latest, simplest online tools. While booking last minute isn't recommended, Airbnb can also be a valuable tool for an unexpected stopover without breaking the bank on the nearest hotel.

F&F

Family and friends—it's like a B&B, except (probably) free and (probably) more comfortable. Have family near your route? Stop in along the way. Warn them, of course, unless it's your parents, and even then, probably give them a heads up. It's also a great opportunity to catch up with an aunt, a grandparent, a sibling, and to enjoy surprise time together, relaxing comfortably in the home of someone you know.

Maybe you don't have family in the area but you noticed an old college roommate and Facebook friend lives there. Even if you were the best of roommates, call them. #1: they might not have room. #2: they might not want a visitor. #3–100: a plethora of other reasons to, first, ask how they're doing, and second, ask for permission well ahead of time. It could be a wonderful experience, rekindling an old, valuable friendship.

Whatever option you choose, each one offers excellent opportunities to experience the world outside of the easy and expensive hotel system. Check out Roadtrippers, a website dedicated to planning the best road trip possible. Explore, experience, make friends and share your travels with people who are interested.

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Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!