Travel Essentials

16 Tips for Cross County Road Trips With a Dog

In case you don’t follow us on Instagram (which you SHOULD), in the past year we may have been better off calling ourselves the “Roadtripping Newlyweds”. If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something, we’re probably getting close to that based on all of the long drives we’ve done. If you’re doubting our expertise, here’s where we’ve been (keep in mind all of this is within the past 12 months): 

  • Aug/Sept 2018 - We embarked on a 5,000 mile drive from our house in California up to Seattle, east to Banff, back down through Montana and Idaho, and back home. 

  • Sept. 2018 - We drove on a “mini” 1,100 mile road trip to hike the narrows in St. George. Worth it! Do it!

  • Dec 2018 - Also on the shorter side, we drove 2,100 miles to Tempe, Taos, and Aspen. All so pretty during the holidays!

  • Apr/May 2019 - We drove from our house in Costa Mesa to Savannah (GA) and up to Pittsburgh, then headed home. Just over 6,500 miles. There were plenty of stops and potty breaks. 

  • Jun 2019 - Had a quick trip to Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, and Bend. It’s weird that a 2,000 mile trip now feels like nothing.

  • July/Aug 2019 - We just returned from a nice “little” drive to Kalamazoo, Michigan. 5,800 miles in 19 days. Not the furthest, but definitely the greatest mileage per day. Woof


Did we mention that we’ve had our bernedoodle, Sally, with us on these drives? And that we’ve done 3 of the 5 in our compact Toyota Prius? Pretty ridiculous!

We get pretty excited when we’re home…

We get pretty excited when we’re home…

Family photo!

Family photo!

She loves the car!

She loves the car!

With all of that in mind, it’s safe to say that we’ve learned a few things. 

Here are our 16 tips (in order with the most important first) for a massive road trip with a puppy in tow. 

  1. Leave early - This is our most important tip if you are a road trip rookie. Specifically on the days of your big drives (300+ miles), get up as early as possible for your drive. You’ll be sleepy, but trust us - you’ll wake up. To us, there is nothing worse than leaving somewhere at noon, and having to end the drive and arrive at your destination in the dark. On the contrary, if you leave before the sun rises, you’ll probably arrive at your destination mid-day, with plenty of time for a nap (praises!) and to start exploring. 

  2. Pack right - You’re going to be taking your luggage in and out of the car A LOT, so you want luggage that is durable, lightweight, and easy to move around. For us, that is our American Tourister bags, along with a couple of backpacks (Bobby has a Lowepro Camera bag and Alli has a Herschel backpack). Oh, and we of course have a little tote for all of Sally’s things! :) 

  3. Optimize your vehicle’s layout for humans - This is a big one for comfort. For us, that means knowing where everything is at all times. The car is packed the same way, so that you could ask me right now (a week after our last road trip) where I keep my computer, sunscreen, Sally’s food, Alli’s bag… it all has a place. This is your second home, so it will make it much easier if you piece it together effectively.

  4. And for dogs - Speaking of second home, you have to have your fur baby’s safety and comfort in mind when you’re going on a long drive. For safety, we have a harness that hooks Sally in (a pet seatbelt), but also allows her to be mobile in the backseat. For comfort, we have a backseat bridge that extends the backseat so there’s no gap, giving Sally a lot more space. Lastly, we have a dog hammock that drapes over the whole backseat and makes it all one consistent surface. Yes, we are those dog people. And yes, Sally loves us.

  5. Stop frequently - Aside from having to use the restroom, get out and move a little. Having Sally with us may seem like an inconvenience, but she actually forces us to get out and run around every hour or two. 

  6. Have your thing - If you’re traveling with a partner, there’s only so much you can talk about. For us, we listen to audiobooks together, talk about anything and everything, play with Sally, and we always run out of things to say. Other than music, we each have our own thing in the form or unique podcasts that the other person doesn’t really care for. For Bobby, it’s the Fantasy Footballers. He knows it’s kind of nerdy, and he loves it. For Alli, it is the Morning Toast. While we each do our own thing, the other person naps (although Bobby is totally a “Toaster” now, and Alli’s never been more proud.). 

  7. Take your wallet out of your pocket (Bobby) and throw on your comfy pants (Alli) - You’re going to be sitting for awhile, so make it as comfortable as possible. Don’t worry about how you look - just wear whatever you’re most comfortable in! (Also in the comfort category, for this last trip we bought these sun shades and it was a TOTAL gamechanger. Nothing is worse than trying to take a nap and having the sun beating down on you the whole time.)

  8. Hydration > Caffeine - While coffee will definitely do the trick during those early morning drives, it should not be your solution whenever you get sleepy while driving. We’ve found that staying hydrated (with water), is actually the best thing we can do on our road trips. Yes, you will have to pee more. But you will absolutely feel better that night and the next day. Trust us on this one! 

  9. Pack light - Assuming you’re driving through the US or Canada, pack as light as possible. You can pick up anything you need along the way, and there are plenty of laundromats to keep your wardrobe fresh.  

  10. Nap - When you’re sleepy, stop driving and take a nap. The end. 

  11. Decide your absolute maximum mileage for the day (and stick to it) - Also important. If you want to get to a spot 500 miles away but think maaaayyyybe you can get 100 miles further, then decide that no matter what you will stop if you get to the 600 mile destination. If you keep playing the, “Oh let’s just drive for another hour” game, you’ll put yourself at risk for dangerous fatigue or a speeding ticket. Not worth it.

  12. Be a tourist while on the road - Seven Magic Mountains, Car Henge, the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Wall Drug, etc. There are countless strange roadside attractions. Whether you plan them out, or see a sign that it’s a mile up ahead, you won’t regret making the stop (even if you’re making fun of it as you leave). 

  13. Research your route - The shortest distance may not be the fastest. The scenic drive may be the most beautiful drive you’ve ever set your eyes on. Or the “scenic drive” is pathetic. Do some research on where your driving, beyond your endpoints. 

  14. Be honest - Unless you’re traveling solo, this just means to be honest about when you don’t want to drive any more. Or, when you shouldn’t drive anywhere. Bobby always wants to set personal long distance driving records (currently he’s gone 575 miles with a couple potty breaks), but sometimes he has to give up and hand over the keys because he’s sleepy. Know your limits and communicate with your partner. 

  15. Pace yourself - What we mean here is pace yourself over the course of the trip. If you’re whole trip is two weeks and 4,000 miles, don’t drive 800 miles on 5 different days. Spread it out. If we ever have more than 2 days driving 300+ miles, we take at least 1 day off. 

  16. Cruise control is your friend, but be smart - Bobby LOVES cruise control. But he only uses it when there’s barely any traffic, and early on in his drives. It’s a little risky if there are other cars, or if you’ve been driving for awhile. Just because your foot isn’t on the gas doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention… 

Can you see the sunshade on the left? Game changer…

Can you see the sunshade on the left? Game changer…

Lot’s of pretty drives! And nice naps!

Lot’s of pretty drives! And nice naps!

Lots of stops for goodies :)

Lots of stops for goodies :)

Lots of gas station stops (We call Sally “Stinker”)

Lots of gas station stops (We call Sally “Stinker”)

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Essential Gear Spotlight - JOBY HandyPod Mobile

Bobby, here! In recent weeks we’ve been getting requests to share about our favorite gear, our “essentials”, if you will. As traveling content creators, we’ve found that we really appreciate and navigate towards gear that is extremely efficient. Efficient in doing its particular job well, and in saving space, as we’re often traveling out of the car and have enough between the two of us (not to mention Sally!).

All that to say, the JOBY HandyPod Mobile has been a recent addition that will undoubtedly be with us on every trip to come. It’s a small phone tripod that is ideal for mobile content creators like us, because of its compact and versatile design. The tripod is stable and secure for our phones, and it also has collapsable legs that then transforms it into a perfect handheld for selfies, video, etc.

We took it with us on our recent trip to Bend, and used it as we brewery-hopped around town with Sally. The built-in ballhead allowed us to capture both landscape and portrait shots. And a few family paw-traits as well :) One thing we were really impressed by was the stability of the tripod. The legs can stay secure in a variety of positions (based on how you’re balancing your phone/camera), and once you find your position, they are super sturdy.

Perfect for selfies

And family paw-traits!

After taking it on this recent trip, we’re sold. It’s easy to pack, easy to use, and it allowed us to capture content more effectively on the road. 

If you’re in the market for a simple, dependable tripod, we highly recommend JOBY and its phone tripods. Beyond that, we’ll also throw a shout out to our JOBY GorillaPod, that has gone all over the world with us from the beginning of Traveling Newlyweds!







5 Reasons Everyone Should Love Boingo

Boingo.

Chances are you’ve seen that name before, most likely when you’re hunting for free Wi-Fi. But do you know what it is? Throughout our travels we’ve seen Boingo Wireless pop up almost everywhere, from international terminals to neighborhood coffee shops, but we’d never understood exactly what Boingo was - or how to use it - until now!

As we were planning our most recent trip to Kauai, we realized that finding fast, dependable Wi-Fi on the island was going to be a challenge. As we began researching our Wi-Fi options, we once again came across Boingo and were amazed at what we discovered. Boingo helps the world stay connected to the people and things they love, no matter where they are. But it’s so much more.

Here’s our 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Know [And Love!] Boingo:

1. IT’S FREE IN AIRPORTS

That’s right. There’s no hidden costs, no “sign up now, pay later” gimmicks, no confusing referral codes. Boingo is FREE in the airports it services. Whether at JFK, LAX, Kauai, or Dubai, Boingo has your connectivity needs covered.

Jumping for joy because of the super fast (and free) Wi-Fi at John Wayne Airport!

Jumping for joy because of the super fast (and free) Wi-Fi at John Wayne Airport!

Pre-flight Wi-Fi at SNA

Boingo Wi-Fi while waiting for our bags? Yes please!

2. IT’S EASY

There’s a reason why Boingo has won “Best Wi-Fi Service” in Global Traveler magazine’s GT Tested reader survey awards NINE times… it’s SO easy to use! Boingo keeps travelers connected with its amazing, next-gen Passpoint hotspots - a technology that automatically connects travelers to Wi-Fi with no login or passwords required. Let us say it again. IT AUTOMATICALLY CONNECTS YOU TO WI-FI WITH NO LOGIN OR PASSWORDS REQUIRED. Can you even?!? It’s genius!!

One of the biggest issues/frustrations/headaches we get when we’re flying is figuring out airport Wi-Fi logins, passwords, etc. Oftentimes the connection is fickle and the process to connect can be lengthy - those of you that travel frequently know what a hassle this can be! We flew out of our local airport  (John Wayne, or SNA) to Lihue (LIH) and with Boingo Passpoint we were automatically connected to Wi-Fi the moment we walked inside.

We can’t stress how amazing and life changing this is! Bravo, Boingo!

So sad to leave Hawaii. But so happy about the blazing fast Wi-Fi at Lihue Airport!

3. IT’S EVERYWHERE

There are more than 1 million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. From airports, to stadiums, convention centers, multifamily communities, military bases, commercial properties, and beyond… Boingo is everywhere! You’ll find Boingo’s award-winning Wi-Fi across six continents, and chances are the airports, hotels, restaurants, and cafes you frequent have a Boingo Wi-Fi hotspot. The Boingo Wi-Finder app makes it easy to locate the hotspots through an interactive map, and even select flights offer the service!

While we were in Kauai, we were thrilled by how many Boingo hotspots we found throughout the island. Whether we were grabbing coffee or poke bowls, or checking out the nearby five-star resort, we found multiple hotspots nearly everywhere we went. We couldn’t believe how easy it was to stay connected - even in such a lush, tropical location!

We stayed connected all over Kauai thanks to Boingo!

Wi-Fi while having shave ice? Yes please!

Staying connected gave us flexibility to work in the morning and hike off all the Hawaiian pancakes we ate in the afternoon

4. IT’S FAST (AND SECURE)

With connection speeds of up to 100 Mbps, Boingo is blazing-fast. The company has made significant investments in its Wi-Fi networks to ensure a consistent user experience that not only delivers speed and ease of use, but security as well. Whether you’re using Boingo for work or for streaming your favorite show, Boingo helps keep your information safe.

Speaking of streaming, you know a Wi-Fi service is fast when it can download your favorite Netflix shows in about a minute, and the Boingo hotspot at John Wayne Airport passed the test with flying colors! We had multiple episodes of Parks & Rec cued up for our flight with time to spare!

5. IT’S GROWING!

As the leading provider of airport Wi-Fi, Boingo can be found in many airports around the world, and their reach continues to expand. Delivering first class amenities like free, unlimited Wi-Fi is part of Boingo’s commitment to bring more convenience to travelers and make their travel time more enjoyable.

From John Wayne Airport, to the several Boingo hotspots in Kauai, to flying out of Lihue Airport, we were connected nearly our entire trip, without a single hitch. Boingo has officially changed how we travel, and we know it will for you too.

Learn more about Boingo’s global Wi-Fi access passes and sign up here!

Staying connected while on vacation mode is the BEST

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Thank you to Boingo for sponsoring this post!

I've Got the Power: Staying Charged with My TYLT Power Backpack

Ten years ago, the way I (Bobby) packed looked much different than it does now. One small point and shoot (the Canon Digital Elphs were amazing), no cords, no phone, no personal aircrafts (hehe who knew what a drone was in 2008?), and minimal backup batteries. Fast forward to today, and I’m loaded up with 4 cameras (2 Fuji Mirrorless and 2 GoPros), a drone, an iPhone, wireless headphones, a laptop, and a Kindle. While my previous LowePro backpack did the job in terms of storing all of those things relatively well, a new backpack has taken over as my new go-to. Enter TYLT, a portable power and wireless charging manufacturer who has designed some incredible backpacks. I’ve been carrying the TYLT ENERGI Pro Power Backpack for the past few months, and I want to give you three reasons why it needs to be on your back.


1. The Battery

The most important feature of the backpack is the 20,100 mAh lithium ion battery. It has a designated sleeve, but is removable and can be used in any bag. The battery includes a variety of ports (USB Type-C, USB Type-A with Quick Charge 3.0, USB Type A, and micro-USB), includes multiple cables for each port, and a zippered accessory bag where you can store it all. The battery is big, but it’s worth it, because it lasts a long time and is able to efficiently charge multiple devices.

2. The Durability

The bag is made of water-resistant polyester, and so far has stood the test of global travel and a 5000 mile road trip. Hiking in the rain on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, touring around Ireland for two weeks, and being thrown in and out of our car (basically our home) while traveling for 5 weeks with our puppy, this bag has some mileage on it. Yet it looks as good as new, the zippers are still functioning flawlessly (most are water-resistant too), and all the compartments are holding strong.

3. The Compartments and Overall Design

The backpack is a great size, but only if you like having your pack be organized. The 12 pockets allow for a variety of items, but won’t allow for a ton of bulk space. There’s a laptop compartment that fits a 15” device, and across from it is a zippered pocket that fits a tablet. I found that you could also wedge a neatly folded jacket or sweatshirt in this area too.

The front-opening bay (the largest compartment) is where I store my drone, camera, lenses, and a few small clothing items. There are plenty of small zipper pockets and organizers in this bay that I use to store my headphones, memory card readers, portable hard drives, pens, etc.

For me, this backpack is awesome because I love to be organized. I spend time specifically deciding what pocket or compartment is for what thing, and I stick to that. If you’re not organized, you may just want a normal backpack because you will lose things in the ENERGI Pro. It’s up to you!

If I had to choose my highlights of this bag, it’s the small touches that go a long way. This includes the sunglasses compartment where I can store fragile items, the small compartment you can unzip and pull out for your water bottle, and the slots on it that allow for you to slide it over the handle of your roller bags. It’s the little things…

TYLT has been ahead of the curve with their designs and quality, so give them a try! Their backpacks will keep all of your gear charged, so you’ll never miss a shot again!

Quick Camping Getaway with Coleman!

We aren’t the typical camper-types.

 

Sure, we’re adventurous, we’re spontaneous, and we love the outdoors, but we’ve always been a little hesitant to camp. We equate camping with a lot of work and little sleep. For that reason, we’ve never considered ourselves “campers”...

 

Until now.

 

Friends, we recently got hold of some Coleman camping gear and tested it out at O’Neill Regional Park, and we’ve been transformed. We actually really love camping, and we’ll say it loud and clear, “WE’RE CAMPERS.” Why you ask? Because camping means something different to everyone, and we did it our way… with the snazziest, “glamp-iest” Coleman equipment in town! (Or should we say, in the woods?) Here’s what converted us:

 

The 6 Person Dark Room Tent

Before this trip, the thought of setting up a tent made us cringe. You know those movies where it takes the dad all day to set up an old, ricketty tent? That’s what we thought of. But we kid you not, this tent took us MAYBE 20 minutes to put together. IT WAS SO EASY. SO EASY. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and incredibly spacious - which is important to us. We like having the ability to walk around in our tent, and the ability to have a…

 

Queen Double High Airbed

Oh boy oh boy, this airbed was the real gamechanger. Not because it was easy to blow up (which it was), or because it fit perfectly in our tent with plenty of room to spare (which it did), but because we slept like BABIES. It honestly rivaled our bed at home!! Speaking of which, instead of using traditional sleeping bags, we brought our sheets and bedspread - which was not only super comfy, but looked super cute as well!

 

50 QT. Extreme Wheeled Cooler

Say hello to the Cadillac of coolers! This beauty not only kept our food and drinks cold without a hitch, but it was incredibly easy to operate and move around. Depending on where we were hanging out, we’d cart it over closer to us. (You know, to grab that extra drink or piece of chocolate.) We also loved the size - it’s deep enough that it holds A LOT, but it’s not as wide as typical coolers, so it’s easy to pack in our car!

 

360 Sound + Light Lantern (used with your personal phone)

We’ll let you in on a little secret… Alli’s afraid of the dark. Nothing spooks her out more than dark, mysterious places, and not being aware of her surroundings. We were AMAZED at how bright this Coleman lantern could be. She was never nervous or frightened in the least, and you better believe that everywhere she went, that lantern went too! It has three light settings, so it works great no matter your whereabouts. But you know what the best part is??

IT’S ALSO A SPEAKER!!

Yep! The lantern connects easily to your phone, giving you the ability to play all of your favorite tunes while beating your partner in a round of “Tick” (currently our favorite card game). Or, it gives you the excuse to have a dance party in the middle of the day - we did!

 

Cooler Quad Chairs

Like we said earlier, we’re not the “typical” campers - and there is nothing typical about these chairs. Assembly is easy (as in, there is no assembly, they just pop open!), and they have the coolest features.

  • There is a cooler in one of the armrests, that holds up to four cans of beer. How genius is that?!?

  • On the other armrest there’s a side pocket that’s big enough to hold your magazines, a book, an Ipad, whatever you want!

  • The seat is fully cushioned, making it SO incredibly snug!

 

These Coleman products totally changed our views on camping. They showed us how fun, stylish, and COMFORTABLE a few nights at a campground can be! Even our pup Sally had the time of her life! So, where should we camp next?