On the Road is a new series that highlights travel writers and influencers who also love road trips. Each month you’ll learn from another traveler’s tips, tricks, adventures (and misadventures) on the road, and more.
This month I’m excited to introduce you to Sage Scott of Everyday Wanderer. Sage is based in Kansas City and blogs about travel in the U.S. and Europe. One of the things I love most about Sage’s content is how relatable and accessible all of her travel recommendations and experiences are. She delves deep into some unique topics—like where to find the best fried chicken in the Midwest—and shares my soft spot for offbeat roadside attractions.
Without further ado, learn how Sage plans a road trip, discover the best travel tips she’s learned along the way, and get a peek at some of the adventures she shares on Everyday Wanderer.
Hit the Road with Everyday Wanderer
Q: How did you fall in love with road tripping?
A: When my three oldest kids (my “Bigs”) were in elementary school, we were in a position to take at least one multiple-week-long road trip a year. We called it our “Big Adventure,” and we had a blast! We would pick one region of the country and then go hard at exploring all it had to offer.
Q: How do you plan a road trip?
A: I’m a firstborn, so there is DEFINITELY a process and a plan! We start by planning our route. And that isn’t just our ultimate destination (like my sister’s house in Phoenix) but also all of the things we want to see, do, and eat along the way.
The one set-in-stone non-negotiable for me is booking our accommodations. This has saved our bacon more than once when unexpectedly bad weather and other catastrophes have caused travel issues for the masses. It was always so comforting to know we had a guaranteed place to spend the night as other travelers were turned away for no vacancy.
After we’ve planned our route and have secured a place to stay each night, we fill in the blanks. Each member of the road tripping party makes a list of things they want to do and see. Then, they rate each item as A (can NOT miss), B (nice to see), and C (okay if we miss it). We then put all of our lists together and work hard to ensure our plans can include everyone’s A activities.
Because we love to eat locally, the last thing we do is make a list of the places we want to grab coffee, eat our meals, get a scoop of ice cream, and grab snacks along the way. By planning ahead, we know which places are closed on Mondays and which places open early or close late.
Q: What are your road tripping essentials? What are the things you can’t leave home without.
A: Without detailing my entire road trip checklist (because that would be boring), here are the three things that immediately come to mind.
- Roadside Assistance Contact Information: Because I usually road trip solo or with kids in tow, I always feel better knowing that they’ll be there every step of the way and will help address any automotive issues that arise, big or small.
- Yucky Bucket: My daughter, Charlotte, always gets car sick. And although she’s now a sophomore in college, we still plan for her to have motion sickness when we travel. (And, yes, we still call it a “yucky bucket” from when she was a toddler.)
- Audiobooks: These digital downloads are the best thing to happen to road trips since cruise control. No matter who is riding shotgun, there will be a point in your road trip when you need a break from each other, and nothing makes endless miles of open road move faster than an audiobook!
Q: What is your best road trip tip or biggest piece of advice?
A: Make getting there part of the fun! It is a 24-hour drive from my house in Kansas City to my sister and her family’s house in Arizona. Yes, we could make it a two-day, 12-hour trip, but we prefer to go a little slower, stop a little more, and explore.
Q: What’s your best road tripping memory?
A: One of our favorite Big Adventures was our trip to the Dakotas and back. The weather was nearly perfect, and we explored Omaha, Sioux Falls, DeSmet and other stops along the way. The scenery was breathtaking, the kids learned a lot, and we had a blast!
Q: What’s your worst road trip memory?
A: Hands down it was our extended Thanksgiving trip to Arizona a few years ago. About three hours into the 24-hour journey, it started snowing. I battled an Arctic inversion, snow, and ice for the rest of the trip. The roads were dangerous, most of the things we’d planned to do along the way were closed for weather, and the entire trip was incredibly stressful. About an hour outside of Phoenix, we finally had clear roads, and I cried big alligator tears of joy!
Q: Share a hidden gem (or two or three) you’ve discovered through road tripping.
A: One of the benefits of road tripping is that you’re more likely to discover (and can more easily stop at) roadside attractions. Over the years, a few stand out. In Goodland, Kansas, the world’s largest easel displays a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”
In Las Cruces, New Mexico, we discovered a giant roadrunner sculpture constructed out of discarded materials. When we visited Alabama’s Gulf Coast, we explored the Barber Marina and its quirky fiberglass sculptures. And after the road trip through the ice storm worthy of Dante’s ninth circle of hell, we came home through Winslow, Arizona, where we got to stop at the iconic corner from the Eagles song.
Connect with Everyday Wanderer
If you learned something new from Sage and want to follow her on her next adventure, you can find links to Everyday Wanderer’s social media accounts below.
Most of Sage’s trips these days involves air travel. But she’s planning some road trips around the Midwest later this year. Follow along so you don’t miss her adventures exploring Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas.
I would love to hear from you! What were your favorite road trip tips from Everyday Wanderer?