On the Road is a series that highlights travel writers and influencers who also love road trips. Each month you’ll learn from a traveler’s tips, tricks, adventures (and misadventures) on the road, and more.
This month I’m excited to introduce Melissa Dixon of Thirty Something Super Mom. Melissa is based near Cedar Rapids, Iowa and blogs about health, family lifestyle and travel. In addition to our mutual love for East Coast pizza, I appreciate Melissa’s enthusiasm for exploring the Midwest and beyond. In addition to recipes and home tips, she shares some great itinerary ideas for trips both with and without kids.
Without further ado, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Melissa. Continue reading to learn why she has always been a traveler, where she’s found the best pizza, and what destinations Melissa and her family are visiting in 2020.
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Hit the Road with Thirty Something Super Mom
Q: How did you fall in love with road tripping?
A: My family traveled a lot when I was growing up. And by traveling I mean we moved from home to home, state to state, and school to school. I knew as a child that I wanted something more stable for my own family. So after meeting my husband in Florida, moving to Illinois to get married and have a child, then moving to Iowa, I have decided that traveling is just who I am. I love seeing new places, experiencing new things, trying new foods, and sharing it all with my family.
Q: How do you plan a road trip?
A: Depending on the trip we are taking is how I go about planning it. If we have a tight schedule and a lot of miles to drive I tend to over plan, right down to each stop we make, including gas fill ups and bathroom breaks. When traveling less miles we usually end up with a lot of time on our hands. This works great because my family enjoys stopping spontaneously when a roadside sign catches our attention or we spot a wild animal. On more than one occasion we have parked on the side of the road due to a possible moose sighting.
Q: What are your road tripping essentials? What are the things you can’t leave home without.
A: When traveling I always have to bring along my medical supplies. I cannot leave home without them normally so when I go away for days at a time, I would rather over pack than forget something. I always bring along the essentials like my camera, multiple outfits for each occasion, a notebook to write down any info we learn along the way, and my itinerary with maps of the locations we are visiting.
Q: What is your best road trip tip or biggest piece of advice?
A: I would suggest printing out maps of each location you are going to because your GPS may not work in certain areas. Plus, it is nice to have a general idea of the area you are heading to before getting there.
Q: What’s your best road tripping memory?
A: Growing up in New Jersey I grew pretty fond of the pizza and since moving away I never stopped talking about it. So I was thrilled when my husband, who was born and raised in Chicago, tried the pizza for the first time and loved it.
Q: What’s your worst road trip memory?
A: Traveling on Alligator Alley with my husband and getting a flat tire. I learned that when in trouble, my husband gets things done. That was the fastest tire change I have ever witnessed. On the way back home, on the same trip, our car caught fire and we watched it burn to nothing but a frame before a state trooper brought us to a nearby rest area. I didn’t really get to enjoy the rest of the sights along the way from the back of that police cruiser.
Q: Share a hidden gem (or two or three) you’ve discovered through road tripping.
A: Everywhere we go, we try the food. We especially like to try pizza, in the hopes of finding that New Jersey-style I grew up loving, and Mexican food like the kind my husband grew up with in Chicago. We have discovered a few surprising places throughout the country that really stand out. A pizza place in Florida we stumbled upon turned out to be the real deal. The cook was actually just flown in to give his New Jersey pizza secrets to the establishment that week. Talk about timing! Another one that stands out is a Mexican restaurant in Colorado that had burritos the size of your head and delicious salsa verde just like the kind my husband loves. We loved it so much that we ate them for breakfast before leaving, hot sauce and all.
Connect with Thirty Something Super Mom
If you learned something new from Melissa, follow her on her next adventure! You can find links to Thirty Something Super Mom’s social media accounts below.
This year Melissa is in the process of planning a variety of potential trips. In 2020 she hopes to explore Midwest destinations like Wisconsin and Dubuque, Iowa as well as treks cross-country to Georgia, Tennessee, and maybe even New York.
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! What were your favorite road trip tips from Thirty Something Super Mom?