20 Essentials For Your Spring Break Road Trip

20 Essentials For Your Spring Break Road Trip

Road tripping for spring break? Here’s some things you don’t want to forget.
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Spring Break. A time for complete relaxation for some and a time for wild, unforgettable memories for others. Regardless of how you plan on spending your spring break, you'll most likely be traveling long-distance to your destination of choice. Here are some things to remember while planning your trip!

1. A bomb road trip playlist

If you’re driving long distance, you’re definitely going to need some good tunes to get you through the long hours in the car.

2. Snacks, snacks, snacks

If you’re like me, all you do is think about food and what better way to pass the time in the car than with some yummy snacks to fill your belly.

3. Good company

No one wants to sit in a silent car for hours. Bring friends who will keep the conversation flowing and scream the lyrics to your favorite songs with you.

4. Blankets… and maybe some pillows

Long car rides= nap time! Get comfy so you rest up for your vacation that lies ahead.

5. Backup directions

Let’s face it, technology isn’t always reliable. Bring some paper maps and printed directions as a backup.

6. Sunglasses

Isn’t it just the worst when the sun is shining just below the sun visor? Make sure to have a pair of sunglasses to shield that sucker.

7. Cash & Cards

You never know what places won’t accept your credit card. Always have both credit cards and cash on hand in case of emergencies.

8. CAFFEINE

The worst part about driving long distance for a fun vacation is staring at the road for hours. Bring some coffee to help your body and mind stay alert.

9. A List of Stops

What better way to break up a long drive than to stop at some cool places along the way? Make a list beforehand of some quick stops you can make to help break up the drive.

10. Phone charger

This is an absolute must. If you need to make a phone call or look up important information regarding your trip, you want to make sure you have a charged phone.

11. Water bottle

Nobody wants to pay $4 for a water bottle at an overpriced convenience store. Bring a water bottle and fill it up for free at a water fountain when you run out.

12. First Aid/ Emergency Kit

You never know when you’re going to need either and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

13. Chapstick

Having chapped lips is one of those terrible feelings and no one wants to suffer through the pain of it for hours.

14. Tissues

Keep your germs to yourself, especially when you’re going to be in a car with other people for a long trip.

15. Camera

Who doesn’t love to take pics of the landscape through the car windows? If you don’t have a ton of storage on your phone, definitely bring a camera to capture some memorable moments.

16. Luggage

Thanks, Captain Obvious. Some people are in fact so preoccupied with trying to keep track of everything for their trip, that they forget to pack the car with what they need most on their trip.

17. Garbage bags

You definitely want to have a few of these for trash and surprise motion sickness. They come in handy and don’t take up extra space.

18. Insurance documentation/ID

You should always drive with your license, especially on a long trip, but most people overlook the fact that having physical documentation of insurance is just as important. You can never plan to get in an accident, but it’s always beneficial to have.

19. Headphones

If you’re not feeling very chatty or aren’t into the music that’s playing in the car, bring some headphones to play your own music.

20. Duct tape

It can fix everything!

Remember these essentials and you’ll have a fantastic time on your spring break road trip!


Cover Image Credit: Pan Xiazhen

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Top 10 Places To Visit In Oklahoma

Perfect places for inexpensive day trips.

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These places are some of my favorite to visit in Oklahoma and as a resident here they are perfect for day trips because of the minimal car ride. I hope you visit these locations and enjoy them as much as I have.

1. Turner Falls 

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Turner Falls is in the Arbuckle Mountains and is home to Oklahoma's largest waterfall. You can hike, swim, explore a rock castle, fish, tube, and much more. You can even rent a cabin if you want to stay the night.

2. Pops on Route 66

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Pops is in Arcadia off of route 66 and it is great place to get a burger and a specialty pop; not to mention the light up pop bottle out front. Near by there is the Round Barn which is a completely circular barn that was constructed in 1898 and is a unique structure worth visiting. During the fall Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch is open and during the summer you can head to Arcadia Lake to cool off.

3. Blue Dome District in Downtown Tulsa

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Downtown Tulsa has one of the best art districts in the state and you can visit many art museums the most famous being the Philbrook. There are unique shops and fancy restraunts all composed of stunning architecture. There is a interesting spot nestled in the middle of downtown called "The Center of the Universe" where when you stand in this paticular circle of concrete your voice echoes back to you. Occasionally there are festivals like May Fest, Winter Fest, and Day of the Dead.

4. Bricktown in Oklahoma City

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Bricktown is a beautiful place where there is something for everyone to do. There is a movie theatre, clubs, shops, mini-golf, restraunts, and most famously a riverwalk. You can also visit the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Murrah Bombing Museum, and the botanical gardens.

5. Robber's Cave

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Robber's Cave is a wonderful place for exploring. You can walk along the trails, go down into caves, go hiking, or wade in creeks. There is also horse back riding and paddle boating. If you are looking for a relaxing trip in nature, this is it.

6. Woodward Park

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Woodward Park is nice place to take a relaxing stroll through and it is home to an arboretum, (a botanical garden completely devoted to trees), and it also has a regular botanical garden. The scenery is breath taking and it has a playground which makes it an entertaining place for children.

7. The Gloss Mountains

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Even though the Gloss Mountains has 'mountains' in its name, it is actually mesas and buttes. They appear shiny and glass like because of the amount of selenite in their soil. This a truly fascinating place to visit and it is perfect for hiking and viewing wildlife. You won't regret traveling here as you see the sun set behind the mesas.

8. Downtown Guthrie

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Downtown Guthrie is rich in historic buildings and brick walkways. There are antique shops, museums, coffee shops, a theatre. Downtown Guthrie also has a national park that is only an elm tree making it the smallest in the United States. If you are able to come in April there is a carnival and parade celebrating the land run. In December there is an event called the Victorian Walk where people come dressed in Victorian clothes and there are carriages, live music, good food, and carollers.

9. Paseo District in Oklahoma City

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The Paseo District in Oklahoma City has some of the finest shops and art galleries. It is designed to resemble Spanish architecture with authentic clay roofs and stucco building. There are many restaurants to eat at and on Wednesday nights "Sauced at Paseo" hosts a slam poetry night.

10. Chickasaw National Park

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Chickasaw National Park is one of the most gorgeous places you can visit in Oklahoma. You can go hunting, fishing, water skiing, boating, hiking, swimming, and much more. There is wildlife everywhere and it is even located on the Central migratory flyaway path, which makes it perfect for bird watching.

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