I travel three to four times a year for vacations, and then nearly year-round for work. I do a lot of odd jobs and I love to vacation, but this trip was different. I was working 16-22 hour days, seven days a week, for almost four months straight. I stayed in different hotels and cities every single night. One day I'd be in the mountain time zone. The next day I'd be in the central time zone. Then after that, I'd be on eastern time. Some days I'd be in two different time zones.
To say the least, it was extremely tiring and I learned more than I could have ever imagined. So, here's what I picked up.
1. Don't pack more than you need
I had a giant suitcase. I mean, I'm 5'6" and this thing was half my size. It's difficult not to pack a ton of clothes when you go somewhere, but try to pack only the necessities when you are going on a trip that last more than two weeks. Carrying that suitcase in and out of hotels every morning and night got old quick. I started to just grab a pair of jeans, a tee shirt, and some undergarments before going into my hotel.
2. Do laundry often
No one really likes to do laundry, but when you're on the road and you have to make a three-hour pitstop because you chose to wait until the last second to do laundry, it sucks. Do your laundry when you have one single full load, and not three-four.
3. Keep a cooler in the back
It saves money and time, plus it's healthier than eating fast food every day. I also kept a little box of fruit in the back, which I really liked having.
4. Keep an eye on your health
While traveling, I lost almost 15 pounds (that I couldn't afford to lose). I began to look sick and feel sick, which made me eat even less. I was so caught up in getting the job done and working on other things that I had going on back home, that eating was the last thing on my mind. I also broke out in hives at one point. My entire body was covered in them. This was because of stress and forgetting to stay in touch with my mental health.
5. Be aware of your surroundings
Some people are homebodies, and they're used to being in their community. Once you start to travel, you may not realize how different other cities, states, and places are. You can find yourself in a bad situation if you don't pay close attention to your surroundings.
Luckily, I had my dog with me and I always carry a pocket knife (Leatherman to be exact). Although these two things don't provide complete protection... it still made me feel a little better. If you plan on traveling, invest in a taser or pepper spray. Little things like this can deter "bad guys" and give you more time to get yourself out of sticky situations.
6. Purchase a power inverter
When you are in the car for five hours at a time every single day, having an inverter is important (especially if you work on your computer often.) You will find this handy for multiple different things, whether it's your laptop charger, phone charger, or anything else you want to plug in. It's so much more useful than a typical charger that you plug into the "cigarette lighter."
7. Book your hotels through a booking application
This way, you can get points or save up nights for free hotel stays. I rounded up almost $1000 in free hotel stays from using booking apps!
8. Keep a case of water in the back
This is life-saving and way cheaper than buying water separately. It's something that can be so easily overlooked if you don't think about it.
9. Take plenty of pictures and videos
Regardless of the reason you are traveling, you want to be able to look back on those times. For me personally, it isn't difficult to snap photos. I'm always capturing moments and then later reminiscing.
Being on the road sounds like fun, but it can get difficult and wear on you as time goes on. Be prepared for what comes with life on the road, and remember to keep up with your inner self.