If you want to write about your travel experiences like I do than you may have to step outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. This is especially true if the audience you’re writing for appreciates people, places, activities, and events that are off the beaten path or is on a tight budget. How do I mix it up? Here’s a few ideas from my recent road trip to Texas:
Get off the major highways whenever possible
The big interstates can’t be beat for speed and convenience when you’re in a hurry. But if you have a few minutes to spare, there is so much more to discover meandering along the smaller byways. For example when we drove from Memphis to Nashville on Route 40 we discovered that all of the rest areas highlight different singers and musicians. The one we used was dedicated to Ike and Tina Turner, complete with stories, history, and photos.
On the road between Dallas and Austen, we found a small Czech settlement, with The Czech Stop, a gas station complete with signs in Czech and delicious kolaches, next to the Czech Inn (get it?!)
Don’t sleep in the same place every night
Though we didn’t stay in the Czech Inn, we did experiment with a variety of accommodations, ranging from a centrally located hotel in Dallas to some low-budget motels in Natchez Mississippi and Nashville. We also camped in a variety of venues, a KOA in San Antonio, an Army Corp of Engineers campground at Canyon Lake, and the Davy Crockett State Campground in Tennessee. This allows you to meet all kinds of people, both guests and staff, and gather informational tidbits that you might not have run across otherwise.
Find out where the locals eat and drink
In Dallas, this meant my college-age son and his friends. We ate some of the best meals I’ve ever had because students like to eat, keep irregular hours, and have no money! He took us to an awesome city taco place, a trendy club, a Brazilian café, and a fried chicken joint.
Visiting Austin, I shamelessly eavesdropped on two businesswomen talking about a sweet treat they just had to have from the Airstream trailer parked across the street and thus was able to experience the most delicious cupcake, the “John Lemon” that I have ever had in my life!
In San Antonio, we asked the woman at the Chamber of Commerce where we could find the best low-cost Mexican meal on the River Walk and she did not steer us wrong! We didn’t even have room for dessert!
Read the local newspapers and “City Life” guides
These contain a wealth of information, including arts and restaurant reviews, profiles of local businessmen and women, community calendars, and advertising for special events as well as regular happenings.
Last but not least, don’t forget to record all of your favorite stops in your travel journal.
Got any good travel tips to share? Feel free to email me!