8 Road Trips That Can Be Done On The Cheap

If you’ve opted to forego the pricey European summer vacation in favor of a more budget-friendly road trip in the States, you’re already ahead of the game in terms of saving. But while low-cost accommodations and meals will undoubtedly cut costs, diving head-first into a spontaneous cross-country excursion could still result in a nasty surprise in the form of a scary credit card bill. Carefully plotting out your journey from beginning to end will spare you any unpleasant financial surprises, and will take the guesswork out of where to eat, sleep, and sightsee. Here are some of the very best American road trips that can be done on a strict budget:

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8 Road Trips That Can Be Done On The Cheap

  1. Big Bear Lake, California.
    The trip from San Francisco to Big Bear is just shy of eight hours—the perfect amount of time to blast your favorite Spotify playlists and still have time for some juicy podcasts. And if you’re in Los Angeles, Big Bear is the ideal quick and easy escape from the big city (it’s about 100 miles northeast of L.A. proper). The mountain resort is a perfect budget-friendly destination, thanks to its comprehensive website full of online coupons for everything from dining and shopping to lodging and recreation. There’s no cost to visit the destination itself, so with a little research, you can tailor-make a stay that’s totally affordable.
  2. Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
    You’ve seen the seemingly endless stream of Instagram pics—now it’s time to get your own stunning selfie. Antelope Canyon is easily accessible from a number of starting points, including Phoenix, AZ, Nevada, or Utah. The epic attraction is also close to the Grand Canyon, so if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, this route will pack plenty of action. The canyon is located on Native American Navajo territory and requires a $6 entry fee. You can try your luck with local tour groups at the canyon entrance, or make a reservation ahead of time for under $40 per person.

    Antelope-Canyon-Arizona

  3. Florida Keys, Florida.
    A short and sweet trip south of Miami is the two-hour drive from Key West to Key Largo. The quick escape is packed with historic sites like Victorian mansions and museums (the Hemingway Home was built in 1851 and it’s where the iconic writer lived from 1931 to 1940—admission is jut $14). And if you’re looking for a nature-based adventure, for just $12, you can see hundreds of butterflies, birds, and tropical plants at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory.
  4. Big Sur, California.
    This central coast California destination is a must for outdoorsy types. It takes less than three hours to drive the 145 miles from San Francisco, and accommodations can be pretty cost-effective since campsites are plentiful (some cost as little as $15 a night, but you’ll have to make advanced reservations). If roughing it isn’t really your thing, you can indulge in some self-care without totally splurging—take a late-night dip in the healing waters at Esalen hot springs for just $35.

  5. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana.
    If a 12-mile hike sounds like your idea of the perfect way to cap off a road trip, then consider driving Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. The high-altitude, 50-mile winding route connects the East and West passes of Glacier National Park, and includes access to the Highline Trail, a wildflower-dotted hiking path that’s not for the faint of heart—but totally free to try.
  6. Canyon Country, Utah.
    National park connoisseurs will definitely want to make an adventure out of a Southern Utah excursion. Within just 650 miles of desert, you’ll find five national parks that some people consider among the best in the country. Drive from Moab to Grand Junction in just 90 minutes, and you’ll have a chance to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands (both cost just $30 for seven days’ worth of admission per private vehicle).

  7. Great Lakes Seaway Trail, New York and Pennsylvania.
    Get a serious history lesson on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, one of the first American roads to be designated as a National Scenic Byway. The 518-mile route follows along the shores of Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River and includes an astounding 40 state parks. Presque Isle State Park is one worthy stop in particular. The (free!) natural attraction is a 3,200-acre peninsula that features miles of beach.
  8. The Loneliest Road, Nevada.
    Okay, yes, the name is a drag, but you’re bound to have a pretty great time traversing this largely-isolated section of U.S. Highway 50. Because the route follows the Pony Express path, there are actually quite a few must-see attractions on the drive from Carson City to Baker, including hot springs and old mining towns.

    Nevada

Before you hit the road, you’ll need to have a car insurance company that has you covered. If you’re not a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Visit metromile.com for a free quote today.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

How to Road Trip on Less Than $100 Per Day

If you’ve already mapped out your budget for that epic upcoming road trip—nice work! You’re one step closer to turning your behind-the-wheel fantasies into reality and activating that out-of-office automatic email reply.

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But if you did all the calculations and discovered you’re a lot more strapped for cash than you realized, you might be on the brink of reconsidering that late summer getaway. Fear not, financially-challenged adventurer: you can still put together a fun, fruitful escape that’s actually affordable. Here are some strategies.

How to Road Trip on Less Than $100 Per Day

  1. Choose wisely. Sure, landing in a major metropolis might sound like the most epic way to bookend your trip, but big cities like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco are notoriously expensive (which you might already know if the purpose of your trip is to try and get away from one of those places). Picking less popular points along the journey will inevitably save you money on everything from gas to food to lodging. For example: Napa Valley might call to your wine-loving heart and soul, but if you set your sights about 400 miles south, you’ll find plenty of amazing vino-themed attractions at a far lower rate. Go super simple and plan ahead, and you may be able to score a basic motel room for under $75 a night (leaving the rest for gas and food).
  2. Gas up on the go. Rather than fueling up in a big city (are you seeing a theme here?), stop for gas in small towns, where you’re more likely to save cents on the gallon. And do a quick search of the app store—there are several money-saving tools you can download directly on your phone that will help you locate the cheapest gas in your area. According to GasBuddy, the cheapest gas right now in California is $2.99 per gallon in Turlock. Rates per gallon in bigger cities like San Francisco and San Jose are close to $4. The most common cars in America have gas tanks that hold about 15 gallons, so just stopping at an off-the-beaten-path station could save you about $15 (a full tank at $2.99 is about $44.85 versus $60 at the higher rate).
  3. Find free fun. It’s easy to blow a ton of cash on tourist traps, but if you do some advanced planning, you’ll find there are tons of totally free attractions, landmarks, and activities all throughout the country. Need some inspiration? Here’s a list of must-see landmarks to get you started! And if you don’t see your destination on the list, do some digging to see if local museums offer free days or if you can join a no-cost walking tour.
  4. Shop smart. The simplest way to kiss your dollar bills goodbye is by dining at a chain restaurant, diner, or mini-mart at every stop along the way. It’s totally possible to spend way less than $50 a day on food if you plan ahead and set yourself up for success. Packing snacks before you hit the road is your best option for curbing cravings and staying within your budget. Bring along items like pretzels, rice cakes, nuts, and dried fruit that will quell hunger pangs and keep you satiated between stops. And consider loading up a small cooler with heartier perishable items like hard-boiled eggs and yogurts. Not only can these items keep you going between meals, but they make for great ingredients for an on-the-go breakfast. Prices will of course vary depending on where you stock up on snack staples, but if you hit a major supermarket, you can definitely find a six-pack of yogurt, a jar of peanut butter, and a pack of bagels for well under $20—and that could be breakfast for days! Look for local eateries and avoid chain restaurants, and you can definitely get away with keeping costs low.
  5. Make sure you’re using Metromile. Even if you’re traveling long distances, pay-per-mile insurance makes perfect sense. That’s because Metromile charges a low monthly base rate as well as a pay-per-mile rate, capping customers’ daily mileage costs at 250 miles/day (150 miles/day in New Jersey). So if you hit that magic number, you’re still likely to save big bucks. Your personal rate will vary depending on a number of factors like your age, gender, location, driving history, etc., but if you’re driving less than 10,000 miles a year, there’s a good chance Metromile is the provider for you. And since you’ll be paying that low rate on a monthly basis, the impact on your daily budget will be pretty minimal (though that may not be the case for other traditional insurers).

Aren’t a Metromile customer? Any chance you read that and decided it’s time to seriously reconsider your current car insurance provider? Awesome. It’s time to visit www.metromile.com and get your free quote today.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

How to Calculate a Daily Road Trip Travel Budget

It’s no secret that vacation planning can be headache-inducing. The logistics, scheduling, and reservations are painful enough to figure out, but then there’s that money issue. If you’ve decided to swap the sky-high cost of airfare for a more affordable car trip, you’re already on the road to big savings (all puns totally intended). But even if you’ve figured out the tricks for snagging sweet hotel deals and cutting corners to save cash, you’ll still be faced with plenty of financial decisions as you drive. The best way to avoid an unpleasant post-trip credit card bill is to set a realistic budget that keeps you in check while leaving room for plenty of fun—this is a vacation, after all.

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Here’s how to calculate a daily road trip allowance:

  1. See what you’re working with. To get the ball rolling, it’s best to know exactly how much money is in the pot, so to speak. To do that, take your monthly income and subtract all your expenses (car insurance, rent, phone bill, cable TV that you sadly won’t be watching while traveling, etc.). Once you have that leftover number, consider that your limit. Sure, you could charge outside your means, but that pretty much defeats the whole “traveling on a budget” concept. Unless you have a special savings fund to pull from, stick to spending within your monthly net income.
  2. Figure out your fueling needs. The most obvious expense you’ll encounter on a regular basis is, of course, gas. If you’re traversing the country, it may be tough to pin down an specific price per gallon, since costs vary from place to place. Even if you can’t land on an exact dollar amount, you can take an educated guess and round up, just to be safe. And if you have no idea where the open road is taking you, just rely on the national average, which is currently $2.85 per gallon.

    Your total for the day will of course depend on your vehicle’s tank and the amount your driving per day. But for clarity’s sake, here’s an example: Some of the most common cars in America have gas tanks that hold about 15 gallons, and get up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. If you’re driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles one day, that’s about 383 miles, which you should be able to do on one tank of gas (15 x 30 = 450 miles). Based on the national average, that’ll cost you about $43 if that’s all you’re driving in a day, but it’s worth rounding up to $50 to be safe (or more to be extra safe).

    A few more ways to save on gas:

    • Gas Buddy and Gas Guru are two apps that help you locate the cheapest fuel around.
    • Community-based app Waze offers real-time traffic information and gas prices. Be sure to keep your oil fresh, engine tuned, and tires inflated to ensure better mileage, and when you can, fill up outside of big cities, where prices are often way higher.

    And of course, if you’re a Metromile customer, you’ll want to make sure to keep an eye on your daily distance since you have the benefit of pay-per-mile coverage. If you’re worried about accruing a big bill because you’re traveling—relax. Metromile caps the daily mileage costs at 250 miles/day (150 miles/day in New Jersey). But if you’d prefer to stay under that limit, map out your daily route ahead of time, and make sure to pull over once you’ve hit that self-imposed max. Metromile charges a low monthly base rate as well as that pay-per-mile rate, so chances are, you’ll still save big—whether you’re driving all day or limiting your miles—just because you’re a Metromile customer. Congrats!

  3. Factor in accommodations. This will of course vary tremendously depending on whether you’re camping, glamping, or going for full-out luxury (that last one probably shouldn’t be in the cards if you’re trying to save…but you knew that). While the current average daily rate for a U.S. hotel hovers around $127, that amount could fluctuate a ton. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to sidestep exorbitant hotel costs, so take advantage of every tip and trick you can ahead of time!
  4. Eat economically. The simplest way to slip up and spend way more than expected is to fall into a “treat yo’self” mentality when it comes to food. Yes, you’re on vacation, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a steak dinner is in order every night (those four bags of chips at each rest stop may not be a great idea either). If you have no idea how to begin calculating an approximate food allowance, consider allotting $5 a day for breakfast, about $10 for lunch, and $15 to $30 for dinner. That should give you a fair amount of wiggle room without leaving you ravenous. But eating cheap doesn’t have to mean subsisting on an all-junk diet. Some ways to spend less that don’t involve drive-through at every stop:

    • Hit the grocery store. Better yet, before your trip, pay a visit to a bulk store and stock up on big quantities of wholesome car-safe snacks that don’t require refrigeration (think: rice cakes, pretzels, popcorn, etc.). And invest in a cooler to pack nutritious perishables (yogurt, string cheese, hard boiled eggs, etc.). The accessory will pay for itself when you realize how much you’ll be saving on road snacks.
    • Go halfsies. Traveling with family or friends? Consider splitting entrees when you sit down for meals. Portion sizes at most restaurants are way beyond single serving, and since you probably won’t be hauling leftovers with you, order a single meal for two.
    • Eat breakfast before you go out if you can. If you are staying in a hotel, you might just be able to score a free breakfast buffet. And even if that’s not the case, you can still make a pretty hearty morning meal without overspending at a diner. Oatmeal packets are awesome options to keep on hand (just add water!), and fruit, granola bars, and more can set you up with a solid base so you’re not starving by lunchtime.
    • Eat like a local. Talk to people around town and ask where they love to dine. Chances are, it probably won’t be at a chain restaurant. You’re more likely to find a delicious, affordable destination off-the-beaten-path if you do a little research.

If you’re not a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Visit metromile.com for a free quote today. Happy trails!

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

How to Find Great Hotel Deals on the Road

Your bags are packed, your route is set, and the perfect road trip is just a few sleeps away. Which reminds you…sleep. Where are you going to sleep?

When you’re crossing off to-dos in preparation for a driving vacation, you might remember to stock up on snacks and get your engine examined (both good things!), but you might forget the small matter of accommodations. The good news is that nowadays, you can use an endless array of apps to book a hotel room at any time. The bad news is those “last minute deals” are rarely the money-savers they claim to be.

But back to the good news: it’s totally possible to score an awesome room at a great rate if you know which hotel hacks to implement.

Here’s your handy how-to guide on booking affordable accommodations—even at the eleventh hour

  • Compare, compare, compare. The beauty of the abundance of hotel booking sites and apps is that you don’t have to swoop on the first deal you see. While it’s always a good idea to get the lay of the land from sites like Kayak and Expedia, once you have an idea of what’s out there, you can put your search engine to use and see if the specific properties listed are offering any kinds of promotions not mentioned on the money-saver sites. You might even find that a hotel’s website offers a lower rate than what’s listed anywhere else. So start sleuthing and don’t be afraid to use your smartphone as an actual phone and call the front desk!
  • Time your stay wisely. Sure, you’ll need to sleep somewhere every night you’re on the open road, but if you’re eyeing a particularly posh property (i.e. anything fancier than a Motel 6), try making your reservation mid-week. Fridays and Saturdays are peak nights for most places, so if you can plan to stay in more modest digs those nights, you may be able to land a good deal on more upscale locations Sunday through Thursday.
  • Skip hotels altogether. Traditional hotels aren’t the only travel option anymore, thanks to websites like Airbnb that allow you to stay in local apartments and homes. While you may not wake up to maid service every morning, you could potentially get a lot more space for a better price. This option is great for big groups, but if you’re on your own, you might consider staying a hostel. Before you cringe at the thought, know that modern hostels aren’t necessarily the nightmarish pseudo-dorms of your college days. Many major cities now have upgraded hostels that are still cheaper than hotels but offer nice perks like wifi, laundry, kitchens, and more.
  • Reach out to a pro. It may seem crazy to abandon the apps altogether, but hear us out: travel agents are often able to negotiate preferred rates us normies simply can’t access, and some can even get you free food and upgrades. Another plus: many agents don’t charge a fee for hotel booking services.
  • Put your credit card to use. While it’s never a good idea to charge your life away, all that shopping might come in handy when it’s time to travel. Many credit card companies offer reward points that you can redeem for hotels, flights, and more. Be sure to check your current program and see if you’re eligible for hotel discounts or free bookings.

Now that you know how to stay in style while saving cash, why not keep the penny-wise vibe alive and find car insurance that fits your needs? Visit metromile.com today to get a free quote.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

The Top 5 Camping Spots in Northern California

Maybe we’re a little bit biased, but we sure do love our little City by the Bay. There’s nothing quite like brunch at Park Tavern, or dancing and drinks at Blondie’s in the Mission. However – sometimes living in San Francisco can be challenging. When city life gets to be a little too much and we could use a break, the first thing on our minds is hitting the road and getting some much-needed fresh air.

Whether you’re a camping newbie or a seasoned pro who feels at home next to a roaring campfire, there’s no doubt that northern California has some of the best camping spots in the country. From exquisite beaches to the secluded mountains (and occasional dormant volcano), here are the ones that come out at the top of our list!

The Top 5 Camping Spots in Northern California

  1. Lassen Volcanic National Park:
  2. Beautiful Lassen Volcanic National Park is home to oodles of geothermal activity, as the park is one of the only places in the world where all four types of volcanoes can be found. Camp in one of the 179 campsites on the stunning Manzanita Lake, and admire the natural beauty of the national park; swim, kayak, and hike around the lake, too. The campground at Manzanita Lake has showers, flush toilets, even a coin-operated laundry. No camping gear? It’s available there for rent, or stay in one of an assortment of tidy cabins and bunkhouses.

  3. Lava Beds National Monument:
  4. Punctuated by scrabbly earth and lava rocks, at first glance the Lava Beds National Park seems barren and desolate. But take a closer look. Go camping at Indian Well Campground, and snag one of the 43 campsites (as they are on a first-come-first-served basis). Sites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers and motorhomes up to 30 feet.

  5. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park:
  6. The stunning McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park is within the Cascade Range and Modoc Plateau natural region, with forest and five miles of streamside and lake shoreline, including a portion of Lake Britton. The park’s centerpiece is the 129-foot Burney Falls, which, although it is not the highest or largest waterfall in the state, it might possibly be the most beautiful! The park’s landscape was created by volcanic activity and erosion from weather and streams. Campers, keep in mind: there will be road construction near McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park for the summer of 2018. Visitors traveling from Redding on Eastbound Highway 299 can expect delays from Johnson Park to Highway 89 junction with Highway 299.

  7. Jedediah Redwoods State Park:
  8. Spend the night sleeping under the giant redwoods. Pitch your tent at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, northeast of Crescent City. Its 86-site developed campground sits beside the burbling, emerald green Smith River in a lush glade, complete with ferns and old-growth trees. You can walk from your tent to the 340-foot Stout Tree and its mammoth brethren, or go for a drive on spectacular Howland Hill Road – a 10-mile winding dirt road through old-growth redwoods.

  9. Lake Tahoe:
  10. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our beloved Lake Tahoe. The camping at Lake Tahoe is beyond – between the majestic mountainous views and shimmering blue water, you can’t go wrong pitching your tent at Lake Tahoe. Some of the best campgrounds are in the Lake Tahoe area include Camp Richardson, Sugar Pine Point Campground, and Sand Harbor. Bike, kayak, and hike while taking in the fresh mountain air at one of California’s crowning jewels.

Now, who’s ready to pack up the camping gear and hit the road? Remember that Metromile caps your daily mileage at 250/miles per day in California, so don’t worry about racking up crazy mileage – we’ve got you covered! If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, what are you waiting for? Get a free quote today to find out how much we could allow you to save every year!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

Summer Travel: 10 Things You’re Forgetting To Do

Isn’t summer the best? The days are longer, the weather is warmer, and your boss seems to be slightly more lenient when you leave for the weekend on a Friday at 3pm. You’ve planned every minute detail of your trip, packed the kids and the dog up and everyone has their Ass In Seat™ – so what are you forgetting? Keep scrolling to find out (hint: they’re important AF)!

10 Things You’re Forgetting To Do Before Your Summer Travels

  1. Turn the AC off. If you accidentally leave your AC running for a week straight, be prepared to come home to an enormous electric bill. No matter how hot it will be when you’re gone, always make sure to turn off your AC before leaving for your trip – unless you have an exorbitant amount of extra money to afford to keep an empty house cool.
  2. Put a bottle of water in your freezer. This tip is a two-parter. Part one: fill a clear water bottle up halfway and place in your freezer on its side. Part two: once the water has completely frozen, turn the bottle right-side up and keep frozen. If you return from your trip and some of the water has pooled and frozen on the bottom of the bottle (instead of staying frozen sideways), you’ll know that your home lost power for a period of time while you were gone. This means that the food in your freezer thawed out, potentially spoiled, and was refrozen when the power came back on. Gross.
  3. Make sure your car is parked in the shade. If you’re flying somewhere instead of taking a road trip, make sure your car is garaged or parked somewhere shady before you leave. Leaving your car out of the direct sun for days on end will help prevent the interior from fading and your dashboard from drying out and cracking. Bonus points if you use one of those giant silver windshield sun protectors!
  4. Clean out the fridge and take the trash out. I toyed with the idea of making this tip number one, because it’s probably one of the most important tips and I didn’t want you to skip over it whilst skimming. 1000% make sure to do this before you leave. If you forget to do it, your home will literally smell like hot garbage when you return.
  5. Passports. It seems obvious, but always double-check that you packed them. This also seems obvious – but this tip only applies if you’re traveling internationally.
  6. Pay bills or schedule automatic payments. Paying bills is the last thing you want to be thinking about while you’re frolicking on your summer adventure, so pay them before you leave or set up automatic payments. If you’re a Metromile customer, your bill is already set up as an automatic payment – so that’s one bill already checked off your list!
  7. Make digital copies of important items like passports, etc. and email them to yourself and someone who isn’t traveling with you. If you lose your passport while traveling, the first thing that the US Embassy will ask is if you have a digital copy. Emailing them to yourself and someone who isn’t traveling with you also covers you in the event that your phone or laptop (with the digital copies saved) is stolen.
  8. Put your mail on hold. Thieves love to scope out houses or apartments with piled up mail and packages because it signals that no one has been home in a while. Contact USPS to have your mail put on hold while you’re traveling, or have a friend stop by to bring the mail inside daily.
  9. Call your bank. Imagine this – after a long day of traveling, you go to check into your hotel and your credit card is declined. Ugh. Many banks and credit card companies will flag charges in dissimilar locations as fraud and decline them. Be sure to take this proactive step and contact your bank and credit card companies to let them know the location you’re traveling to and the dates you’ll be there.
  10. Set your Out of Office response. Even though you might be out-of-pocket checking emails while you’re traveling, don’t forget to set your OOO responder on your work and personal email accounts. This will let your colleagues know that you’ll be slower to respond and will maybe get you off-the-hook for answering some of them until you return.

So, how are you feeling? Did you check everything off the list? Great! Go have fun on your summer adventure, and don’t worry – we’ll be here when you get back. If you haven’t made the switch to Metromile yet, the summer is a great time to check out a quote to find out how much you could be saving, so grab yours today! Have a fab time on your summer travels and be safe out there on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Summer is the perfect time to explore all the awesomeness America has to offer, but if you’re on a budget, you might feel like your options are severely limited. Fear not, ambitious traveler: some of the country’s best landmarks are actually surprisingly affordable, and some are even free! So pack your bags and hop in the car—you have some sights to see:

7 of The Most Affordable Travel Destinations in the U.S.

Williamsburg, VA
Step up your U.S. history trivia knowledge and travel to Colonial Williamsburg for some education and culture. If you take advantage of one of the special discounted passes, you can visit multiple historical sites and amusement parks for a fraction of the cost. And don’t forget to ride The Jamestown Ferry for great views—it’s completely free!

The Grand Canyon

If you haven’t made a pilgrimage to this natural wonder in northern Arizona, it’s definitely worth a visit. Officially designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the iconic canyon measures approximately 277 river miles in length and up to 18 miles in width. While hotels inside the site can be pricey, camping at the canyon can be totally wallet-friendly, and if you save your visit for September (or a few other select calendar dates throughout the year), you can even skip the entrance fee altogether.

Biloxi, MS
Maybe you don’t equate “beach vacation” with Mississippi, but believe it or not, Biloxi is full of sand, surf, and—cha ching!—plenty of casinos. Some of the properties may be high-priced, but if you book a bit in advance, you should be able to secure a spot at one of the town’s hotels for under $100 a night.

Memphis, TN

Where else can you visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland kingdom and tour the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll? Memphis is a super cool destination that simply doesn’t get enough attention for its multitude of tourist offerings—many of which are reasonably priced. If you opt for a Backstage Pass, you gain access to the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Sun Studio, Graceland and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music for one flat rate of $84.

Greenville, SC
Foodies, take note! Greenville has been making headlines for its burgeoning reputation as a culinary capital, and there’s plenty more to do when you’re not getting your grub on. The Greenville County Museum of Art houses collections by legends like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail is a must for bike riders.

Sequoia National Park

You can’t consider an outdoorsy California adventure complete until if you’ve hit up this majestic location, which is home to some of the world’s tallest trees. Snag a spot at one of the park’s 14 campgrounds to save money on lodging, and stock up on picnic items on your way in to avoid the marked up prices onsite.

Chicago, IL
People need to make a bigger deal out of this city’s stunning architecture and incomparable food scene. You can take in a ton of sights for free, like the Garfield Park Conservatory, and fill up on authentic cuisine for under $10 at classic spots like Portillo’s.

Ready to hit the open road? Make sure you have an insurer who has your back. If you haven’t yet made the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance, visit www.metromile.com today for a free quote.

Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

The 8 Best Spring Road Trip Destinations

The weather’s warming up, the kids have a break from school, and the open road is calling loud and clear. All those pleasant post-winter happenings can only mean one thing: Spring has officially sprung.
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Road trips are one great way to soak up some sunshine and scenery, whether you’re bonding with your family or exploring on your own. But if you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of picking a perfect destination, take a deep breath: With so many amazing sights from California to Maine and everywhere in between, you really can’t go wrong on the road.

Here are some of the very best road trip destinations to consider this spring:

1. California’s Pacific Coast Highway


California’s-Pacific-Coast-Highway
Highway 1 is by far the most scenic way to maneuver between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the 550-mile PCH has much more to offer beyond that commute. Drive from north to south to stay on the ocean-side of the road for the whole journey and you might just catch the sunset somewhere between Big Sur and Santa Monica.

2. Hawaii’s Hana Highway


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If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in this island paradise, up the ante with a super scenic 52-mile drive along the Road to Hana. You’ll see tropical flowers, bamboo fields, rainforests, and waterfalls from start to finish, but be prepared: there are over 600 hairpin turns and over 50 one-lane bridges to navigate for those stellar views.

3. Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway


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The 70-mile journey from Portland’s Columbia River to the 11,000-foot volcanic Mount Hood (the state’s highest peak) is a Pacific Northwest must. Wildflowers dot the landscape, and you’ll get to see Multnomah Falls, one of America’s tallest yearlong waterfalls.

4. New England Coast


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Boston is a great destination in and of itself, but if you follow the southern coast from Gloucester, Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut, you’ll find 250 miles of marine wildlife to look at and world-famous seafood to sample.

5. Michigan’s Gold Coast


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A beach getaway may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this northern state, but Americans have been flocking to Lake Michigan’s shores since the late 1800s. There are plenty of charming B&Bs and wineries to visit along the 300-mile western shoreline, and you can even take a surf break in New Buffalo!

6. Texas Hill Country


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Bask in gardens of bluebonnets as you drive the 87 miles that starts just north of Austin and continues through San Antonio and beyond. If you take U.S. 290 west to Johnson City’s Wildflower Loop and then move along U.S. 281 N, you’ll have a chance to see the state’s official bluebonnet capital, Burnet.

7. South Carolina’s Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway


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If you plan your trip just right, you might just catch the peach trees in full bloom along SC’s Highway 11, dubbed “Great Blue Hills of God” by the Cherokees. Starting in early June, you’ll be able to pick up loads of local fruit from roadside stands, and the 120-mile route features numerous waterfalls and covered bridges to dazzle the eye.

8. Maine’s Acadia All American Road


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Add birdwatching to your agenda if you’re planning to drive the coastal 40-mile road just outside of Acadia National Park: Bald eagles and nesting peregrine are known to frequent the area. The drive starts in Trenton and follows the 27-mile Park Loop Road before heading down to Sand Beach, Otter Cliff, and and Jordan Pond. You’ll get your fill of homemade treats at all the small town haunts along the way (and have the opportunity to work up a sweat hiking Acadia’s 1,532-foot Cadillac Mountain, which overlooks the Atlantic).

Need a car insurance plan that fits your road trip needs? If you’re a Metromile customer, your daily mileage charges are capped at 250 miles per day for each vehicle (150 miles per day in New Jersey). You’ll never be charged for the miles above those amounts in any calendar day.

Make the switch: Visit metromile.com/insurance to learn more and get a quick quote.


Michelle Konstantinovsky is a San Francisco-based journalist/writer/editor and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumna. She’s written extensively on health, body image, entertainment, lifestyle, design, and tech for outlets like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen, and a whole lot more. She’s also a contributing editor at Fitbit and the social media director at California Home + Design Magazine. She is an avid admirer of shiny objects, manatees, and preteen entertainment.

6 Tips For Road Tripping With Your Pets

Ah, vacation. Is there anything better than planning a fun getaway? The excitement of going somewhere new (or somewhere you’ve been 100 times!), the relaxation, the carefree mindset. The only downside, it seems, is leaving behind your furry friends. It’s hard to fully enjoy a vacation when you know your pet would love it as much as you do.

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The answer to this dilemma – take a road trip! Road trips offer the best of both worlds: vacation and time spent with your pets. Taking a road trip with your pet can be such a fun adventure for both of you, and with a bit of planning, may end up turning into your favorite vacation to date. Here are our 6 tips for having a safe and fun road trip with your pet.

6 Tips For Road Tripping With Your Pets

    1. Make a plan. Taking a roadtrip with your pet involves a bit more planning than just loading them into the car and puttering away. Keep in mind that your pet may have forgotten what it’s like to ride in a car, or may only have negative experiences riding in cars (going to the vet is anxiety-inducing for everyone involved). Plan to take your pet out on several shorter car rides, gradually lengthening the time spent in the car, prior to your road trip. This will ease your pet into the idea of riding in a car for longer periods of time.

    2. Pack their paperwork. If you’re planning to travel across state lines, be sure to pack your pet’s rabies vaccination records. While this generally isn’t an issue, some states will require this at certain interstate crossings or checkpoints (check out the list of states that require it here). Better to be safe than sorry and have to turn back!

    3. Plan your route. It’s important to ensure regular breaks throughout the road trip so your pet stays comfortable and happy. Plan to take a 15 to 30 minute break every 4 hours to allow your pet to stretch and relieve themselves. Also, check out this helpful planner tool for traveling with pets – just input your destination and it will provide pet-friendly options for hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and more along the way. Having a planned route at a leisurely pace will be more enjoyable for everyone – including you!

    4. Prepare a bag. Separate out your pet’s items from your own and have the bag handy. Items to pack include: food (at least a 3 day supply), bottled water, a bowl, leash, collar with ID tags, an old towel, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first aid, and any travel documents. Stick to providing your pet bottled water, as drinking water from an area that your pet isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort or digestive issues. Also, be sure to bring your pet’s pillows, bedding, and toys to provide a sense of familiarity while traveling to an unknown place.

    5. Tether while driving. Don’t allow your pet free reign of the car while you’re driving. Not only are unrestrained animals a distraction, they could potentially harm you or themselves while you’re operating the vehicle. A 60 lb. dog becomes a 2,700 lb. projectile in a sudden stop or accident at 35 miles per hour. Small animals like cats, rabbits, or rodents can climb under the pedals and prevent you from operating the vehicle. Harness or buckle your pets in, or place them in a secured crate – it’s safer for everyone!

    6. Arrange for care at your destination. If your final destination is at a place or event that will not have facilities for animals, such as a wedding or graduation, arrange for care at your destination. The unfamiliar environment will cause your pet more anxiety than at home, so be sure that your pet is being cared for by professionals. Also, this is a no-brainer, but do not leave your pets unattended in the car – even for a short amount of time. On a hot day, even with the windows open, your car will trap heat and become a furnace. On a cold day, a car can act as a refrigerator holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.

Now that you have the tools, it’s time to plan your next road trip with your pet! Metromile offers Pet Coverage to cover the cost of any pet injuries in case of an accident when you are on the road. Pet Coverage is included with collision coverage on all policies (not available in IL or VA) at no additional charge. Metromile’s Pet Coverage provides up to $1,000 in the event your dog or cat is injured as a result of a covered claim. Click here to get a quote with Metromile today!

Are you a road trippin’ vet? Do you take your pets with you every time? Sound off with your best tips for road trippin’ with your furry friends in the comments below!

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram.

6 Ways to Have a Great Road Trip Experience

The following post is from guest writer Gallard Joaquin, a freelance content writer with a background in travel and lifestyle. By traveling the world and writing about his experiences, he enjoys helping others find the most efficient means of travel, wherever their destination.

At almost 3.8 million square miles, the continental United States is a great place to have an epic road trip. With the varied landscapes from the snow-tipped mountains of Colorado to the lush prairies of the Midwest, there are plenty of environments to explore and a variety of things to see. But what’s the best way to have a road trip experience with your family or group of friends? Keep reading to learn about the six best road trip tips.

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1. Aim for Comfort

Despite sitting for a long period of time, road tripping can be exhausting work. It’s important not to wear yourself or your companions out. There are many ways you can accomplish this including never driving for more than eight hours a day, spending the extra dollar for a nicer hotel, taking periodic breaks along the way, and even considering a roomier passenger van rental. You don’t want to look at the road every morning with dread, thinking about your aching back.

2. Take Your Time

Part of the thrill of a good road trip is the journey, not where you ultimately end up. We all have schedules, but vacation isn’t about adhering to them. Several attractions and sights are easily missed if you only focus on the end result of your trip and sometimes these distractions from the road can become the most memorable part of the trip.

3. Have a General Plan

Despite the importance of relaxation, comfort, and exploration, it’s always good to have a plan for your road trip. Where are you going? What do you know you want to do when you get there? What route do you want to take? How much money are you able to spend? These are logistical questions that should always be considered when planning a road trip. A spiral-bound planner can hold all these details for you.

4. Consider Buying a Map

Speaking of planning, a road map can be your best friend on a road trip. We live in an era of amazing technology, like GPS and wi-fi, but these are luxuries you won’t always have as you’re crossing the great expanses of the United States. You don’t want to find yourself lost with no reception and therefore little recourse but to ask for directions.

5. Make Time (and Space) for Eating

You may have heard the term “hangry” before. That’s because it can definitely become a real problem and cause a lot of friction and conflict between your friends and family. You should have little trouble finding places to eat if you plan accordingly, but sometimes that might not be enough. Consider bringing “emergency food” or purchasing some along the way. A cooler filled with fruit, sandwiches and other fresh food can be a solution to this problem before it even comes up.

6. Remember to Plan Your Packing Ahead of Time

What and how you pack for your road trip can depend on a lot of things including where you’re staying, the type of car you’re driving, the length of your trip, and the number of people who are traveling with you. If you don’t plan ahead, you may find yourself with piles of luggage you didn’t realize you were going to have. Make sure you and your family or friends consider these questions before packing your luggage to ensure everything fits and no one has to repack.

Before hitting the open road, plan for a great experience with these great road trip tips. Try them out on your next cross country trip and decide which ones work best for you! Editor’s note: don’t forget that Metromile customers can road trip with ease — we don’t charge for miles driven over 250/day (150 in certain states).