October is coming to a close, which means we will soon have a long winter break to binge-watch our favorite shows, I recommend Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Jane the Virgin, movies and text our old high school friends to hang out, even though we both know it’s not going to happen.

I would like to suggest an alternative procrastination activity. How about daydreaming a short road trip with your friends? You could use those days to make hilarious memories, go on long night drives and test the bounds of friendships.

With everyone pitching in and attempting to plan accordingly, a road trip is something that could definitely help you clear your head and make you realize just how much you love belting out “Bang Bang” by Jessie J or any N’SYNC song, if you are honest with yourself.

Things that are super helpful during a road trip:

  • Get a Groupon account. No, it’s not just for suburban moms. Click on the area(s) that you want to visit and the offers for restaurants, festivals and shops will pop up. I took a boat ride in Pittsburgh for 50 percent less than the original price. Groupon saves lives and allows your broke college heart to rejoice with a nice trip or gift.
  • If you’re an art or music nerd like me, check the social media accounts of the museums in the city and a list all of the free events that they are having during those days. As someone who lives close to D.C., regularly stalking the Smithsonian museums on Twitter has helped me see my favorite artists, including an Ottawa electro group, A Tribe Called Red.
  • Check the traffic! Ask someone that lives on the Beltway and download the app that they use in order to track the traffic and speed cameras. You don’t want any tickets during your trip.
  • Stock up on quarters. Bring cash–paper money is better than plastic money.
  • For safety purposes, especially if you are a woman, buy a can of pepper spray and a taser. I got both of them, suspiciously in pink, on Amazon for less than $10. There’s no harm in being prepared.

Here are a few spots to visit:

Pittsburgh

Also known as the steel city, Pittsburgh has about a thousand colleges crammed into hectic streets and offer some of the most amazing food. You can take a ride on the Gateway Clipper, a boat tour that takes you through on the three rivers,Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela, which meet near the city. If you have never been to Pittsburgh, it’s a great way to learn some trivia, such as the fact that an architect from Stubbins Associates wasn’t allowed to construct the highest building in Pittsburgh because it would mess with the skyline.

In retaliation he basically designed a middle finger on top of it. Google Highmark building, it’s true. Also, you can visit some rad restaurants like Conflict Kitchen, Parmanti Brother’s or Pamela’s diner. If you are in the mood to shop, head down to the Strip district, buy some leather bracelets and take photos of the vivid street art. If you are not afraid of heights, take the Incline to Mount Washington, which looks out over the bustling city.

California

Ha. Ha. Who can afford that. This is a joke.

Riprap Trail in Virginia

If you’re into camping or want to plunge into nature for a few days, I suggest Shenandoah National Park and taking the Riprap trail, which features a 9.8 mile circuit that at the end touches the Appalachian Trail. During spring, the park is bursting with pink flowers and butterflies, perfect for practicing your photography skills. Geocaching is also really popular around this area so if you are interested in joining the trend, go for it!

Great Falls

You’ve probably heard of the Billy Goat trail. Whether you want to kayak, camp or hike– this is a great place to let your mind unwind and test out your hiking skills. I saw people rock-climbing as well, so if you aren’t terrified of heights like I am, go for it! The entry fee is $10 and with packed lunches and a good supply of water, your trip will be great!

New York, New York

One day trip to NYC, please? Hotels are incredibly expensive in the Big Apple. Unless all of your friends share the cost of the hotel, I suggest only going there for a day and checking out what you most desire! The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art are on my own bucket list. For shopping, go to either Soho or other small thrift stores around there. Bubble tea in Chinatown and cannolis at Little Italy are waiting for you as well!

If worse comes to worse and your squad can’t get a car, take Megabus. One time a Van Gogh-look-alike sat next to me while I was reading Van Gogh’s biography on the way to NYC. Coincidence? I think not.

Featured Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Flickr user Zach Dischner.

WritersBloc_Headshots_24Karla Casique is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at karlacasique@hotmail.com.

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