Trip Takeaways

As you all probably know by now, the husband and I went on a little road trip this past weekend to visit my very pregnant friend whom I haven’t seen in years. It was a pretty chill weekend as she can’t move very much due to her load but I did learn a few things that I’ve decided to share with you all today.

  • All gas stations are not created equal

The hunt for a toothbrush had never been so tough until this weekend. Normally, when we go on a trip we take our electric toothbrush and spare toothbrush heads. Our toothbrush has been on the fritz lately and I think it’s dying after so many years of service. I figured we could take our toothpaste and just buy a pack of toothbrushes at the first gas station we stopped at. Wrong! Unlike the many gas stations in Ohio, the one’s in PA don’t care toothbrushes or toothpaste or any hygiene related products in general. I was seriously baffled and we ended up getting a pack from a pharmacy eventually.

  • Service plazas are better than rest stops

There is a distinct difference! I didn’t know that before. A rest stop has janky bathrooms and vending machines. A service plaza has all kinds of food options and huge fancy bathrooms! I think all rest stops should be converted to service plazas just to make any and all road trips more pleasant.

  • Cash only doesn’t really mean cash only

We are huge fans of not taking the super scenic route when it comes to getting to our destination quickly. That means we are on the turnpike for as long as we can be paying at each toll road. I usually take out enough cash to cover the tolls both ways. Pennsylvania, we found out, has ridiculous toll prices. We pulled up to one with this huge yellow sign that said “CASH ONLY” and was ready to pay only to find out I did not have enough cash on me and the husband didn’t have any cash on me. I freaked for about 10 seconds until the lady was like “do you have a card?” Well, well, well! Toll road signs lie! They will except plastic just so you know and aren’t like me freaking out and trying to see if there’s an ATM embedded in the mountain somewhere.

  • Human babies in the womb freak me out

I got to touch my friend’s 9 months pregnant belly and, guys, aliens exist. I felt it’s (she doesn’t know the gender so it’s an it) head moving around in there and it got the hiccups and it was extremely weird and my husband and I just had huge “woah” faces on. It’s really cool but really freaking freaky.

  • Third party bookings can overcharge you

This is real! I booked our hotel through Hotels.com because once you buy a certain number of nights, you get one free and they always talk about how they have the lowest prices. I’m not saying it’s always not true but in this case lowest prices were a lie. I prepaid to get locked in at the price even though you have the option to pay later. When we got to the hotel, I asked for a receipt to make sure the numbers matched up only to discover I had been overcharged! Hotels.com quoted me $70/night but the actual hotel only charged $50/night. I called customer service so fast! If it was a couple dollars difference I wouldn’t have made a fuss but that’s a $20 difference. Luckily they were great about it refunded me the difference. For the future, booking through third party is great but I would still call the hotel or go to their website and double check the prices for your booking dates to see if they match.

  • Reviews are always harsh and

The reviews for our hotel were pretty decent but I feel like some people were just flat out rude. Our stay was pretty comfortable and the staff was pretty friendly for the price we paid. There were a few things we wished could be better but we were int a 5 star Caesar’s Palace (and even those people still find something to complain about) but for the price we paid, it was a great stay. Look for the honest reviews when you’re looking at them, not the negative nancies who are being negative for the sake of being mean.

  • David’s Tea is the new Teavana

We went to this giant mall called King of Prussia and stumbled upon David’s Tea in there because my husband loooves loose leaf tea. We ended up buying all the oolong flavors including one called Lemon Pound Cake and let me tell you, it smells exactly like it’s title! We also got this one called Hot Chocolate which is a pu’erh tea (blacker than black tea) with literal chunks of milk and dark chocolate in it. I’m excited to drink these!


There you have it. My takeaways this trip. In about a month and a half, there will be another trip but this time we’re taking a plane instead of driving. Have you experienced any takeaways from a recent trip that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Nel

Happily married, bookaholic, Netflix-a-holic sharing random experiences and interpretations of my world which is brutally honest most of the time.

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30 thoughts on “Trip Takeaways

  1. We learned about third party booking the hard way too! They are all crooks and then you find out your points for booking are no good because you went through a third party! What????? I don’t think so!!! Lol

  2. Oh my, a tea called Lemon Pound Cake! Yum!

    So glad you enjoyed your trip and great advice here. Loved the cash only story. Do you think it’s because of the fees they get charged for using credit cards? Hmm…

    Great post, Nel. <3 Hope your week is out of this world!

    • Hmm. I didn’t even think of that! That could possibly be true. I think nowadays though with all these payment methods it could be much more streamlined and automated if cash wasn’t the only option.
      Thanks, Mischenko! I hope your week is even more fantastic! 😀

  3. An ATM embedded in the mountain 😂

    This party bookings!! Ugh that’s a lesson I learnt the hard way too. What I do now is look up places then find their direct contacts and make a booking. Otherwise, it’s an arm and a leg,

  4. I freaking love the King of Prussia mall!! In the interval between college graduation and before I started teaching, I lived in NJ with my husband who was still in the Air Force at the time and was stationed at McGuire AFB not far from Philly. We would go to the King of Prussia mall all the time! SO HUGE!! Good times…good memories 🙂 I’m glad you had a god trip! Alien babies, lol! My kids had hiccups all the freakin time, and I thought I was going to freak! It feels sooo weird.

    • It was so huge! There was a Tesla store! Blew our minds! And yes, human babies are aliens in the womb, haha. When it kicked her and you can see it’s little foot pop out I just couldn’t believe it!

      • LOL, you’re funny…but it is kinda true! Crazy when you can see the hand and put yours against it like you are holding it…always made me weepy, lol!! I’m going to have to tell Eric about the Tesla Store; he will love that! He was stationed up there 4 years except for the time he spent in Iraq and Afganistan and loved that mall, lol.

  5. I’m glad you are back safe and sound. I have questions: Where on earth did you find a hotel room for 50 bucks a night? Also…chunks of milk? Ewwww! Glad to have you back, girl! ❤️💕❤️💕❤️

    • I found the hotel on hotels.com but it was being advertised at $70 bucks a night so I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually only $50 bucks a night hence while I demanded a refund for my being overcharged haha. It was called The French Creek Inn. It was nice.
      Chunks milk chocolate! I might have typoed and didn’t notice. Didn’t sleep much last night considering it thunderstormed for most of it and I’m a really light sleeper. I missed you Linda! Always! 💕💜

  6. Hmm, my daughter and I just booked a trip and used all third party bookings so I will see if we get burnt. We are travelling to Scotland and Ireland though and it was easy to pay Canadian on the credit card than worry about fees for converting. I loved reading about your adventures and what you learned.

  7. I don’t know where you’re from, or forgot because of my bad memory, but I do think the New York/PA/NJ stations are a little different than elsewhere. NJ hardly even has stores associated with stations, and the rest stops only have a cafe and a few fast food restaurants.

    NJ gas stations always take credit cards or cash, but sometimes the cash price is cheaper than the credit card price, but not always. Note that if you’re ever in NJ gas stations are full service only. I think the only other full service only state is Oregon.

  8. gosh yes- it’s always surprisingly difficult to get things like toothbrushes when you forget/deliberately don’t pack one thinking “oh that’ll be easy to find”. I find it really hard getting the right price for hotels, cos sometimes the actual hotel charges less, but then if I don’t prepay, sometimes they’ll hike up the prices when I get there, so even if you booked at a certain price “guarantee” it’s never actually guaranteed (especially in Europe where they’re like “oh haven’t you heard of the city tax?”- they just keep adding on extra costs) Yeah I’m always careful of reviews for places that I’d probably be fine with, but someone else has found a reason to complain about. So if the person has legit complaints like bugs or something I’ll avoid it, but I’ve genuinely seen people complaining that a hostel is not a swanky hotel then I’m like “no shit sherlock”. 😉

    • You summed up my entire trip takeaway! That’s exactly what happened with the booking! I prepaid cause I was afraid to lose the room in case it was the last one and because it might have been more expensive when I got there even though all points turned out to be wrong. As for reviews, there are so many trolls and people with unrealistic expectations. Like you can’t expect a 2 star hotel to be 5 stars. There’s a reason you went cheap hahaha.

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