Archive for the tag “college”

Five Places in the U.S. You Need to See Before You Graduate

Everyone has a mental list of the places they want to see, even if that list only has one or two places. Personally, I could tell you a hundred places I want to see. But have you thought about what you want to see before you graduate college? No need to sit and think about it – here’s a list of the top five places you need to see right here in the U.S.

1. Washington D.C.

The Capitol, Washington D.C.

The Capitol, Washington D.C./DerFussi on Flickr.com via Creative Commons license

This one is self-explanatory. We can learn all about the history of our country from professors and textbooks, and still not truly understand the significance until we see it with our own eyes. Have you ever stood in front of our Constitution and had John Hancock’s authentic signature staring you back in the face? If not, it’s time you make your way to this historic capital. Read National Geographic’s list of Must-Dos for an overview, and Budget Travel’s 20 Best-Kept Secrets of Washington for some great ideas that won’t empty your wallet.

2. New York City

Times Square, NYC

Times Square, NYC/kaysha on Flickr.com via Creative Commons license

College is the perfect time to visit this great city, even if you’ve seen it before. I guarantee you will see something new every time you make the trip. You don’t need to have a big-city personality to appreciate the commerce and culture surrounding Manhattan. From Central Park to Chinatown to Soho and back, there’s something for everybody. My personal favorite is the American Museum of Natural History (unfortunately, the displays don’t come alive at night). Visit nycgo.com to find some more must-sees!

3. Chicago

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline/Nimesh M on Flickr.com via Creative Commons license

This one is a personal favorite of mine. I just can’t get over the amazing views and beautiful architecture. Be sure to stop by Willis Tower and Michigan Avenue when you’re in town to get a feel for the city. I also highly suggest seeing Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry when you have the chance – I guarantee you’ve never seen museums like these! If you feel like splurging, make a reservation at the incredible Signature Room for dinner 95 floors above the city.

4. Portland

Keep Portland Weird

Portland, OR/Canadian Veggie on Flickr.com via Creative Commons license

When you step foot in Portland, it immediately feels like a quirky college town. You can feel it in the eclectic shops that line the streets. I first noticed it when a guy jumped out of a parked van in a monkey suit and started dancing to funky music on the sidewalk. Trust me, you need to schedule a trip to Portland before you graduate. Top two locations to see – Voodoo Doughnuts and Powell’s Books. Also, try to get in a free Secrets of Portlandia walking tour for even more of that authentic feel.

5. San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco/www.alainpicardus.com on Flickr.com via Creative Commons license

Last, but by no means least – San Francisco! After you visit the Golden Gate bridge, make sure you soak in the atmosphere of the city, with its cable cars and winding streets. Union Square is a must-see destination if you want to shop, or just grab some great food. I also recommend seeing Alcatraz while you’re there; it’s definitely an interesting piece of U.S. history. Check out ‘How to Save Money in San Francisco‘ for more tips.

Click the map above to find all the locations mentioned in this post!

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How To Accomplish The Classic College Road Trip

The Road to California

Road Trip to California, 2009

Who doesn’t want the chance to just pack up the car and take off for a while with great friends? That’s right – it’s time to road trip.

These days, a college road trip is practically a rite of passage. So if you haven’t done it before, it’s time to start planning. A road trip is the perfect opportunity to escape the mundane day-to-day and have an unpredictable adventure. College is the best chance to take off, because there are still summer breaks left before hitting the “real world.” Getting to see new places is just an added bonus!

First things first. Before you start to plan out the trip, make sure you bring the right people with you. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with whomever you choose, so take the time to pick someone that won’t drive you crazy six hours into the trip.

If you have no idea who would make a good travel buddy, consider what you want to do on the trip. Do you want to party, or are you more in the mood for some general sight-seeing? If you want have a crazy experience, but you bring your best friend who hates to go out, you’re in for a disaster of a trip. Here’s some more tips to make sure you pick the right travel buddy!

Once you decide who you want to go with, it’s time to pick where you’re going. There are plenty of road trip routes out there, so you’re bound to find something that you haven’t seen before.

One of the most well-known routes is California’s Pacific Coast Highway, which sports some spectacular cliff-hugging views basked in sunshine. It’s definitely a must-see in the summertime. If you’re looking for something on the East Coast, you might try driving Maryland’s Historic National Road or take a Gulf Coast trip from Florida to Mississippi. Want something in the middle? Visit Route 83, which takes you from Mexico to Canada, exploring some spectacular landscape along the way. Personally, I’m partial to the I-10 route across the southern United States, from Los Angeles to Florida.

Packing the Car

Packing the Car/Kaci Carpenter

When it comes time to pack, there are a few things every road-tripper needs to bring.

Probably the most important thing you need is a map. Even if you have an awesome smartphone with every app known to man, you should still consider packing a map. What if that fantastic little gadget dies (gasp!) and you find yourself unable to charge it? Trust me, you want a map just in case.

Next, you need some great music. Let’s face it – you’re going to run out of things to talk about at some point. So make sure you have a stellar playlist handy for the trip.

Also, make sure you pack plenty of food. Try to bring something healthy along, even if you do load up on M&Ms and Snickers. Take it from me, you don’t feel great after three straight days of sugar and fast food.

Tara, a senior at Arizona State University, says that going on a road trip is the chance to find some great new food.

“Look for all the local places,” Tara said. “Don’t go to McDonald’s when there’s a local restaurant across the street. Branch out.”

A few more essentials for the trip (courtesy of HowStuffWorks): hand sanitizer, tissues, a roll of toilet paper (yes, you might need it), comfy clothes, pillows and blankets, and a camera. Definitely a camera!

Once you get on the road, be sure to keep an open mind. You don’t need to have every second planned out.

Kaci, a junior, has gone on more than a few road trips in recent years. Of all the things she’s learned driving across the country, she says being flexible is key.

“Don’t be afraid of making stops when no one is up for driving anymore,” Kaci said. “Check out a view, stop at a nearby park, sit down for a meal. One trip, we made a pact to stop and try out anywhere that boasted having ‘the best’ or ‘world famous’ pie.”

Road trips are all about getting out and exploring. So what are you waiting for? Go plan your dream trip! And then post all those fantastic pictures on here.

If you’ve gone on a great road trip, or one that went horribly wrong, share your experiences below! All suggestions and stories are welcome.

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