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If you guys have been following me on Instagram, you might have caught a glimpse of our recent cross-country road-trip. Rupert and I bought a new (old) house in Michigan, packed up our Los Angeles house (the photo above was just days before we left), rented it out and drove from Los Angeles, California to Grand Rapids, Michigan with a 3 year old, a 6 month old and two dogs. 11 days on the road, 10 nights of packing and un-packing a hotel room (because with babies it seems like you need 10,000 things just to survive), 46 hours in the car and 2,765 miles. To say it was challenging would be an understatement but in the effort to simplify our lives and slow down a bit, for our family, we are moving out of the city and into the woods.

As a business owner, mother, and an LA transplant, on and off the road, I am all about seeking simplicity and get thrilled about anything that can make my life easier. Grocery delivery? I’m in! Valet parking? Check!… Apps for everything? yep… A credit card with intuitive Cash Back rewards? Yes Please! So, I am partnering with American Express to share our route, some tips on how we made it through getting from point A above to point B and why we love the new American Express Cash Magnet™ Card. cross country road trip cross country road trip cross country road trip Our first stop was Vegas! Which brings me to my first tip…

1. Pre-book hotels! With the two kids and two dogs we knew we weren’t going to be able to just stop anywhere for the night so while a spontaneous road trip is really fun when you are footloose and fancy free, when you have a whole canine entourage, it’s a good idea to pre-book your stops along the way (we stayed in downtown Vegas).

cross country road trip Our next stop was Zion National Park (we stayed right at the edge of the national park in Springdale).

2. Plan your hotels in close proximity to the sights you want to see whenever possible. Sure, you can probably save a few dollars by staying in hotels out of the way but when you have kids and dogs, believe me, the closer the better. Any way to limit car time when you can is worth it.

cross country road trip cross country road trip Next we stayed in Provo, Utah, then Green River, Wyoming (that stretch of road is somewhere in Wyoming), then Newcastle, Wyoming to visit my sister, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (a stop in South Dakota pictured above).

Tip 3: Snacks and Snack and more Snacks.

Road trip food can be pretty rough so we did a huge shop for healthy snacks before we left LA to tide us over on long stretches through no man’s land or when one of the kids was sleeping and we didn’t dare stop for lunch as I couldn’t bear the thought of waking a sleeping baby. Also snacks are the key to happiness for a toddler and when they are happy that makes everything easier.

cross country road trip From South Dakota we stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where we watched the river boats along the Mississippi, then Escanaba, MI and took the scenic route through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Tip 4: Plan for the unexpected.

Pack first aid kits, a gas can, jumper cables, make sure your spare tire is in good shape and extra water. One great thing we have relied on in the past as an American Express Card Member is their Roadside Assistance® Hotline. Card Members are responsible for 3rd party expenses. Vehicle exclusions and other important restrictions apply, learn more here.It makes it easy to get a tow truck or locksmith out to assist in a roadside emergency.

cross country road trip cross country road trip cross country road trip In Michigan we took a day trip to Fayette, checking out the ghost town and northern Lake Michigan’s beautiful shores as well as the beach just south of the Mackinac Bridge. Our final stop was in Gaylord before we arrived to our new home in Grand Rapids.

Tip 5: Pack smart

When you are on a long road trip and are only staying at each hotel only one night at a time you can save some time and suitcase lugging if you pack each day’s outfit in large plastic bags for everyone and pack them in the same suitcase. This makes finding things so much easier and more organized. It also keeps all the clean clothes separate from the dirty clothes which saves you from the sniff test.

cross country road trip

Our final destination! #samuelfamilyfixer we made it and got our first walk-through of the house on video thanks to my dad. If you missed it on my IG story, I added it to my highlights.

Tip 6: Earn Cash Back on your purchases with a new American Express Card.

The reason I love my new American Express Cash Magnet Card is because it makes earning rewards from your credit card purchases super simple, it’s unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases. Gas, hotels, food. The list keeps going. Done and done. Terms apply, learn more here.

& apply for your own here.

Now excuse me while I go put my Card to heavy use and earn all that Cash Back trying to furnish this puppy.

  • Reading this makes me want to pick up my family and go on a road trip across the U.S! This winter were doing our own road trip from Toronto, Canada to Miami Beach, Florida!

  • Welcome to the woods! We recently moved from sunny California into the woods and there is nothing like sleeping in a wooden house in the woods. I only wish I didn’t have to go through the winter, I don’t think I will ever get used to the cold. Happy nesting!

  • Miranda I Bouck

    It’s so fun to see your road trip! One place you stopped is some place I’d recognize anywhere — Al’s Oasis! It’s actually in Oacoma, SD, not Sioux Falls. It’s a traditional stop on our way to see our grandparents in Pierre, SD every year. I really hope you guys got to enjoy some pie! 🙂

    • sarah

      Yes Al’s Oasis! We stopped there but staying in Sioux Falls for the night.

  • […] in: Having moved to Michigan 5 years ago now! Even though I am still in California a lot, I don’t get to see all my friends that have […]

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