Yelp and Travelzoo present: “Hit The Road… Again!” A virtual exploration of the Southwest and beyond

Winter is almost here and even though you might not be hopping on a flight to see friends and family, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home watching The Grinch have all of the fun. Yelp and Travelzoo are teaming up once again to show you the best that the Southwest has to offer! Hop in for another road trip 101 session highlighting amazing pit stops from the Lone Star state all the way to the bright lights of Vegas, baby. Want to join the fun live? RSVP here for the virtual road trip!

Questions that will be answered with this travelicious write up are… 

“Austin, it’s just the “Portland” of Texas right?!”
Will B. – Alabama Elite Yelper

“Albuquerque. I’ve already binged Breaking Bad… Is there anything else?”
Tomas R. – New Orleans Elite Yelper

“It snows in Arizona? – Prove it!”
Megan R. – Los Angeles Elite Yelper

“What other activities can I do in Vegas besides taking bathroom selfies?
Tara L. – Washington DC Elite Yelper

Get the answers to these questions by clicking the Yelp Community Manager bookmark collections highlighted below. These collections will offer tons of inspiration and plenty of places to see, eat and explore during your road trip travels throughout the Southwest!

Gabe Saglie from Travelzoo has a few tips for you to cover before you hit the road. Starting with COVID-19 precautions and car prep 101. 

1) Be COVID ready.
In anticipation of following rules and mandates at your destinations and at stops along the way. Help prevent the spread, be sure to pack the COVID essentials: extra masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer. Take a look at this Yelp safety checkpoint blog for tips.
2) Check your Car.
The tried and true road warrior proverb still applies; check your car’s fluid levels, tire pressure, and any maintenance due. Also, be sure you have easy to access copies of documents like your registration and insurance. Yelp has you covered when it come to local car maintenance businesses. 
3) App up.
Download apps that will keep you informed and safe along the way, like traffic and weather apps. These can help you gauge upcoming issues and, if necessary, tweak your route. As always, be sure to have the Travelzoo and Yelp apps handy to nab everything from hotel deals along the way, as well as places to eat and visit, and things to do!
4) Charge it. Download it.
Keeping everybody connected and entertained along the way means you should pack extra chargers and other tech toys. Remember the kids and make sure to download entertainment options for the road, along with snacks and games to keep the drive interesting. 
5) Involve the kids.
Whether it’s planning what to see, where to go, what playlist to blare in the car — involving the kids in the planning process can help ensure everyone is engaged and having fun. Any places you plan on visiting, eating or adventuring, double check to make sure they are kid appropriate. Yelp has many features on business listings that offer insight on changing tables, noise levels and kid friendly dining.
6) Fido facts.
Bringing your pet along? Do your research, some hotels brands have no pet fees, while others can charge up to $100+ per night and can have weight restrictions. Pets rules can change drastically from hotel to hotel, double check that your furry friends are even allowed on the property. Is your pet a service animal? Make sure to carry the proper paperwork.  
7) Check rental rates.
Rental car companies are offering extra savings and incentives during COVID, so compare rental options versus the wear and tear your own vehicle might take. Rental companies can also offer third party roadside assistance for flat ties and dead batteries. Check with the rental company or your own insurance to see if these services are offered at minimal cost.
8) Budget for parking.
In many cities, overnight hotel parking rates can be $60 or more, so budget accordingly… many of the stops you’ll want to make along the way, like state parks and museums may also charge for parking. Depending on your route, look out and budget for tolls. 

9) Have a plan, but keep it loose.
Plan on never going below a half-tank of gas or getting off the highway before the sun goes down, for you and your family’s safety. Don’t overload your schedule; unexpected road closures, traffic delays, or just wanting to stay somewhere longer can really throw a wrench in super tight travel plans. 
10) Have fun!
Traveling is supposed to be relaxing experience and with proper planning and a full tank of gas, you’re road trip adventure will go off without a hitch… unless you’re towing a camper. HA!

You’ve followed Gabe’s instructions, packed the car, and now you’re ready to hit the road and see the sights!

Now, where to?!

The Yelp Community Managers of Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Mexico, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston have all created a road trip and city focused bookmark collections for you! These all feature hot local eating spots, outdoor explorations and the finest not so hidden gems in their cities. Click each link below for some bookmark inspiration for your own road trip collections. Safe travels!

Collection by Las Vegas CM – Kayla R.

Collection by Phoenix CM – Hailey P.

Collection by Albuquerque CM – Howie K.

Collection by San Antonio CM – Fernanda F.

Collection by Austin CM – Katie B.

Collection by Houston CM – Farrah A.

Please be mindful of health and social distancing practices during your travels and only head into restaurants, museums, or public spaces if you feel safe. Check the business on Yelp for their latest COVID guidelines, updates, and whether it’s open. Find more Yelp COVID information here.