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How to Plan the Perfect Road Trip | Adventure On a Budget

Thinking of taking a road trip doing spring break? Or how about a long weekend off? Whatever the occasion may be, road trips are always a good time. Not only are you going to a final destination, but you get many more destinations along the way. You get to see exquisite scenery right from the comfort of your own car. Road trips have always been in my life, and my family and I have always driven to places instead of flying so I feel like I can call myself a road dog now.

Trips can add up quickly and it’s important to know categories which you can cut down on. I have accumulated different tips and tricks and different things to keep in mind to plan a road trip on a budget. For a college student, this is a must if you want to play and study while still keeping your budget.

First things first.

Who are you going with?

This could be decided before or after you decide where you’ll be going. Some friends want to relax and rejuvenate and others want an adventure-packed trip. Just keep in mind that you will be travelling with these people and that friends can have difficulties on the road. Bring someone who you know is down for the trip, for what it is.

Where are you going?

Where do you want to cross of your bucket list first? Havasu falls? Yosemite? Crater Lake?

Consider location because gas or air travel will be the biggest chunk of your budget, along with food. More days = more food & gas. You want to be able to enjoy the place you are, without looking in your wallet every hour. Find a balance between having a good time and being money savvy.

How will you be getting there?

Plane, train, or automobile? Driving will always be the cheapest, slowest option unless you find a great deal otherwise. If you can handle being in the car for the duration of the trip and don’t mind open roads, definitely drive. Plus you’ll get all the scenery as well.

Also keep in mind how many hours your destination is and whether or not you will need a hotel. If you do, expect to pay another $60-100. You always have the option of sleeping in your car too. I like this option a lot (if you can be somewhat comfortable) because you spend $0 and you can just wake up and hit the road!

How long will you be staying?

Depending on where you’re going and how long you’re planning on staying, keep in mind the cost of food for each day and other activities you might decide to do. If you’re camping, will you bring all the food you need? Will you need to stop and get some fresh things in a nearby town as well? Backpacking?

If you’re staying at hotel, I highly recommend choosing one with a continental breakfast. You can wake up and eat, and get on the road in a short amount of time. Most hotels offer this these days.

Budget Before You Go

Get your finances together make a budget for your trip. I use this website to estimate how much gas will cost me. Then I find out where we will be staying at our destination and anywhere along the way. Then budget in food and snacks, and whatever’s left over can be used for activities!

Budget Example: 2 people / 4 day trip Reno, Nv to Supai, AZ

$200 – 3 nights stay

$150 – gas

$150 – food & snacks

$100 – extra activities / unexpected expenses

Trip Total = $600

Remember to either keep your receipts or write everything you spend down to make sure you don’t go over.

And that’s it, have an amazing time and remember to be present in every moment.


What’s Up With Those Straws? | Plastic Protest #1

For the next 10 weeks every Monday,  I will be doing a special post about a plastic alternative that’s relatively easy to switch to. I named this series, ‘Plastic Protest’ because I want to encourage others to switch to a sustainable alternative, one that’s better for ourselves and the planet. I will begin with everyday items since those are the most relevant to our lives.

This week is…. straws!

Many kitchen utensils are often overlooked of their wastefulness. How many birthday parties have you been to that were passing out plastic forks and paper plates? I’m not saying mom’s should be criticized for choosing a ‘quick’ option, rather us individuals should be responsible for bringing our own, permanent utensils and plates.

This concept isn’t new, in Lakota culture when one would go to an event, it was expected that you would bring your own “wateca” bucket. Back then it was silverware made from buffalo horn and wooden bowls. This is something that is very relevant today, as we see plastic almost everywhere. Let’s use this sustainable concept of the
“wateca” bucket in the 21st century.

Why Straws?

According to the National Park Service, us Americans use 500 MILLION STRAWS A DAY. That’s more than the number of people who live in the United States. It’s our responsibility as consumers to make changes big or small, that will create a better future for our children.

I realize now that it took me too long to finally ditch the ‘quick’ straws, but I found the perfect alternative on Amazon – stainless steel straws. I couldn’t find the exact ones I got, but these actually look a lot better. It comes with a pack of 6 (4 bent, 1 wide, and 1 long), I mean what other types of straws would you even need? The straws a listed at a good price, which makes switching over to them full-time even easier.

I don’t want sustainability to look like this intimidating, judgmental thing because it’s not. It’s actually very rewarding.

Challenge yourself to replace &/or eliminate one wasteful item this week!

Stay tuned for next week’s plastic protest, to replace yet another item to a more sustainable alternative.

Check out the plastic protest week #2 here.


Hiking during winter months can give you some of the most beautiful views of the entire year, however hiking in between December and April can be a drastic change for those who don’t know what to expect.
I’ve composed some do’s and don’ts for those who still want to explore in the cold. There is certaintly several tips on this list that I wish I would’ve read before heading to the Sierras.

1. Do find trails that are accessible

Most parks and recreation areas will close for a period of time during the winter months, taking away the only parking lot around. Consider looking up your route to ensure you can still find parking and have access to the trail head.

2. Don’t wear sneakers, ever.

Trust me wearing Nike’s is not your best option. Think of wet socks and cold feet. Brrrrrr.
Always wear boots to avoid snow and cold temperatures.

3. Do be prepared to have a little bit of a harder time

You’ll be tramping through the snow, which means more energy needed! Be prepared for your easy summer hikes to turn difficult.

4. Don’t continue on the trail if you see blood on the ground

(This has happened to me several times recently) Predators could be near and hungry.

5. Do take advantage of the beautiful landscape

Before you know it all the snow will be gone and the sun will be blazing again. Don’t miss out on feeling like an ice queen surrounded by a winter wonderland!

6. Don’t forget lots of layers

I make this mistake frequently. I’ll leave the house when the sun’s out, but forget how cold it can get on the mountainside. Think about ALL of the possible conditions you could experience (reasonably).

7. Do drink some fresh ‘spring’ water

If you find a running stream take advantage of some of the freshest water you’ll drink all year round!

8. Don’t get lost

Always easier said than done, getting lost during the winter is much more likely when you can’t see the ground and familiar landmarks. Pay attention.

9. Do keep an eye out for wildlife

Animals are starving during this time so don’t be surprised if you come across some fresh tracks. You should always prepare for wildlife when you’re outdoors but it’s a whole new level during winter months.

10. Don’t forget to be present. Nature time is healing time.

The more time I spend outside, the clearer my mind is. I try to take in each moment, especially when I’m outdoors because I always feel like I can be myself. I seem to laugh more and smile bigger when I’m out there.


Hope these tips will serve you in the future.

Now get out(side).


Dream Board | The Power of Visuals

“You can’t do anything that you can’t picture yourself doing. Once you make the picturing process conscious and deliberate, you begin to create the self you want to be.”

When I picture the life I want for myself I see lots of love, community, and of course trees! The ideal life that I want to create myself is full of adventure, but still in this present moment it’s unknown how I will get there. It can feel scary to even try to accomplish these things without knowing the logistics, but before you can begin to do anything, you must be able to see yourself doing it!

One of the things I love to do when I’m feeling inspired about my future, is create a dream board (or collage). I love to pick out random pictures and words from my favorite magazines and books and lay them down all in one place. This way I’m able to capture an essence of the values and experiences I strive for. From there, I can take baby steps into making them a reality.

  1. Imagine it
  2. Visualize it
  3. Create it
  4. DO IT!

I know that when we believe we can do something, we’re more likely to follow through with it. I wonder how many people in the world have a dream and want to make a difference, but fear failure. There are too many obstacles in life for one to count, but when we overcome these struggles on our own, we know who did it (you).

The feeling of accomplishment after countless hours of hard work is unbeatable compared to it just being handed to you. I promise you, hard work will always pay off.

I want you to explore your craziest dreams and then I challenge you to make one of them a priority in your life this year.

This year I want to experience our national parks. First up Yosemite and Sequoia! Then I’m crossing my fingers that I can make it to Saguaro National Park, home of the HUGE cactuses. I’m also interested in going to Crater Lake, Glacier, Mt. Rainer, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon in 2017. I got my national parks pass and guide-book this month and now I’m all ready for the trail!


It’s never too late to create the future you want for yourself, and the only person who’s going to make that happen is YOU.




The Difference Between Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency

“I want my actions to be good for our Earth and be a direct reflection of my values.”

When I walk down an aisle in any department store, all of the Eco-friendly products catch my eye, but I have learned that labels can lie too. I wonder if all of these products are really 100% recycled or if it’s just a marketing scam to make people like me feel okay about buying their products.

The truth is mass produced products cannot be sustainable in all aspects of its journey. Let’s take this 100% recycled product for example, maybe it is true that the materials are recycled, but the people who are making them are working for $.05 an hour. That my friend, is not sustainable. It happens all the time because it’s so easy for us to turn a blind eye after we assume a product is genuine.

Keep in mind five main categories when looking at whether a product is truly sustainable-

  1. environmental sustainability
  2. human rights
  3. community involvement
  4. animal protection
  5. social justice

I have a whole post on how to vote with your dollar that you can find here.

So, what do I do?

You may ask, Karlee how do I know if a product is truly good? And I would say that I don’t have an answer. But I do have a solution. If you can make it yourself, do it! That way you are fully aware of who made it, where it was made, how it was made. and what’s in it. You eliminate a lot of opened-ended questions that you may have had before.

That is where you go from sustainable to self-sufficient, by eliminating most of the process and unknowns. Being entirely self-sufficient is like having the ultimate sustainable lifestyle. It’s almost like disconnecting yourself from capitalism and society (in the material sense).

Sustainability is buying local, organic food but self-sufficiency is growing food in your backyard.

Sustainability is buying American-made products but self-sufficiency is sewing your own clothes.

You can see where I’m going with this.

My ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient with off-grid living. That means growing my own food, hunting my own meat, harnessing renewable energies, and much more. I will be the only one responsible for my lifestyle, which is part of the beauty of it. But most importantly, I want my actions to be good for our Earth and be a direct reflection of my values. I need my lifestyle to align with what’s in my heart and vise versa. My long-term plan incorporates all of these things and I want to set myself up (financially and mentally) to attain them easily.

I’m learning everyday what it means to be truly sustainable to me personally and take the steps needed to get to an entirely self-sufficient lifestyle.