Wanna hear a solid college girl-type whine? Cause I got one–
I miss spring break. I miss it bad.
Not because I’m one of the beach-going, bikini-rocking, booty-dancing, spring-breaker chicks… but because I miss day after day of fantastic food, no communication law exams, no job applications, and good stuff like that.
For spring break this year, my bestie, my boyfriend, and myself packed up and ventured to Austin, TX for SXSW 2013. From the journey, I bring a collection of tips–both for enjoying the SXSW experience and road-tripping in general.
Here we go.
ONE: The best part of New Orleans might have to be the beignets.
Maybe 16 hours isn’t enough time to swallow the beauty of NOLA, or even find it. Still, I did swallow my po’boy, I swallowed my deep-fried and powder sugared dough too… so 16 hours was plenty enough. Next time, I’ll try going with someone who has a lay of the land, and can take me to a part of it that is slightly less filthy and significantly less nerve-racking.
TWO: When making a 16 hour drive, it’s crucial that the carpool team pull their resources and creativity to ensure a comfortable and functional journey.
For example, burning 40 plus CDs doesn’t hurt. Blankets are good. Reducing your standard hourly liquid consumption is highly recommended. Car outlet adapter/splitter things are totally genius. And most importantly, bringing along a neck pillow will make you look like the coolest dad ever.
THREE: All festivities aside, Austin is a stellar beautiful city.
Explore where and when you can. And if you happen to find a fabulous foodish or media-related job while you’re looking around, you give me a holler. Please and major thank you.
FOUR: Conveniently enough, Austin happens to be one of the greatest food cities in this grand land of ours. Don’t you dare take it for granted.
When working with a limited time span, eat around… don’t hit the same spot twice. You gotta do food trucks, you should do some BBQ, and seriously, don’t leave without tacos. I strongly encourage a visit to Torchy’s; and with equal strength, encourage you to order The Independent. Fried portobellos, roasted corn, escabeche carrots– you want it. I promise.
For those dinning on a tight budget, pack your purse (or pockets) with satisfying energy bars before heading out so you’re ready with a convenient meal-on-the-go when hunger strikes. Real talk, Cliff Bars save lives. They’ll also save you some cash to splurge on nicer meals when the opportunity arises.
Folks with healthier bank accounts, forget the Cliff Bars. Go to Uchi and tell me how it treats you.
FIVE: Before hitting 6th Street each day, map out the shows/parties you’ll legitimately be upset over missing.
There’s no way possible that you’re going to see every band you’ve ever loved, known, or heard of… so cover your essentials, and fill in the rest of the day as you see fit. For our group, Dawes made for a extremely worthy Wednesday essential. On of my favs for the week, for sure.
SIX: When you’re not covering essentials or eating, check out bands you’ve never seen or heard of. You might just find a new jam.
Not sure how to decide who to see? Go wherever they’re serving free booze and/or food. If nothing else, you have a snack and a drank for the free.
SEVEN: If you go to Austin and you fail to eat at Bacon, you fail completely. Sorry, bud.
For Christ’s sake, it’s been featured on the Travel Channel’s Bacon Paradise AND Bacon Paradise 2. I’m not in the slightest bit embarrassed to disclose that I had to forcibly hold back tears of excitement upon arrival.
Go eat bacon, or swallow a big nasty mouthful of regret.
EIGHT: Regardless of where you are, if chicken and waffles are on the menu… get it.
And if possible, you best order a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita to wash down those chicken and waffles. You’ll feel so very naughty… and you’ll like it.
NINE: Better than a hotel… go Airbnb.
With some thoughtful planning, this nifty travel tool will have you put up in a cozy location that complies with your accommodation needs and budget. Or you could always wait until the very last minute… and likely still find a charming host with charming pets who puts out breakfast and lives within walking distance of where you’re trying to be everyday.
Best part– you don’t have to question the towels.
TEN: Whenever you find yourself in a situation where the day consists largely of walking around in the sun and tossing back alcoholic beverages, be smart, stay hydrated.
Also, put on sunscreen. Your skin will love you, your mom will be proud.
ELEVEN: Saying you’re on the road and you happen upon a truck stop that bears the name of an exotic animal in the title, you should stop… they might also have said exotic animal in a cage right beyond the gas pumps.
When we decided to stretch our legs and fill up tank somewhere in the midst of Louisiana, we found Tony the Tiger. We also found puppies. It was a bizarre pit-stop, made all the more bizarre by exhaustion and dehydration. The drive didn’t grow any less bizarre for the remaining eight hours home. Think along the lines of an overly classy McDonalds, anxiety attacks, all-out Avril Lavigne rock outs, and finally arriving home around 8 am.
I guess that’s what they call adventure.