Across the country The MFP style.

In just over a week I’ll be heading out for a cross-country road trip.

I’ve got it pretty much figured out.

  • I joined AAA. (Just in case I get a flat tire or run out of gas, and for discounts on hotel stays.)
  • I sorta made a list of things to bring. (Clothes, bathroom stuff, iPhone, computer)
  • I’m thinking about making a play-list or two specifically for the trip. (Because you know how irritating it is to try to get radio stations to come in, right?)
  • I’m kinda thinking about my route.
  • Oh, and I called my credit card company to tell them that I would be traveling. (I thought this was especially smart. How many people think about doing this!?!?)

(I guess a lot of people think about calling their credit card company to inform them of travel plans. There was a “press 8 to notify us of upcoming travel plans” option on the auto-menu.) 

I pressed 8.

The Auto-Menu: International or Domestic?

Me: Domestic <thinking it would be cool to use a fake British accent and say “International Baby” like Austin Powers>

The Auto-Menu: Which state will you be heading to first?

Me: Iowa

The Auto-Menu: Which state will you be heading to next? If this concludes your trip say, “done”.




Me: <runs over to the computer to pull up a map and try to plan my route>

Auto-Menu: One moment, please, while I get you a representative. 

Me: *sigh* <thinking: Oh, good. There is no way to explain to a computer that I don’t have my exact route planned out yet.>

Credit Card Person: Hello. My name is Credit Card Person. How can I be of assistance?

Me: Oh, hi! I’m taking a trip in just over a week-ish and I wanted to let you know that I would be using my credit card. I tried to use the Auto-Menu, but I don’t really have my trip planned out yet – so I wasn’t sure how explain this to the Auto-Menu.

Credit Card Person: Okay. I can help you. Will you be traveling internationally or domestically? When are you leaving? When will you be back? What state will you be traveling to first?

Me: Iowa

Credit Card Person: And which state will you be at next?

Me: Um. You see, I don’t really know. I’m not sure of my route yet. <thinking: Didn’t I just say this?> I might just go south a whole bunch and then cut west. Or maybe I’ll cut west sooner then later. I’m bringing my iPhone so I kinda thought I’d just figure it out as I go.

Credit Card Person: So you don’t know which state you’ll be in after Iowa?

Me: Not really. I mean I could pull up a map right now and maybe guess?

Credit Card Person: Um…

Me: I know that I’m ending up in California, so pretty much I’ll be in the states between Minnesota and California.

Credit Card Person: Um…

Me: I’m kinda spontaneous¹.

Credit Card Person: You know what? Let’s just authorize your card for all fifty states?

Me: <probably using just a bit too much enthusiasm> OH, THAT WOULD BE GREAT!

Credit Card Person: <probably thinking: “I’m glad we record all our calls. This one is a keeper.”>

So, yeah, my trip is all planned. I know when I’m leaving. I know where I’m ending up. I’m bringing my iPhone and my credit card is authorized in all fifty states!

Do you have any road trip tips? Leave them here or blog about it and leave a link to your blog in the comments!



¹I need to use the word spontaneous more. It sounds *way* better then unorganized and/or crazy. - I'm spontaneous. Don't confuse that with unorganized and/or crazy.

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19 Replies to “Across the country The MFP style.”

  1. I would never have thought of calling the credit card company. I just came back from a trip in Texas and whipped that bad boy out for EVERYTHING…but never was questioned by my CC company. I’ll have to keep that in mind for our next trip.

    1. I haven’t used the card in years, so I figured if I started using it all of a sudden and all over the place it would probably get flagged.

  2. Oh, I am the queen of road trips! LOL I’ve done KS-PA (round trip) a couple of times with all of the kids – last year’s was crazier because we went through VA and spent a day in DC too. We’re doing it again in June, but don’t have our route planned yet. I know generally where we’re going – and this time I actually get to have a driving partner instead of doing it all on my own, so that’ll be nice. :)

    One thing I don’t always think of – make sure that you always have a little bit of cash (and quarters) – toll roads aren’t *always* indicated on the maps, and they get cranky if you don’t have any money when you get to the little booth. Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything, but yeah, you know….it could happen.


  3. I travel constantly for work. While I have never informed my credit card companies that I’m traveling domestically, it is required for most debit card usage if you travel internationally. Even for Canada. Most companies will let you fill out a form that gives you a “free pass” for a year at a time. It took me some time to figure out why my ATM withdrawals were getting declined all the time.

    They have gotten pretty good at determining travel patterns and when fraud is likely. I’ve had four credit cards replaced in the last 12-18 months because someone had skimmed the cards (Waiter walks away with card. Has a card reader hidden somewhere. Skims your numbers, then also runs it normally to pay for your meal.) So far I have not been charged one penny when thieves have attempted to use these numbers.

    In general, I always use the credit card over the debit card when traveling. A debit card can potentially take the money out of your account and it can take some time to get it back, even if the bank agrees it was fraud. Most credit card companies will not charge your card if fraud is reported.

  4. Oh and if it isn’t out of the way, take I-70 west of Denver to I-15. The most awesome scenic drive in the country in my opinion. I-80 is god awful boring in comparison.

  5. Um…Texas is definitely between Iowa and California. Yeah, definitely.

    Austin, TX to be specific.

    (Figured I’d try it. Maybe you could be easily pursuaded.)

    (Can’t hate a girl for trying.)


  6. Directions: Go to Des Moines and take a Right.
    Money: Bring it, honey.
    Food: Eat it if it tastes good, but remember you’ll be trapped in a smallish space for a long time.
    Music: sing your heart out.
    Pictures: Take photos at every state boarder crossing (this is on my bucket list!)

  7. We do road trips all the time. We went to Philadelphia at Thanksgiving (we’re just north of Chicago). We hope to be in the Smokies this summer and Labor Day, we will be walking the Mackinac Bridge. :-)

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