What’s life without spontaneity? Earlier this month, I planned a week-long vacation in Florida and three days into it, I decided to pack up and hit Interstate 95 with a friend for a 700 mile journey from West Palm Beach, Fla. to Charlotte, N.C. Space was tight, the sun was hot and many memories were made. For the road trip veterans out there, I’ve included five key takeaways from my expedition:

1. Leave the hair spray at home. Don’t waste your time styling your hair when road tripping in a 97’ BMW convertible. I learned my lesson after day one when I spent 20 minutes brushing knots out of my one-curled hair.

2. Stock up on your favorite tunes. In my case, my travel buddy and I stopped by the nearest Walmart and picked up a few “best of” cd’s, including my personal trip-favorite, Run DMC. By day three, I mastered the “huh’s” in "It's Like That."

3. Hit the local eateries. My favorite meal was at FIG, in Charleston, S.C. Their menu items change daily and use only local and sustainable foods. If you find yourself there, I highly recommend the Coddled Sea Island Farm Egg with lump crab. Delish!

4. Throw the schedule out the window. You’re only going to stress yourself out by sticking to a strict plan. Leave room for flexibility and enjoy the sights. We explored a couple beaches on our drive to Charlotte. As we were leaving Charleston, the last morning of the trip, we decided to stop at the Isle of the Palms (pictured below), where I took a two mile walk on the beach, which was the most peaceful moment of the trip. It was just what I needed before heading back to Chicago to start my new position at Zapwater.

5. Remember the three S’s: sunscreen, sunglasses and snacks.

With my first trip under my belt, I hope there are many more to come. There’s nothing like creating memories on the road.

Best, Leslie