Summer is almost upon us, which means it’s time to start planning your vacation time. Instead of your run-of-the-mill tourist traps, consider grabbing a few friends, hopping in a minivan or RV (you know you have a friend who has one!), and heading off into the craft-beer sunset.
If you’re venturing out of your comfort zone, it’s best to plan your fun wisely. You don’t want to get lost, dehydrated, or wake up with some serious regrets.
Plan your route
The last thing you want to squash your fun is to get lost or end up stopping for five hours during road construction. First, invest in a dedicated GPS device. If you’re headed to a region with sketchy cellular service, any changes to the already-planned route will be lost if you need to change routes—and you won’t be able to look up a new route! Dedicated GPS devices won’t hog your monthly data, and you can reroute anywhere along the way. Still, your best bet in the event of a technical malfunction is to keep a good old-fashioned, low-tech road atlas in your car.
Next, check the state Department of Transportation website for the states you’re visiting for any huge construction projects on your route. If you want to keep the trains running on time, knowing when and where to take a detour will save possibly hours of frustration. And it’ll keep you from having to stop and ask for directions.
Looking for destination ideas? We have some Beercation ideas for you!
Know your breweries
You might be visiting a more rural area with fewer options, or you might be visiting a more urban area with tons of choices. The best thing to do is have a meeting of the minds with your group to see which breweries most of you want to hit up. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting a great variety of beers to try—the point of a beercation is to try new things, after all. That said, be flexible. No sense in starting the feud of the century over where you’re going to visit. There’s always next summer!
Before you leave, call each brewery you plan to visit. While some are great at posting changes to business hours on their websites, others don’t have the resources to make frequent updates. The last thing you want to do is drive 100 miles only to find your brewery is closed for renovations.
Be sure to pack a large cooler where you can store growlers of the beers you love. You’ll have to make a pit stop every day or two to pack in fresh ice, but if you love the beer, the extra step is worth it.
Also pack a small empty case to store souvenirs. You’ll want a safe place to keep your brewery stickers, pint glasses, T-shirts, and other brew gear you pick up along the way. And don’t forget to collect your bottle caps.
On-the-go entertainment is the best way to combat boredom and lags in conversation when you’re going to be on the road for a long stretch. And I’m not talking about burying your face in your phone the whole time. Adultify the games you played as a kid, and make a competition out of it. Whoever loses has to pay for the first round of drinks at the next brewery stop!
Keep cash on hand. Your credit card company might freak over purchases made far from home and shut you down temporarily. But it’s also a great way to budget and keep track of spending. To learn more about beercationing on a budget, check out this guide.
To start, don’t even think you’re going to stick to your diet while you’re away. In fact, I suggest packing stretchy pants and loose shirts for the later days—you’re going to need them! But you can take steps to prevent certain risks of a craft-brew road trip.
Most importantly, stay hydrated. On a regular day, you should drink at least 64 ounces (1.9 l) of water. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it flushes water out of your system. That leads to increased dehydration, and…the dreaded hangover. Hydrate throughout the day, and between each beer, quench your thirst with a glass of water. While that regimen might not completely beat a hangover, it will help quite a bit.
You might be eating less-than-healthy foods while you’re at the breweries, but your non-brewery meals should be as nourishing as possible. Eat foods rich in vitamin B, such as whole grains, yogurt, leafy greens, lean meats and legumes, which absorb alcohol. Avoid salty foods, which will make you dehydrated (hello, hangover!), acidic foods such as oranges and marinara (heartburn!), and sugary foods (sugar crash!), which will make you want to drink more.
Get moving. While you’re probably not going to take advantage of your hotel’s free gym every day, you can walk and find other ways to stay at least somewhat active. Movement flushes the toxins out of your system, which will also help your energy levels. To get you started, check out our Beer Diet app.