Navigating a Cross-Country Trip with the Help of Masterpass


By John Montesi

When you are in the middle of an ambitious cross-country trip, some things are bound to go wrong—and even when they don’t, you need lots of coffee and snacks.

As my dog, Hank, and I have followed every back road (and rumor of a pretty hiking trail) from Texas to Maine to Michigan and back down again, we’ve learned which places are dog-friendly, where to get the best coffee, and who has the supplies you need to successfully complete a road trip across the US. After thousands of miles, we’ve discovered how surprisingly easy it can be to come down from Shenandoah National Park, order a snack and a pair of pants using a smartphone, and quickly pick them both up while rushing to a scheduled museum tour later that same day. The trick? Paying with Masterpass.


Exploring Shenandoah National Park

Hank and I woke up on a farm outside of Charlottesville, Virginia and headed straight toward the mountains, knowing that a huge spring nor’easter had just hit the entire region—and that we had to make our way to Washington, DC to meet my sister, who was graciously providing an after-hours tour of her workplace. Like most of our travel itineraries, it was a perfect (if ambitious) plan . . . provided nothing went wrong.

I knew Shenandoah would be far snowier than the valley down below and that the weather would make for slow progress all the way. Still, the call of an empty national park and another section of the Appalachian Trail were too much to resist. We reached the park and the closed gates of Skyline Drive, used the Parkmobile app to pay for parking (from the comfort of the car’s warm interior), and hopped out to one of the stiffest, coldest breezes I’ve ever felt. We then retreated into the shelter of the woods and crunched along the Appalachian Trail in fresh snow, oblivious to the passage of time.

Wait, What Do You Mean, No Jeans?!

By the time we returned to the car, I’d gone at least four hours without phone service. When I regained connectivity, I decided to get some more gas and check the messages that had come in while we were exploring Shenandoah. One text from my sister really caught my attention: She listed out the logistics for meeting her that evening—and finished with, “Should be obvious, but NO JEANS ALLOWED!”

Maybe this was obvious, but I hadn’t thought about it, and I had only packed jeans for my minimalist cross-country trip. So, I sat at the gas station and used my smartphone to frantically search for a place where I could quickly pick up a pair of “dressier” pants on my way into the tangles of downtown DC.

I found a shopping center in a far-western suburb of the city that seemed to have everything. Soon enough, I’d ordered a pair of Dockers Classic-Fit Iron-Free Stretch Khaki Pants that would soon be ready to pick up at a nearby Kohl’s. The mobile transaction was quick and seamless, thanks to the retailer’s partnership with Masterpass. A little while later, I arrived at the store location, strolled right over to the designated pickup area, and grabbed my purchase—then turned around and left! I was probably in the store for less than two minutes.

The speed and ease of my pants pit stop was a lifesaver, but as afternoon traffic mounted, I watched my ETA to DC creep up. As I got closer to my sister’s house, I realized I was feeling a bit tired and began to crave a cup of coffee. Miraculously, at that moment, I looked up and saw one of my favorite signs glowing in the distance.

Truck, sunset

Perfect for Forgetful Coffee Lovers

At long last, Dunkin’ Donuts beckoned. Earlier that day, Hank and I had hiked nearly seven miles of the Appalachian Trail in deep snow, with nothing but granola bars and water (traditional staples for a road trip across the US). It was high time for a doughnut and a hot cup of coffee.

I walked in and was treated to the most incredible smell of freshly brewed coffee and warm doughnuts. Whether due to my recent experience of same-day in-store pickup or fatigue from the hike, I absentmindedly left my wallet in the car. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I placed my order. Again, Masterpass saved the day—thanks to its comatibility with DD Perks, all I had to do was pull out my trusty smartphone, open the app, and simply tap a button to pay. With that, Hank and I were on the road again.

Scout, John Montesi

Whether you’re paying for random parking spots on a cross-country trip, shopping for new clothes online, or purchasing much-needed sustenance in-store, Masterpass is a great way to make these tasks easier and get on with your day faster. Visit the mobile wallet’s official website to learn about its other useful features and check out all of the participating merchants.

Kohl's makes buying clothes from the road quick and easy with Masterpass integration.


Updating the Easter Basket: Skip Candy and Get Creative

Elevate your child's Easter basket this year with these unique holiday gifts.

High Tech Greenery: Gardening Gadgets for Green Thumbs

These garden gadgets make an old-school pastime decidedly high-tech.

Plan the Perfect Family Picnic This Spring

Style a fabulous family picnic filled with delectable cuisine, spring activities, and wonderful memories with these tips

Sports Gifts for the Athletes in Your Life

You don't have to be a runner or triathlete to enjoy the latest sports gifts. Other outdoor activities and sports qua...