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Mystery shop your way cross-country

The summer months are full of excitement. Festivals, beach outings and backyard grilling activities become staples of the warm months. The quintessential American road trip is another summer tradition for many families. According to AAA, numerous factors are expected to cause an increase in summer travel this year over 2014. Gasoline prices continue to fall, as drivers are paying less now than they were one year ago. The Indianapolis Star said average prices are $1 lower now than in July 2014. This is pleasing news for drivers.

The summer travel season got off to a thunderous start over Memorial Day weekend, when AAA said approximately 37.2 million Americans hit the road. Road trips can be used for family bonding time and to reach a far away destination. Yet, mystery shoppers can also use these trips to their benefit.

Traveling and shopping
Yes, road trips are often about getting away from your home for relaxation. Yet no trip is complete without going shopping. The same stores you frequent in your home city might be different from those in other locations. You can take advantage of this by requesting assignments while away. You are knocking out two birds with one stone, essentially: Vacation and work. The line between work and enjoyment may be blurred, but you can use that to your advantage.

Conduct research before your trip to find potential stores and restaurants you would be interested in visiting while on vacation. You may try to look for places that are unique to the vacation area. This way, you are both enjoying the atmosphere and getting some work done.

Cover road trip costs
Traveling across the country and become quite expensive. If a mystery shopper and his or her family start in Los Angeles and drive to New York City, the shortest route will be 2,778 miles, according to Google Maps. The family can predict expenses by inputting information at, an online resource that should be used to calculate fuel costs. Totals will vary, but if you drive a 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan, the trip will cost approximately $515.50. Honda was chosen because it is the most popular vehicle manufacturer in California.

Mystery shopping can help recoup those gasoline expenses. You will have to plan to stop in at least every state you're traveling through, assuming your road is over a long distance. You may even be able to work while stopping for snacks and other essentials. The choices are truly endless while on a road trip. If you make enough stops on the way to your destination, and then on the way back home, odds are good you'll have earned back the money spent on gas.

You may be even able to get a vacation out of your mystery shopping expertise. Many hotels utilize mystery shoppers to gain insight into their customer service skills, among other areas. Use this to your advantage and accept a reduced hotel stay as compensation.

Road trip essentials
Before embarking on a road trip where you'll also be working, you will need to double-check you have everything packed. Work materials should be separated from your personal vacation items, so as not to mix up or lose anything. Make sure you bring enough note-taking supplies and store them somewhere safe. You may also want to bring along a laptop to digitally record and backup all the notes you take for work. Keep in mind that if you are traveling with your family, they should be your focus for the most part. Mystery shopping is just flexible enough to where you can also get some work accomplished.

The benefits of mystery shopping are many. These perks truly shine in the summer months, when shoppers may take many road trips. They can use these new destinations to accomplish work and still enjoy a relaxing vacation.