Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing the “go local” movement. I’m all for regionalism ninety percent of the time. But when road tripping across America, I do tend to rely on a couple of franchises.

A 24hour Fitness membership is a road trip essential, if only for the free showers. I’ve often checked out of a hotel and then gone somewhere to hike up a mountain or run a race. It’s nice to be able to pull into the next town, find the local 24hour Fitness, and take a shower before moving on to the final destination of the day. Especially if I’m crashing at a friend’s house for the night, I don’t want to be rocking the I-ran-a-10K-and-then-sat-in-a-car-for-five-hours look when I arrive.

Fitness club memberships are also nice for long road trips if you don’t want to lose your toned abs or triceps while on an extended vacation. I can find the inspiration to run while on the road, but squats and sit-ups require external motivation. Before hitting a new town I check the 24class schedule online and plan on attending a group workout, wherein I can count on an instructor to make me do my lunges and leg lifts.

Any national fitness chain will keep you clean and fit on the road. I just like 24hour fitness because most clubs have pools. Double check your gym membership before leaving town, as some are only good at your “home” gym. An upgrade is not too costly though. Another reason I like 24hour is they allow me to freeze my membership for months when I’ll be out of the county or am just planning on being lazy.

Another essential chain is Starbucks. Not for the coffee, but for the WiFi. Of course you can get free WiFi at several establishments, but Starbucks is a sure thing. I would love to say that I pop into Starbucks in order to studiously work on writing or other scholastic enterprises, but my latest emergency need for WiFi was of a different nature.

I was driving from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas last month when I got a text informing me that my Mariners were tied in an exciting game with the Oakland A’s. (Mom or Policemen: If you are reading this, please know that I definitely pulled off the road to check the text. I swear.) Not getting the game on any radio stations, I pulled into the nearest town (St. George), found a Starbucks, and listened to the rest of the game on my laptop. The Mariners lost.     

So whether you need to workout, take a quick shower, or listen to your team lose an extra innings game, there are franchises across America ready for you.