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Talking Travel In Texas And Beyond: Jeri Chambers

Chambers is a senior donor engagement officer with Communities Foundation of Texas
Photo: Jeri Chambers

Whether by car or plane, there’s a sense of adventure for what is ahead — from the food we will eat to the places we will see. Traveling is magical. At least, the idea of it.

But the reality? Travel plans always seem to spiral into some sort of stressful situation. Packing, planning, booking and everything else can be overwhelming. We want travel to be fun. So do you. Local Profile reached out to eight people in the Collin County community to get their take and advice on everything travel related. 

Chambers is a native Texan and she and her family have been Collin County residents for over 25 years. She is currently a senior donor engagement officer with Communities Foundation of Texas, leading the Collin County office. Chambers serves as a board secretary for the Plano Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Where is your favorite road trip destination in Texas?
San Antonio

What do you consider “essential” when packing?
Make an evergreen packing list. Add items unique to that trip. Check and double-check the list. At the end of the trip, add to the top of the list consumable items (shampoo, toothpaste, dental floss) that need to be restocked. A week before the next trip, check the list to see what items need to be replenished.

What is your favorite transportation method?
Our Subaru Outback with adaptive cruise control.

How can you save money while traveling?
Save money when not traveling. Traveling is a time to make those small, and sometimes big splurges, you don’t normally make in the course of day-to-day living.

What do you look for when booking a vacation?
My spouse — Rick is a keen travel planner.

What travel hack or tip do you follow?
My first purchase when on a trip, but particularly when flying, is a large water bottle (Smartwater is my go-to as the little goldfish always makes me chuckle). I use, refill and reuse the bottle for the entire trip. It’s great to have fancy reusable water bottles at home. On a trip, if I lose or drop my temporary travel bottle, it’s no biggie. I do my best to recycle it when the trip is over.

What is your favorite road trip snack?
I try hard not to snack and prefer to save the calories for unique restaurants and cuisine local to our current location.

What is your most memorable trip in Texas? Outside Texas?
Our most memorable trip outside of Texas is our family trip to Zion National Park. Our family of four spent two days hiking the 16-mile Narrows from Chamberlain Ranch to the Temple of Sinawava. It is an incredible hike where you basically walk most of it in the Virgin River. It’s a family favorite memory. Celebrating at Oscar’s Café in Springdale, Utah just outside the Park was also a very memorable meal.

How do you pass the time on road trips? On the plane?
For road trips — music playlists. For plane — downloaded podcasts. 

Are there any hidden gems you’ve come across on a Texas road trip?
The best hidden gem when driving to Colorado from North Texas is the Pecan Shed just east of Wichita Falls in Henrietta, TX. Perfectly first stop when heading out of town and last stop when heading home. Clean bathrooms, unique snacks, lots of pecan options, shopping and the only roadside stop I’ve found that stocks Topo Chico.

How do you decide where to go?
Often, we decide based on family. With two kids now in the Army, it’s fun to catch up with them where they are.

Do you have any favorite camping or hiking destinations in Texas?
Not sure if you would consider it a hike but walking around Town Lake in Austin (now called Lady Bird Lake Trail) is always fun to do!

What time of year do you prefer to go on vacation?
Whatever makes sense with our work schedules.

Do you have any upcoming travel plans? 
Heading to Santa Fe in March! Looking forward to snowshoeing, reading by a fireplace and eating really good food!

To find out more about travel in and out of Texas visit Local Profile’s latest issue.