How to Avoid Corporate Chains While Traveling Across the USA

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Anyone who watched Dave Gorman’s ‘America Unchained’ documentary (in which Dave attempted to drive from coast-to-coast across the USA without ever being a patron of any corporate chain-style businesses (such as restaurants, hotels and gas stations)) will know how difficult it can be to find independent ‘Mom and Pop’ style businesses when traveling (particularly in the USA).

With the famous Golden Arches of McDonald’s, the liberty-esque logo of Starbucks and the all-too-familiar sight of the Marriot Hotel appearing on seemingly every street corner in America, finding somewhere unique to eat dinner and to spend the night can be a real challenge.

Of course, there are times during your travels when you’ll want to indulge in a few of the comforts of home (such as a Big Mac meal or a KFC Bargain Bucket). There’s nothing wrong with doing this from time to time, but when traveling it’s likely you’ll occasionally want to try something new, local and exciting.

Corporate chains

The following websites can help you find local, independent businesses while traveling, so you won’t have to depend on Marriot hotels and McDonald’s restaurants:

One of the biggest gripes people have when traveling across the USA is that all chain-style hotels seem exactly the same (no matter where you are in the country). One great website for finding independent hotels/motels is This great-looking website is the self-proclaimed “internet gateway to independent lodging” and allows you to search for ‘Mom and Pop’ accommodation across every state of America.

Looking for an independent book store? Indie Store Finder can help you pinpoint any that are close to you.

Fancy a non-corporate cup of coffee? Launched in 2005, Delocator allows “users could locate independently owned coffee shops”. The site also allows you to find independent book stores and movie theaters and now covers Canada, the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

Another (often understated) way of finding local businesses when on the road is to ask people (other travelers or locals) where to go. People are often excited and more than happy to recommend their favorite local places, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Related posts:

  1. Pet Friendly Hotel Chains
  2. How to Avoid Paying More When Traveling Solo
  3. Traveling to USA: What is ESTA, and Why Do You Need it?
  4. Using GPS-Based Apps to Make USA Road Trips Easier
  5. How to Find Budget Accommodation While Traveling

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