‘Hitting The Road’ with Elena Hassel!

Elena Hassel

44 out of 50! Elena visited 44 states during her time as an Au-pair in the USA!

Elena became an au pair in Virginia in August 2015. She extend her first year to another full year with the same host family in Falls Church,VA. Her au pair program ended in August 2017. In her 25th month,September 2017, Elena explored some more of the USA before returning to Germany.

Elena took care of three children. On her arrival they were 6 and 8 years old,two boys and a girl, 4 years old. During Elena’s time as an au pair the children grew very close to her. The children became a very important part of her life. Although she’s not living with the host family anymore as their au-pair, she’s still very much part of the family and she keeps contact with them from Germany. Currently she’s traveling with her host family in France where they met up.

Elena did majority of her trips in the USA by car! “The adventure starts as soon as everyone is in the car.” Says Elena

Top 5 reasons why Elena chooses to hit the road when traveling in the USA!

1. The talks with the co-driver when everyone in the back are sleeping are some of the best conversations.

2. The sing a long moments to old songs are filled with lyrics and fun!

3. You have the freedom to do spontaneous detours and the flexibility to change the route if needed or if you’d wanted to.

4. “The whole way is the destination, not just the places you’re driving to.” – Elena’s words.

5. The beauty of the scenery are speechless and something you can only embrace from a car seat when you’re on the road.

Elena shared a spectacular moment where herself and seven other friends did a road trip up to Montreal,Canada from Virginia. They drove over night and everyone was a sleep as they crossed the boarder from the USA to Canada. They were driving through a beautiful snow covered landscape as the sunrise filled the sky. Elena experienced this view as pure & stunning. As she gazed at the beauty her eyes filled with tears. Elena woke up everyone in the car to share the beauty with them. No one said a word as everyone was speechless by what their eyes saw. If they had traveled by plane or train they would have missed this moment that are now forever engraved in the memories of their hearts. It’s part of the journey, it’s part of the experience and it’s part of the trip!


One of Elena’s favorite road trips was the drive down to South Carolina, Charleston and Savannah in Georgia. The trip was filled with some of the best laughs and music on the road. In Charleston the Old town and the beautiful harbor stood out to her. In Savannah the drove to Wormsloe Historic site was memorable. Elena tells about the memory from this specific road trip that still gives her goosebumps every time she thinks about it. It was the time they packed up the hotel room and drove to to the beach at 5am. With their Nutella sandwiches for breakfast they sat in a line on the beach as they lived in the moment together while they watched the sunrise together.

Elena’s top 3 destination that she recommends on the East Coast:

1. New Orleans

2. The coast of Maine

3. New York City

All three locations can be reached easily by car from Virginia.


Elena shared important tips to keep in mind when planning your road trip in the USA:

1. Insurance is a must have! When renting a car make sure to take out insurance. If using a friends car or the host families car make sure to discuss the requirements for their insurance and the possible pay out amounts if an accident should happen.

2. When you plan your route always add an hour or two for traffic, food stops and breaks.

3. Choose the country road instead of the highway.

5. Make sure to always fill up your gas tank before entering the country side! There are long roads in some areas with no gas stations in sight.

6. Choose your co-drivers wisely. They need to be able to play good music and entertain you with some good stories!

Road trips in the USA are fun, easy to plan and pretty safe. The roads in the States are good and gas are cheap. Especially when sharing cost with the group you travel with.

Thank You Elena for sharing your experience and knowledge!

-Nitanja, Au Pair Buzz

22 June 2018

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