As a vacation option, the road trip offers a nice bit of freedom from the usual. It can be pretty refreshing to avoid the chaos and tight schedules of airport travel and instead just hop in a car and hit the road. However, that doesn’t mean that a successful road trip doesn’t need a bit of planning ahead of time. You need to make sure you’re packing not only for a getaway but to ensure a safe, comfortable and fun drive. Here are some of the absolute essentials you’ll need for you next road trip.
This is a no-brainer, but still worthy of a mention. Even if you’re embarking on one of those “we’ll go where the road takes us” kind of road trips, getting lost can really put a damper on the trip. These days, you can get the best, most useful maps right on your phone. Download an app and keep it close if only just to let you know where the nearest gas station, food or hotel is on the road. It might take away a bit of the surprise, but you’ll be happy you have it if you every need it.
Similarly, some road trip enthusiasts don’t like to head out with too much of a plan. While that can be fun, there’s a lot of risk involved as well. While you don’t have to plan everything to a tee, there are certain things like meals and sleeping that you don’t want to leave up to chance. Especially if you’re driving with others, knowing where and when you’ll stop to eat makes it easier to accommodate everyone’s needs. Also, you don’t want to drive until you’re tired then need to find a place to rest for the night. Have a set time when you’re finished for the night and be sure you have a place to stay.
We previously looked at the various things you need to do in order to get your car Springtime ready, but there are a number of other considerations about what your car needs for a road trip. It’s good to take your car in for a check-up beforehand. Also be sure you bring along such necessities as spare tire and tire repair kit, oil, windshield cleaning fluid and it’s not a bad idea to bring a gas can if possible.
As much as you might love road trips, there are times when even the beauty of the open road isn’t enough to fight off boredom. So the sake of yourself and your passengers, bring along something that can help with the long stretches of dullness. You might think the radio will suffice, but you’re better off bringing along your own music, podcasts or audiobooks. While you probably don’t want to spend the whole trip listening to these, they can really help for those not-so-fun times.
We previously mentioned the importance of planning out your meal times, but it is just as important to think about what you are going to eat. Too often of road trips, people go for the easy way of going through a fast food drive-thru. Obviously that’s not the health-conscious decision and a few meals of that stuff, you’ll begin feeling gross and fatigued. Try to make healthy choices and, if possible, pack healthy snacks for in between meals. It will make the whole trip much more comfortable.
Anyone who has gone on an extended road trip before knows that no matter how comfortable you think your car is in the beginning, that comfort wears off. But since you’re going to be stuck in there for a while, you want to make it as hospitable as possible. Bring along things like pillows for when it’s your turn to sleep, extra cushion for the seat, blankets and sweaters for if it gets too cold and drinks so you’re never thirsty. Small things like this will make the whole thing much easier.
Always being prepared for an emergency is a smart way to never get caught off-guard. Every car should have an emergency kit in it for those unexpected events. Some people think they only need them for the dangerous winter driving, but you never know what might happen on the road, so it’s best to plan ahead. Start with a standard first aid kit for any injuries. Also include a charged cell phone, portable charger, road markers and flashlight. These essentials could help a bad situation from getting much worse.
In the end, this is meant to be a fun activity and hopefully a memorable one. So take along a camera to help capture all the many highlights. While you certainly want to enjoy it all in the moment, you’ll likely be glad you have a way of looking back on the memories.