What to Bring on a Road Trip
People spend most of their lives rushing from one destination to the next, taking little time to enjoy the scenery. But when you take a road trip, you have the opportunity to appreciate the sights around you. Unlike traveling by airplane, you can set your own schedule, stop whenever you want and choose your own travel companions. If you’re ready to hit the road, pack the following items in order to have the best road trip possible:
- GPS: When you’re on a road trip, don’t worry about how you’re getting to your destination. Let a GPS do the work for you so that you can focus on enjoying the drive. If you want to go off the beaten path to see some more sites, a GPS system can show you the way — and get you back to your original route. You can find GPS accessories that allow for dashboard or window mounting, so you can follow directions without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
- Snacks: That leisurely drive through the country isn’t much fun if you’re hungry. Take a small cooler along and load it with sandwiches, fresh fruit and bottled water. Bring trail mix or granola bars for some variety. You’ll save money when you pack your own snacks, and you’ll likely be eating healthier, too.
- Personal care: You’ll need to pack deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo — all the items you normally use — but you should also prepare for the unexpected. For example, if you stop at a restroom that doesn’t have hand soap you’ll appreciate having a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Bring facial tissues, along with a first-aid kit that includes pain relievers, stomach remedies and bandages. And it’s a good idea to pack earplugs, in case you end up in a noisy hotel.
- Camera: You’ll want to remember your trip for years to come. Even if you have a camera function on your phone, there’s always a risk that you could accidentally delete important photos, which is much less likely when you use a real camera.
- Entertainment: Make a collaborative music playlist, asking your travel companions to contribute two or three songs to the mix, so that everyone gets to hear a few tunes they enjoy. You could also find a good audio book, for those times when everyone’s burned-out on music.
- Pillows and blankets: If you have room in your car, you may want to bring a couple of pillows and blankets so passengers can nap comfortably.
- Emergency kit: While you should always have an emergency road kit in your car, it’s especially important when you’re on the open road. You should include jumper cables, a blanket, a gallon of water, road flares and a flash light, at least. And before your trip, take your car in for a tune-up so you can avoid some of the common causes of roadside breakdowns.
It’s good to have an itinerary, but allow some time to stop and explore along the way. Many of the most interesting destinations are those that don’t typically attract a lot of visitors. And although you’re taking your own snacks, stop at an independent restaurant on occasion and enjoy some local fare. The point of your road trip is to have fun getting to your destination!