The cost of gas is going down. Road trip! You’re excited. You’re heading out. But as you’re packing up, do you really have everything you need? Read on to make sure you don’t miss any of these 10 road trip essentials, and prepare yourself for a great trip!
It’s boring and obvious, but please don’t forget to pack a trusty map. GPS devices are great, but there’s no telling when they might give out, or your phone might die with no charger available. A good old fashioned paper map might save the day, and it never hurts to get back down to basics every now and then.
Perhaps the most important thing on a road trip is the music. Relying on the radio can be tricky, especially if you’re going places that aren’t close to major towns or cities (for whatever reason, you can be in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no service, but the Christian Rock station will still come through – don’t let this be your only option!). There are tons of options for hooking up iPods in cars nowadays, or you can always bring a good selection of CDs or old-school tape decks to make sure your car can always rock out.
Almost equally as important as the tunes are the snacks. It’s important to have a varied supply of snacks, from healthy munchies like carrots or apples, to the ever-necessary chips and sweets. Make sure to pick things that won’t get crumbs absolutely everywhere, or leave you feeling and looking disgusting. We’re looking at you, flaming hot Cheetos.
A car charger can be the difference between a great road trip and a disaster that leaves you stranded on the side of the road in the middle of a rainstorm. Being able to keep your phones, cameras, GPS devices, etc. all charged up is key, and will keep you from having to stop at a McDonald’s every 100 kilometers to plug in.
Your car is your castle, but your companions may not want that castle to smell like the inside of a gym locker for your whole trip. Bringing a stick of deodorant is an easy way to keep this from happening, especially if your road trip itinerary doesn’t include shower stops.
What’s the point of doing anything if you can’t upload it to social media so all of your friends can see how much fun you’re having? Make sure you pack some type of camera, even if it’s only the one on your phone, so you can document the traffic jam caused by a bunch of sheep in the road, or that magical sunset you witness as you cruise down the coast. Guaranteed insta-likes for sure!
We’re talking your soccer balls, your Frisbees, your footballs, et cetera. Being on the road for hours at a time makes breaks necessary, and it’s a lot more fun to have something to toss around than settling for just grabbing fast food and sitting on the hood of the car to chow down. Your body will thank you, trust me.
It’s boring, but worth mentioning, because you kind of do need it. Make sure your car is stocked with jumper cables, emergency flares, spare tires, jacks, and all that good stuff. Most cars come stocked with that sort of thing, but it’s worth double checking before you hit the road, especially if it’s a second-hand vehicle. Also, insurance. It’s worth it.
There’s nothing worse than heading back to your car and doing the frantic pocket search before you realize that you’ve lost your keys. Having a spare set in your bag that you always carry with you isn’t a bad idea, especially since your chances of losing your keys multiply tenfold if it’s late at night, the locksmiths aren’t open, it’s raining, and you just ran out of money.
Finally, road trips are about seeing the scenery, but it’s no fun to do it alone. Make sure you have a buddy along for the ride that you know travels well – meaning that they won’t turn into an absolute monster if they get hot, cold, tired, hungry, hungover, etc. Because, chances are, those are going to happen at some point along the way. The elusiveness of the perfect travel buddy cannot be denied, so make sure you get as close to this ideal as you can.