What to Bring to Survive your Road Trip
Who doesn’t love the open road? Blue skies, that endless highway, the Rolling Stones’ “Route 66” blasting out the open windows — it’s an American tradition. There are a few essentials, however, that you’ll want to make sure not to leave home without. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared for every situation, whether it’s realizing you took a wrong turn three hours ago or realizing your own family driving you crazy in a tiny metal capsule hurtling along at 70mph.
You can thank me when you’re somewhere along the Nevada interstate trying to make it to the next motel 8 and suddenly your tire goes flat. Trust me, it’s a lot harder to do in the dark, and you’ll want both hands free. In a less dire situation, you might be glad to have it when the gas stations are a quarter of a day apart and you need to pull over and head off the road a little ways.
- Maps — Real Ones
Yes, your smart phone does it all. In all likelihood, you’ll never need to break out the paper maps and spread them over the dashboard. But just in case, it doesn’t hurt to have these on hand so that you’re not completely helpless when Apple Maps tells you to drive through a lake, or directs you through a dead zone without any signal, or heaven forbid, you cell phone does. Which brings us to….
- Car Charger
You may already have one ready in the glovebox but if you don’t, now is the time to invest. Music, directions, looking up local restaurants…you’ll not want to be caught without a charge in unfamiliar surroundings.
You’re bound to go through areas without any decent radio stations, or just need a change of pace once in awhile. Audiobooks are still a great way to stay engaged when you could swear you’ve been driving in place for the last 10 miles, or when you’re struggling to stay awake for another half hour. Pick a good story and you’ll see the miles fly by.
- Power Snacks
Once you get in a groove, you won’t want to pull over at every stop, and sometimes you just need a quick snack to help perk up. Stock up on healthy, energizing snacks (and just a couple tasty treats, too). It’s easy to reach for a chocolate bar, but you’re in it for the long haul and you’ll be glad of foods that can keep you going. If you have kids in the car, you’ll be glad of an easy way to make them happy, as well.
- A Traveling Library
It’s one thing when you’re on the road, but don’t forget to prepare for those nights in motel rooms as well. Try bringing some of your old, worn favorites for when you start craving a little taste of the familiar.
- Paper Towels & Wet Wipes
Accidents happen! It’s good to be able to reach for the paper towels when your soda spills all over the passenger seat, or your gas station lunch is a little stickier than it should be. Besides, you never know what condition you’re going to find those gas station bathrooms in…
- Bathing Suit
Even if you’re two days inland, you should always be ready for a beautiful lake with a sandy beach or popular riverbank dotted with picnic-ers. Getting in the water is a great way to stretch your limbs and break up the trip. Besides, your best memories will always be made outside the car.
Read up on more good tips here.