There are two types of people in this world: those who love road trips, and those who hate road trips. (Ok there might be a few more categories, but for the sake of this post, just go with me on this one.)
I am generally in the “I love road trips!!!” camp. There are times when the thought of sitting in a car for over 6 hours sounds like actual death, but for the most part I am usually on board. Road trips for family vacations were always the norm growing up, and it was no big deal to spend 12 hours sitting in the car with my family. As I have gotten older, I began to enjoy road trips with not my family. I took a road trip out to Maryland when I was 20, a trip out to DC that same year (and with the same car-mate!), and later I rode out to North Carolina with a friend for a 2 day round-trip adventure.
While riding in a car with other people is great, I also actually really enjoy taking a solo road trip. It can be really nice to listen to what YOU want to, sing out as LOUD as you want, catch up on phone calls, or simply sit and be quiet for a while and enjoy some alone time. I just got home from a little road trip to see family and friends and go to a wedding and really enjoyed my time alone in the car.
With all of my road trip experience, I wanted to share what I always have on hand as my “road trip essentials” – never leave home without them!
Drinks – WATER! I always have a bottle of water in the car with me! Nothing is worse than getting a dry mouth from singing out loud for 4 hours straight- you need to stay hydrated! Sometimes I’ll have another beverage in the car with me (like Dr. Pepper or coffee if I need to stay awake), but you can bet I also have water with me, too.
Snacks – Even if you’re not hungry at the start, you’ll want to have some snacks on hand for later! What if there isn’t a place to stop for miles and you’re starting to get hangry? Nobody wants that. Pack snacks. Some of my favorites include popcorn, skittles, homemade cookies, and maybe something healthy if I know I’ll be on the road for a while. Maybe.
Tunes – You gotta have tunes. Stock your car with your favorite old CDs or make an epic playlist on your iPod to keep you entertained. Make sure you have songs to sing to, songs that you’re ok not singing along to, and songs to keep you energized if you’re driving at night!
Not Tunes – Another reason I love road trips is that it gives me time to listen to an audiobook or catch up on some of my favorite podcasts. You can download podcasts and listen to them offline (so you don’t use data for 11 hours while driving!) and you can get audiobooks to check out from your local library for FREE!
Light Accessories – Car temperatures really frustrate me sometimes. Nothing is worse than being too hot or too cold and not being able to fix it right away. To avoid that, I almost never drive with my coat on while on a winter road trip (don’t worry, it’s in the back seat) because the sun beating down through the windshield can make my car VERY toasty. Having a scarf and gloves at the ready can help me even out temps when I need to.
Emergency Supplies – Better safe than sorry, ammiright? Hot hands, a blanket, more water, granola bars, my AAA info, reflective gear- you never know what you might need.
Car Charger – This is always a huge life saver! Especially since I’m usually using my phone to listen to my book or play my latest Spotify playlist (that has been saved for offline use- don’t want to drain that data!) and that can use up batter faster than you’d expect. And also, it’s nice to arrive at your destination with a fully charged phone. Nobody liked the guest who walks through the door and immediately needs to plug in their phone (but yeah, I’ve definitely done that before.)
General Knowledge – It’s always good to have a general idea of where you’ll be driving so you’re not just blindly following your GPS. I always like to know where big towns are ahead of time so I know when I’ll have a good place to stop and go to the bathroom. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of using shady side of the road rest stop bathrooms. Just, no.
Eyewear – Sunglasses are a must! That sun gets bright- especially if you are driving west at 6pm and the sun is in your eyes and there is nothing you can do about it. Wear contacts? Be sure to have your glasses in the car with you, just in case! I wear glasses when I’m driving at night and so those are a must for me!
Excitement – Don’t be a party pooper, get ready to enjoy your road trip! Nobody wants to spend HOURS in the car with a cranky person, so get excited to go on an adventure! Have some FUN!