One of the greatest things about summer is the road trip – you gather friends and hit the road for an open-ended, itinerary-free journey. While the actual road trip for many people is an impromptu, largely unplanned, “on a whim” vacation on wheels, it’s actually important to do at least a little bit of planning ahead to make sure you and your fellow travelers have a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Following are seven of the most important items to add when you pack for a road trip:
There are easily hundreds of uses for baby wipes that don’t involve babies, and when you’re traveling, these will be an invaluable part of your road trip essentials package. Whether you use them to clean up spills in the car, to wipe off anything that gets dirty, to clean off sticky fingers after a snack, or even to freshen up after being in a warm car for hours, you’ll be glad you brought them. Choose chlorine-free baby wipes like those from Seventh Generation that don’t contain alcohol, synthetic chemicals, dyes, or fragrances to enjoy freshness without damaging the environment (or your skin).
We know – almost everyone has a cell phone these days! However, if you’re going to be traveling with other cars, it’s a good idea to pick up a set of walkie talkies for use in those areas with poor/no phone service. It’s always good to have an alternative, and even in areas that do have cell phone service, walkie talkies make an easy job of communication; it’s so much easier to pick them up and start chatting, rather than constantly redialing a phone number and waiting with your phone on-hand to talk to people in the other car.
A Motion Sickness Remedy
If you’ve ever suffered from motion sickness, you know that nothing can dampen a road trip quicker than feeling woozy in a car, plane, boat, or train. Even if you don’t normally suffer from symptoms of dizziness, nausea, and a queasy stomach, you’ll want to bring something to have on hand for you or anyone else in your group. The best relief can be found with an all-natural product without side effects that also works fast so that you can get back to enjoying your experience. Motioneaze is readily available over-the-counter, and it works within five minutes.
A Real Map
Don’t rely completely on electronics to get you from Point A to Point B; bringing a physical map or atlas with you to fall back on in case you lose a signal or run out of battery can be a life saver. The other nice thing about physical maps is that you can see what else is ahead of you to visit instead of the myopic view provided by the small GPS screen.
Car Emergency Kit
You should always be prepared for the unexpected to happen – whether it be an accident, a break-down, or anything else. Your emergency kit should contain everything from first aid products, jumper cables, duct tape, and a pocket knife or box cutter to some basic tools, a guide for changing a tire, and a flashlight. Pre-assembled kits are available everywhere in many different sizes and price ranges.
When you’re tired of the same old CDs and tracks and you can’t find anything to listen to on the radio, audio books make a great rescue! Check out some favorites like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or anything else you’re interested in – it’s a great way to take your mind off of things when the old “ho hum” sets in, and also gives the driver something to pay attention to that doesn’t detract his or her eyes from the road.
Road-worthy Snacks and Water
You’ll want to bring water bottles and some good snacks for the road – avoid greasy foods, foods that come with dairy-based dips (like ranch dressing), and foods that crumble all over the place. To save some room and make packing easier, be sure to use a soft-sided cooler instead of a hard-sided one that isn’t flexible at all. Avoid bringing sodas and energy drinks that can increase your body temperature and heart rate, and those that will dehydrate you, especially in hot weather.
Whenever you pack for a road trip, what you bring for the journey is equally as important as the items you pack for your actual destination. Be sure to plan ahead and make lists of road trip essentials, which will help you stay organized and limit the chances of you forgetting something important. You don’t want to have to spend money purchasing something that was left at home! With a few key items and some pre-planning, you’ll be able to give you and your companions a road trip to remember!