Oh, road tripping. It’s one of those fun, adventurous things you can do year round and on a pretty small budget. Quite frankly, a day trip to your nearest outdoorsy happy place counts as a road trip in my book. The weekend and longer road trips tend to get more attention, but if you’re in the car on a mission to love life…it’s a road trip! Don’t sell yourself or your adventures short!
The true beauty of road trips is that they’re much easier to plan and prepare for than anything that requires a flight. All you really need is a car, a destination and some gas money. Right? Well, sort of. Technically you’ll survive with that, but you can make the adventure even more fun if you pack along some of these road trip essentials…
Road Worthy Snacks
What is a road trip without a heaping pile of roadworthy snacks?! It’s that why you go on road trips…to shovel delicious handfuls of sugar or fistfuls of salt into your face while gazing out at the wonders of Mother Nature!? If that’s not a motivator you should add it to your ‘to try’ list! You’ll love it, we promise!
What snacks are truly road worthy? This depends upon your palate, but we have a few we’d love to suggest.
Salty Awesome: white cheddar popcorn, chex mix, homemade ‘puppy chow’, pretzel bites
Sugar Highs: Skittles, Mike + Ike, almond M&M’s, Red Vines/Twizzlers
Of course, all of this impulsive snacking should probably be balanced out with some ‘real food’. This will keep you from hating life when your stomach starts screaming for some actual nutrients. One way to dip into a few more food groups is eating out — you’ll find some pretty tasty roadside stops. Better yet, stop by roadside fruit stands! There is also the option of packing along some healthier snacks…
Healthy Eats: bananas, apples, dried fruit, jerky/beef sticks, string cheese, crackers
Once you’ve filled your back seat with snacks…you’re set to go! Right? What else could you need for a road trip!?
Earfuls of Entertainment
Now that you’re on the road, what are you going to do with your time? Obviously, you’ll be paying attention to road signs and rules, but there have to be more exciting ways to pass the time, right?! Yes, yes, yes. First, there is the option to pack along a few friends. We strongly recommend this! You’ll have endless hours of conversation to keep you awake and entertained.
Except, what happens when you’re actually tired of bonding conversation and ridiculous debates? Silence?! NO! This is where someone else’s banter comes into play!
Get your hands on a podcast app or a few audiobooks. There is always the radio and NPR…also great sources of entertainment. But downloaded podcasts and audiobooks will let you avoid the static that accompanies any radio station into remote areas.
Better yet, both podcasts and audiobooks can be free if you plan ahead just a few days. Before you head out on a road trip download the Libby [by Overdrive] app and update your favorite podcast app [we use Castbox]. If you’re a music person you may want to consider subscribing to your favorite streaming service so you can listen offline. We prefer Spotify because it also gives you access to podcasts.
The Libby app is amazing. You simply download the app, enter your library card number and start borrowing audiobooks [or e-books] to take with you anywhere. The books will automatically return on their due date so you’ll never have late fees and you can get a new book whenever you have WiFi access. Castbox is similarly awesome, giving you access to hundreds of podcasts. You can subscribe to your favorites and adjust the settings so any new episodes will automatically download to your phone when you have WiFi access.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your car is…after so many hours it gets uncomfortable and rather claustrophobic. When you’re headed out on a day trip it’s not too bad, but if you’re committing to a week or more on the road. Phew, you’ll love yourself for packing a few comforts from home! Here are a few things we suggest to keep you loving life on the road…
Blanket + Pillow: It can be a throw pillow and the blanket you keep near the couch for your cold toes but pack something toasty. If you’re traveling with someone else the blanket will come in handy for whoever is a bit more cold-blooded — keep the car at a ‘reasonable’ temperature for the hot-blooded and wrap the other person in a blanket.
The pillow will give the passenger something to snooze on when conversation dwindles or the scenery gets repetitive [don’t judge until you’ve driven across Nebraska!]. Combine these two cozy comforts for a backseat nap…whether traveling alone or with someone. Sometimes your eyes just need a break!
Ibuprofen, Allergy Meds, etc: These aren’t so cozy, but they may be able to make your world a lot more comfortable! If your sunglasses are giving you a headache you’ll love yourself for packing along some ibuprofen. Fields of wildflowers and cottonwood fluff blowing in the breeze can be beautiful…if you can see them through your watering eyes. You never know when you’ll discover a new allergy, pack accordingly.
‘Car Camping’ Gear: If you’re planning on camping while on this road trip don’t limit yourself to your stash of ‘backpacking’ gear. Expand! You have a whole car to pack [okay, that mentality gets dangerous quick, but you have more room in your car than a 50L pack!]. Don’t be afraid to pack along a comfy air mattress and a tent with a little wiggle room.
Of course, there are many more comforts from home you can stash in your car for your next road trip, but we hope this gets you started!
‘Safety First’ Stash
Now that we’ve touched on all the fun stuff…let’s chat about the safety side of road tripping. When you’re traveling in your car you’ll need to have a stash of ‘first aid’ necessities for yourself and your car.
You can grab a standard first aid kit for yourself [or make one from what you already have at home!] and an ‘emergency’ pack for your car. If you’re traveling into some remote areas it’s strongly suggested you watch at least a few videos on how to change a tire and jump start your car [better yet, practice!]. Hopefully, you won’t need any of these safety stashes or pockets of car smarts, but you want to be prepared!
Also, make sure you have a proper spare tire, a legitimate tire iron and a jack that works…as in, test it all at home. We may be emphasizing this because it’s something we failed to do once. The same goes for jumper cables. Even if you don’t need them, someone you meet may and who doesn’t need a little extra road karma!?
So, there you have it…everything you need for road tripping. Sort of. This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but it’ll get you started on the road to fun-tastic adventures on the road! Check out this “US: Road Trips” Pinterest board for even more ideas for road trip packing, planning and safety!
What would you add to this list?! Fill us in…we’re sure you have a few great tips we haven’t thought of yet!
Looking to take on a road trip but don’t have the time or desire to do all the planning? We’re here to help! Shoot us a message with what you have in mind and we’ll get back to you >> Contact Us!