BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
The key to a successful road trip, like any good trip, is the planning stage. A road trip can be relaxing, fun and overall an unforgettable experience. It’s probable that you will face a few problems along the way, but to keep the issues to a minimum, it just takes a little preparation. No matter if you’re going for a weekend or hitting the road for months, there are some essentials to ensure you’re the ultimate road trip planner.
So you’ve planned the route, packed the car and you’re ready to go. But are you? Don’t forget about these road trip essentials. You’ll thank me later.
These are the 10 things you need to pack before hitting the road:
Maps, maps and more maps
By the packing stage hopefully you’ve planned the exact route you’ll be taking, but you’ll still need arguably the most important thing to remember on your trip: maps. Do you and your buddies a favour and bring more than one. This means bring your GPS, map it out on your iPhone and screenshot the directions and even kick it old school and bust out an old school paper map- yes, they still make them. A GPS can break, a phone can die, but you’re paper map will always be there for you.
It’s pretty standard to take your ID with you everywhere you go, but you’ll need a little more on your road trip. You’ll need your passport if you’re crossing borders; along with cash, you should bring your credit cards in case of emergency; make sure you have all of the proper car documents and insurance in case of an accident; and if you’ve purchased travel insurance before your departure, bring that documentation with you.
There’s an app for that!
It’s true, there’s an app for everything these days and road trips are no exception. Download a handful of apps to make your road trip planning that much easier. There’re tons of travel apps on the app store, however, these are a few of the best:
- ‘Fuel My Route’ will find the cheapest gas prices along your route
- ‘Along The Way’ helps locate whatever you need (bathroom, restaurant, shopping) the quickest while helping you avoid traffic
- ‘TripIt’ is basically a cheat sheet- enter all of your booked hotel stops and your route and it will create an itinerary for you
Please don’t stop the music
For the love of road trips, don’t trust the radio! You’ll be driving through cities and towns you haven’t yet explored and you don’t need a constant static as your background noise. Like any good car ride, there has to be a good soundtrack…especially with a road trip! Make a playlist, update your iPod, create a mix tape or download an app like ‘Spotify’ if you can rely on having a phone signal. Or get a few audio books or podcasts! They help pass the time and can be pretty damn entertaining.
Don’t be a slob
You’ll be basically living out of your car during your road trip, so for the sake of everyone else in the car, keep it clean. Long hours in a packed car with un-showered people and fast food can be a stinky mix so be sure to bring along some cleaning supplies. Necessities: air freshener, garbage bags, wet wipes, paper towel and toilet paper. Pro tip: keep an open box of dryer sheets in the car to have a constant fresh smell.
If you’re going to be doing activities at each stop on your road trip, like hiking or swimming, or if you’re generally just an accident-prone person, don’t forget how necessary a first aid kit can be. Just pack a few items for an easy fix: bandages, motion sickness medicine, anti-bacterial cream and ibuprofen can be thrown into a little bag just in case.
Before you leave be sure to have your oil and tires checked. Here’s hoping you don’t have any breakdown emergencies, but you should probably be prepared just in case. Always have your CAA or AAA number handy, but there a few other things you should pack before your road trip. Pack these breakdown supplies to ensure you’re prepared for the worst: a flashlight, batteries, a spare tire and the knowledge to replace a flat tire, windshield washer fluid, a spare set of keys and a basic tool kit.
If you’re travelling through the mountains or alongside the beach there’re going to be tons of photo opportunities. Your phone may do justice, but if you’re looking for something a little better bring your camera. Bring extra memory cards and extra charged batteries to ensure you don’t miss a single moment of your road trip. Get creative with it!
Snacks on snacks on snacks
So important. You won’t forget to eat, as one of the joys of travelling is trying new restaurants and cuisines, however, since you’re travelling on the road you probably won’t be eating the healthiest. To combat this it’s essential to pack some healthy snacks and water. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll save some money. So grab a cooler, toss in some water and pack in your favourite snacks.