“”Life is like a road trip. Enjoy each day and don’t carry too much baggage.””
The lure of the open road that goes on and on, endlessly, lined on the two sides by breathtaking landscapes that make you want to stop now and then and spend some time in the middle of nowhere. There is something about road trips that trigger the spirit of becoming an adventurer and an explorer in each one of us. From the mountains, the beaches, to the major cities with excellent tourist spots that attract people from all over the world, the lovely little villages with farms and animals and your beloved grandma’s house that smells of love, the possibilities of where a road trip could end up taking you are countless. There is, in fact, no past time that is more relaxing and rejuvenating than taking a road trip. From the different varieties of foods, you can eat to the diverse types of people you can meet to the panorama of natural sights that you can discover, road trips can give you experience and memories of a lifetime. However, no fantastic trip starts or ends without an equally good level of preparation. Of course, you will remember to take with you the essential items such as your smartphones, your pillow, blanket and what not but when it comes to exploring the roads on your wheels, the preparation goes much beyond that. So here we come to you with a full-fledged list of everything that you should take with you on your trip. With the excitement and the thrill that comes with the realization of you taking some days off from your routine and going to do something adventurous and fun, it is easy for you to miss out on remembering to take some things that you will need during the trip. It is these very things that play a huge role in making your drive a lot more pleasant and comfortable.
So let’s get started!
Maps: Yes, road trips are random and sometimes you may not even think where it is where you want to go. At times, you may end up going somewhere entirely different than what you had in mind. We understand the impulse; road trips are bound to make anyone feel that way. However, it is always advisable to have all the maps with you. A GPS or a smartphone map app such as Google Maps is a better option than the paper maps. This is because you cannot possibly have or remember to take a map of every possible place to which you can go. With GPS or Google Maps, no matter where you go, getting the right directions is just a click away. Moreover, you can also look up for the places that you can stop by on the way to admire, which the paper maps may not tell you. You can search for eateries, restaurants, bistros, motels and a lot more. With this kind of convenience, you will not feel directionless. While these devices will help you find the right places and locate the right directions, it’ll be good if you also take an actual paper map so you can mark up the places that you have visited or you intend to go.
Food and Water: You may think that highways are lined up with good places to eat and moreover, a road trip is all about discovering new places, different kinds of food and what not. We agree, but a road trip is also a lot about taking whichever route you please, going on the not-so-frequented off trail routes to see where they take you. If you are only dependent on the eating places on the highways, you will have no choice but to stick to the main roads. Another thing to consider before you think of not packing any heavy and stomach filling food for a road trip is that at times, the eating joints are not as closely located to each other. As you set out from one place after having a few snacks thinking you’ll stop somewhere later to have a fulfilling meal, you may just have to travel a few miles to get to another joint. But at the same time, you may also keep on driving for more than 20 miles at a stretch to finally come to a place that is open and serving good food. Though everyone is prepared for an empty gas tank or a tire puncture, but not having food to eat in case something like this happens is what can turn a happy road trip into a bad one.
Therefore, packing food apart from the snacks is necessary. For this purpose, you can consider MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat. These meals, as suggested by their name, Ready to Eat, can be eaten right after they are taken out from the packet. You don’t need to heat them as they come with a self-activated heating system. Apart from this, these MRE meals are impact resistant and ruggedized for rough use. They are packed in a hermetically sealed environment so they can keep lying on the back seat of your car, and the nutritional value will remain same as ever. Each MRE meal has 1250 calories that are enough for a person for a day along with an extended shelf life from 3 days to 5 years. They come with snacks, water packets, beverages, halal or kosher, and desserts so even if you don’t carry separate packs of snacks and water bottles with you, that’s okay. What matters is that with MRE boxes lying there with you in your car, you will have something healthy and tasty to eat right when you feel hungry.
Apart from these, it’ll be good to carry a few bottles of soft drinks and other beverages you may like.
Emergency and Non-Emergency Car Kit: The car emergency kit comprises of the essentials that you will need when your car breaks down unexpectedly. The kit includes:
- Jumper Cables
- Tire Inflator
- Roadside Emergency Card in case you have it
The non-emergency car kit will include the following:
- Trash bags so you can stuff all the garbage in them
- Tissues and napkins
- Hand sanitizer
- Cleaning wipes
- Laundry bag
- Travel size toiletries
Your medications: In the excitement of the road trip do not forget to pack in your medications, especially the prescription drugs that you have to take. You can only enjoy any trip or outdoor adventure when you’re healthy, so you also need to pack the necessary first aid supplies including some basic medicines that will help in case of emergencies such as:
- Bandages and gauze
Sunscreen and sunglasses: A sunscreen and sunglasses are your best friend during a road trip. You may think that you don’t need a sunscreen especially because you will be driving a car. But it is these people who end up getting tanned and at times even sunburnt especially when the sun is shining right ahead of them. Sunglasses are also necessary since they will help in protecting your eyes from the ultraviolet rays and the unwanted glare. The glare that you get when driving on a two-way street at night can reduce your vision. This reduced visibility due to glare has been the cause of a lot of accidents.
Weather Apps: Not many people think of downloading any weather app on their phone or iPads when they set out on the road trip. People don’t even think about the kind of weather they will be greeted by when they reach their destination. But this is one aspect that you should not ignore. These weather apps will keep you updated about the climatic conditions of the place to which you are heading. If your itinerary involves visiting a hill station, you don’t want to be greeted by rain, snowfall or landslide. All of these weather conditions will tie you down and block you in the place until everything goes back to normal. With a reliable weather app, you can make the right decision at the right time and avoid an unwanted fuss.
A Playlist you love: You are going on a road trip, and there is no reason to forget to take a self-complied playlist of your favorite songs that you can play while on the move. The music will only add to the lively atmosphere in your vehicle and the happy feeling in your heart. Don’t rely on the radio. While it does play some good songs at times, the signal strength varies and dies out completely once you are out in the open outside the city or state boundaries. To help you decide what type of songs to choose, we’ll say have a few for every kind of mood. For a happening day, you may want to listen to some funky and upbeat number while for the day it is a little cloudy outside and the cool breeze is blowing in your face, you may want to listen to some soft or romantic tunes and get into that pensive mood.
Clothing: The only tip when it comes to packing the right clothes is to go comfy. Pulling up tight jeans as it squeezes your stomach is not the kind of negativity you need on a happy go lucky road trip. Don some soft pants, joggers or a comfy pajama along with a hoodie or a loose t-shirt and get started with one of the best trips that you are about to take.
A Camera: And of course the charger. Irrespective of which direction you head into, you will end up making a lot of cherishable memories that you will love looking back to after some time. A camera plays an integral role in creating those memories and then keeping them alive through the photographs. It is great having memoirs of the funny sign boards, farm animals scaling the landscape, the sun setting amongst the mountains or a travel companion sleeping in the weirdest possible way.
Electricity Power Inverter: Though kids enjoy a lot on the road trips, at one point of time they do get tired of all the scenery. To keep them engaged, you can carry a laptop or a portable DVD player. Since these items will have to be charged at regular intervals, you need to have an electricity power inverter which will charge anything from your car’s battery to a small iPod and electric razor. It will be quite convenient for a long road trip. All that the inverter needs to work is a cigarette lighter. Plug it in and there you go.
Have all these things with you and create a road trip that, who knows, may even inspire you to write a story about it?!”