So you’ve grabbed a friend or two and you’re going on a roadtrip. You’ve got your route mapped out, and you know several places you want to stop thanks to planning your trip with Roadtrippers. Only thing left to do is pack the car. But with what? You want to be careful not to overpack, but you also need to be prepared for anything. Here’s a list to help you get ready for your next roadtrip.
1 – A case of water
Yes, a case. Maybe even two. You can never have too much water, and what does a case of water really even cost? $3? You’ll spend that on just two bottles of water at a gas station. Get the water before your trip!
2 – A pillow and blanket
Both for the hotel and the car ride, bring your own pillow and blanket. If you’re going on a long trip, chances are you’ll want to take a break for a nap at some point – you’ll be thankful for your pillow. The blanket? Besides just to make you cozier, it’ll be good to have when you and your carmates can’t agree on a temperature. The pillow and blanket will also be comforting to have and use at any hotels you stop at along the way.
3 – Roadtrip music, podcasts, & an auxiliary cord
There’s no arguments that you need good music to listen to on a roadtrip; podcasts are another good choice. Set up a playlist on your smartphone and download podcast episodes before your trip – you never know when you’ll be in the middle of the mountains or a forest with no cell service. And you won’t want the podcast to get cut-off! If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth to sync, make sure you have an auxiliary cord that will let you connect your device to the speakers.
4 – Coins for tolls
If you have an EZ Pass (or your state’s equivalent) for paid highways and tolls, that’s great. But occasionally you may come across a spot that doesn’t accept the passes. Be prepared just in case and have a fair amount of change and some dollar bills with you for those situations. (Or you can be like my mom and spend your last cash on ice cream for the kids and have no cash left to pay the toll on the way home… But hey, ice cream is always worth it!)
5 – Fooooooood
Stopping for fast food for every meal can get expensive, not to mention how unhealthy it is! Be prepared; save your waistline and your money by bringing food with you. I recommend car-friendly snacks – bananas, crackers, granola bars, etc. And if you’re the type of person who needs a little ‘pick-me-up’ on long driving stretches, pack yourself some energy drinks or iced coffee. My favorite roadtrip snack? Corn puffs from Trader Joe’s. Super cheap and super delicious. YUM.
6 – A cooler
Speaking of food, make sure that you have a cooler in your car. This will not only help to keep your drinks and snacks cold, but will also preserve any temperature-sensitive things you may buy along your route, like chocolate or candles. It’s also helpful to keep freshly filled growlers cold!
7 – Extra chargers
Yes, you have your standard phone charger for the hotel room, but did you remember your car charger and your portable charger? Those can be lifesavers! You know you’ll want to be documenting and sharing your trip with all of your friends back home and your battery will take a beating. Be prepared with back-ups.
8 – Comfy clothes
Hey, if you’re going to be in the car for an extended amount of time, why not be comfortable? Sweatpants and a t-shirt is the best ensemble – with flip-flops for the car ride and sneakers to easily change into for stops.
9 – Addresses
So many addresses – make sure you have addresses for the places (parks, hotels, museums, etc.) you want to go and screenshot the directions on your phone; again, just in case you can’t get service when you need it! Also, have the home addresses for your friends and family to whom you’ll send postcards. Everybody loves postcards! Especially when you’re traveling a long distance.
10 – An emergency kit
This goes without saying. Make sure you have a car emergency kit in case of any unexpected problems and a first aid kit for you and your traveling buddies! You will be super grateful that you packed that ibuprofen or antacid later on in your trip.
11 – A go-with-the-flow attitude
Traffic happens. Sometimes directions are wrong. That place you really wanted to visit is closed. That’s okay! In fact, changes in plans sometimes make for the most memorable parts of your trip. You might find a new place that you hadn’t known about, or see something really interesting along a detour. Whatever you do, DON’T let it stress you out. You’re on a vacation and ready for an adventure. Enjoy whatever happens!