Above: An actual picture part way through our road trip!
Without further ado, here are the 12 essential things you need to take with you on any road trip!
1.) Food and Drinks (no alcohol): Eat. Drink. Drive. Repeat. is the most essential yet probably not the easiest mantra to have on your road trip – especially when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with no restaurants/shops in sight (or on the maps for miles). This is why it makes sense to pack yourself some nice snacks and drinks in the car for moments like the one just described. This way, you can carry on your journey knowing that liquid and solid sustenance is not a concern of yours. 🙂 I would advice against packing alcohol (unless it’s in a boot which can not be accessed from inside the car) – first off, there’s no need to pack alcohol, you can just get it when you get to your destination/pit stop and are ready to relax/get hyper on a night out but also, in America, the police is very strict about things like this and you could find your road trip cut short thanks to a fairly silly mistake like this so its better to be safe than sorry.
2.) A Phone with GPS: First off, make sure you have a data plan loaded in case you need to access the internet on the go (this is key to being flexible and planning spur of the moment stops). Also ensure the phone has all your travel apps loaded on them. For things like offline-maps, don’t forget that in addition to downloading the app on to your phone, you will probably end up having to also download the map you need. I’ve ended up downloading offline maps waaaay too many times and then realising that I can’t access the map I need as the app hasn’t downloaded it.
3.) Hard copy (Physical) Maps: It’s probably best to hedge your bets against any technology issues and get a backup physical map as well. Now you have no (solid) excuse for getting lost – outwith any random diversions you might wanna take on the road trip of course. This has come in handy quite a few times and particularly instances where your phone is out of battery which leads me to my next point…
4.) Cigarette-light USB charger adapter: Effectively these convert the charging points/cigarette lighters in the car to a generic USB slot which can be used to charge almost every and any kind of device. Now you don’t have to worry about running out of battery life on that 7 hour driving stretch you have been dreading for ages.
5.) GoPro: How else are you planning on catching all the underwater twerking shots and video or manatees swimming past you? 🙂 Also, great for mounting on a go-pole and sticking outside your window as your drive – the bewildered look from passersby is definitely worth it! Haha! 🙂 In all seriousness though, this is a sturdy piece of equipment that does not compromise on video quality and is a lot easier than trying to record a video on your iPhone or DSLR (if it has that feature).
6.) Toiletries: Pack you own supply! Do not rely on having stuff that you need everywhere you go – remember there will be long stretches of driving with nothing in sight so you don’t wanna get caught short. Plus things like wet wipes can be quite refreshing after a long, active and dare I say, sweaty day!
7.) Travelling Pillows (…duvets and whatever else): As long as you’re not driving, take some comfy stuff so you can have a nap in the car. This is particularly important if you’re doing the next shift of driving – best to get nice and rested before your turn at the wheel.
8.) Camera: For all the potentially amazing photo opportunities! #Simples (Aaaarrrggghh! Now I have that compare the meerkat advert stuck in my head).
9.) Music: Make sure you get a good road trip mix and one that will appeal to almost all the passengers on said trip. A few power ballads for Alan, some rock music for Emily, a bit of pop for Steve and some great ‘cheese’ for everyone to sing to until they’re hoarse!
10.) Loose change for tolls: Depending on where you’re driving, you could find yourself stuck on a toll road with no way to get past if you have no change and they don’t take cards so spare yourself the hassle and just get stocked up on lots of loose change! This is fairly easy to do when you make stops are supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants. Pool all your change into a little ‘kitty’ and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of scrambling around for change when you see the toll booths in the distance.
11.) Friends and/or Family: The best part of any road trip is the company you travel with so make sure you get your best people on that trip with you.
12.) Car: Well duh!!! How else were you planning on getting around? Haha! 😉
With all these packed, now you are truly ready for your road trip! Excited?