Summer conjures up ideas of days at the beach, evening bike rides, afternoon baseball games, and, if you’re lucky, a road trip across open roads. Whether you have a specific destination in mind for your road trip, or you have the freedom to meander across the states—and perhaps down route 66—there are a few essentials you’ll need in the car with you.
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A Must Have For Every Trip: Navigation
The first must have, no matter what kind of road trip you’re on, is a reliable GPS navigator. Whether you’re using your phone or a navigation system like Garmin, these digital devices will ensure you don’t spend waste precious time by going off course. In addition, it’s a good idea to keep a paper map in your glove compartment, just in case the GPS fails or you’re out of WiFi territory when using your mobile device.
Day-Trip Must Haves
Even with short day trips of only a couple hours, you’ll need some form of entertainment. If your phone is being used as your GPS then bring along some old school CDs. These are particularly important for when radio stations are going in and out. You may also want to download a few audio books ahead of time for the whole car to listen to. And let’s not forget the most important thing on a road trip… Food! You don’t want to have to keep stopping for food and drinks, so be sure to bring a cooler with some snacks and waters for smooth sailing.
Weekend Getaway Essentials
Whether you are headed south to the Grand Canyon, west to the Golden Gate Bridge, north to the Sleeping Bear Dunes of Michigan, or east to Niagara Falls, chances are you’ll be spending a fair amount of time in the car. In addition to the entertainment and some food items, pack some fun games—other than your imagination—like playing cards for the passengers. Comfort matters, too, especially if you don’t want to be stopping just to stretch every hour. Bring and wear comfy clothes, as well as items like pillows and blankets.
To be on the safe side, also stow a first aid kit packed with essentials like ginger for those who suffer from car sickness, as well as other OTC medicines, like aspirin and band aids. Along the same lines, be sure to have a car emergency kit with you in case any accidents should befall you while traveling far from home.
Wherever The Wind Takes You
If you and your friends have plenty of time to hit the road and explore the country, chances are you won’t have too many plans on where to take pit-stops. As such, bring plenty of items that make it easy to freshen up from the road, like baby wipes (this can work great to sanitize hands), as well as dry shampoo, breath mints or Listerine strips, and some stain remover since you most likely won’t have access to laundry. In addition to all those responsible items, be sure to have your camera on you to document all your road trip shenanigans and stops along the way.
One last thought about road trips: Are you caravaning among a few cars? Bring walkie talkies with you! When you hit a bad patch of cell service, which is inevitable when you spend enough tine on the road, you can still communicate about your next pit stop or roadside attraction.
Liz SanFilippo Hall is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not blogging about food, she’s working part-time at a culinary vacation company, The International Kitchen, based in the Windy City, as well as repping Younique cosmetics and skincare products. Some of her writing can be found at Examiner.com.