ROAD TRIP! That phrase can cause feelings of either excitement or dread. There are so many things to remember when you plan a road trip, and your experience often depends on how well you prepare. Make the process easier and put smiles on all the passengers’ faces with some must-have gear that is essential for every road trip. Here’s a checklist of five things you should do and the things you need to stock up on before hitting the open road.
- Prep the Car
Before you start to plan a road trip, think about the state of your car. You’ll be spending lots of time in it, so give it a thorough scrubbing. Clear out all the excess clutter that always seems to pile up. Make a trip to the car wash and spend extra time vacuuming seats and mats. For an extra special finishing touch, spray a car-friendly scent to counteract the normal eau de kids, pets, or your buddies.
- Enjoy the Journey
You may know where you’re heading, but the fun part of a road trip is figuring out the best way to get there—and that’s not always the fastest. Look for zany stops off the main route that you normally would avoid. Make a checklist of all the places you want to visit. You will definitely need a smartphone holder for your car to keep your GPS app front and center to get you where you’re going. (World’s largest ball of twine, anyone?)
- Rock Out!
Music is crucial! When you plan a road trip, also plan a playlist. Let everyone pick a station or contribute songs to a master list. When it’s time to kick things into high gear, just bust out your a portable microphone karaoke player. You never know when you might need the perfect song, so get one that connects to smartphones, and you can belt out tunes no matter where you are.
- Keep Warm
When you crank up the air conditioning or drive through colder areas, cars can get a little nippy. Bring along extra blankets so everyone keeps warm. Better yet, find a travel pillow and blanket set for extra coziness.
- Don’t Drive on an Empty Stomach
What’s the true key to car travel success? Plan a road trip with “stomach first” in mind. Load up on snacks to keep everyone munching. Nothing makes traveling more stressful than the sound of grumbling tummies. Pack healthy snacks (if you must), but throw in treats too, like popcorn and candy. Also bring plenty of water and drinks. Reusable water bottles are easy to fill up as you go. If water just won’t cut it when you’re driving for long stretches, pack a travel espresso kit. You can give yourself a caffeine jolt without leaving the car. And don’t worry about stopping to use the restroom along the way. Staying hydrated is more important. Plus, everyone knows that rest stops in random places are the best parts of road trips!