Mapping out a road trip is by far the hardest part, and if you’re reading this, it should be safe to assume that you’re beyond that grueling phase. But now that your route is picked and your itinerary is in order, the question still remains: what the hell do you need bring on this road trip?
You shouldn’t need an internet blog to tell you that a change of clothes and a few extra pairs of underwear are a good idea on the open road. After all, this is a vacation and you’re an adult (allegedly), so we’ll skip over the basics of suitcase packing.
Unlike most other vacations, however, a road trip will have you bouncing from one hotel (or parking lot) to the next. That time in transit without a “home base” presents its own set of challenges – even if you never need break out the jumper cables.
Last month, two college friends and I loaded into my crossover and trekked through the Midwest on a week-long ballpark road trip. Somewhere in between the baseball and barbecue, these items were truly the glue that held our trip together.
Caffeinate your cooler
Gas station coffee is all at once dependable and unpredictable: you always know it’s there, but you never can count on enjoying it. Most road trippers should know to bring a small cooler to stay hydrated on the long drives, but mixing in a few coffees with your water bottles is a must.
You can find canned cold brew coffee in all sorts of flavors, so you can stay alert on the highway without penciling in another stop. When you find yourself dozing off with 50 miles to the next exit, you’ll be thankful you have backup within arm’s reach.
Keep the energy up
It may kill your inner Kerouac to admit it, but you’re going to rely on technology for a healthy amount of this road trip. From the GPS navigation to your carefully crafted playlists, your crew’s phones will get plenty of use from Point A to Point B.
Pro Tip: It’s best to split these duties between multiple devices to avoid your phone overheating on your dashboard, which makes a multi-port car charger incredibly convenient. A portable phone charger is also great to bring on your road trip, in case you have days that involve a bit more exploring on foot.
Stay fresh, feel fresh
With so much time and so many snacks in your car, a few spills and messes are a lock. A pack of baby wipes can help avoid some sticky situations, and may even help you avoid an unnecessary stop or two along the way.
In addition, if you’re planning on sleeping in your car some nights, wiping your face (among other areas) can help you stay fresh until your next chance to shower. It’d be wrong of your crew to judge – and your secret’s safe with me.
If you have more ideas of what to bring on a road trip, leave them in the comments below!