Now, I don't know if anyone is like me, but I live about 12 hours away from my college. The most dreadful part of my whole summer is the car ride from New Jersey to Kentucky. I am crammed into a car filled with all of the stuff I will need to survive for nine months, plus my parents, three sisters, and the anticipation and excitement of getting to school. Between waking up at the crack of dawn and having most of my stuff already packed, I often forget the things I need to survive just on the car ride down. So, after doing this trip about four times now, I've made a list of the things I must have with me in the car.
Okay, a phone charger is a must for every situation, but specifically, this is one where you need specifically your own phone charger. You are going to want to document every state and town you pass, with a Snapchat of the welcome sign or a sign pointing towards a friend's hometown. Your friends are also going to be texting you non-stop as the anticipation to finally get to school overcomes you. Without a phone charger, that 12-hour trip can seem a whole lot longer, especially when you need a break from your family.
For a 12-hour ride with five other people, you are going to wind up stopping every hour or so for the bathroom, food, or just to stretch. Lacing up sneakers or getting your feet into that tight pair of sandals is not ideal, so do your feet a favor and wear/pack flip flops for the ride.
It's summertime and hot, to say the least. You are probably wearing shorts and a tank or t-shirt, but after being in the car for a little with the air conditioning on full blast, you are going to be freezing. You might think that you can just change the temperature in the car to your liking, but with five other people and a bunch of stuff packed up, you're most likely not going to get your way. You can try to pack comfy sweatshirt and sweatpants, but the second someone opens the door when you stop, you will feel like you are in the middle of a desert heatwave again. So, I suggest a blanket that can be thrown on and off.
This one may be a bit obvious. But, I suggest packing at least one whole meal and some filling snacks along the way, especially ones that are not too sticky. When you are on highways, freeways, etc., sometimes you wind up on a road where the closest Chick Fil A, Starbucks, or McDonald's isn't for some time or is not on the path you're taking. I also suggest, if you are not driving, to not drink caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic and will make you have to go to the bathroom, and if you're not driving, you don't always have a say in when you get a bathroom stop. Bathrooms are gross.
Public bathrooms and rest areas are gross. You do not want to be going to the bathroom, then getting right back in the car to relax. Who knows the last time they cleaned that door handle, and now your gonna try and touch your face or eat something. So, save yourself the cold and bring baby wipes. Also, odds are you or someone in the car is going to spill something sticky while trying to eat or drink on bumpy trip. Those wipes will totally come in handy.
I don't know if it's just my family, but we seem to accumulate a lot of trash along our trip. Between water bottles, food, and napkins, your entire car can turn into a garbage can. Bringing a shopping bag and filling it with trash along the way makes it not only so much neater but so much easier to dispose of at every stop.
It's difficult enough to keep your eyes open on a long road trip, so don't let the sun impale your vision anymore.
When you're traveling far, you never know where you're going to run into rain. This is often forgotten because you imagine yourself in the car the entire time, but the five minutes you take running in and out is not worth sitting in damp clothes for the rest of the ride.
Walking into a restaurant or eatery with a large blue stain on your shirt is very embarrassing. Help yourself and take the Tide stick in case of any unforeseen emergencies.
After so many hours of eating, sleeping, and not drinking too much, your breath may stink. Having a toothbrush and toothpaste easily accessible can make you feel so much fresher after not moving for so long. It will be like you just woke up again.
A playlist is always a must, and you probably already have a summer jams playlist and a car playlist, but are either of those appropriate for the whole family? When you're alone, who cares what the lyrics are to a song or what type of music it is, but when you're with your family, do yourself a favor and create a separate versatile playlist. This will not only stop you from getting in trouble because of the "distasteful music" you listen to, but it will also stop any arguing.
So if you happen to find yourself in a 12-hour car ride to school this semester, these essentials will hopefully make your trip a little bit easier!