What To Bring On A Summer Road Trip
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What To Bring On A Summer Road Trip

The idea of a summer road trip conjures images of cruising down an open road in a convertible while “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts plays in the background.

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What To Bring On A Summer Road Trip
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I love road trips. Most of my favorite memories of being a kid are linked to one road trip or another, and my family took a lot of road trips. We would regularly drive out to Joshua Tree or up to Lake Tahoe, and one Summer we even drove all the way from Los Angeles to Chicago and back again. Not only are road trips the quintessential summer vacation, but they embody the spirit of freedom. Road trips have none of the time sensitive obligation that flying requires. On a road trip you are free to stay as long as you want, leave whenever you want, and change your plans at a moments notice. However, there is a dark side to road trips. For a lot of my generation, road trips are remembered as involuntary family bonding time filled with horrible word games and awkward family photos. Whichever kind of road trip you are taking this summer, be it with your friends or with your family, being well prepared on the road will help relieve some of the stress from your trip.

1. Audio Books

Sure if you are a passenger you could put in your earbuds and spend the drive watching movies, but what’s the point of that? An audio book provides engaging entertainment for all the occupants of the car while also allowing you to look around at the scenery and enjoy the journey. Plus if you happen to fall asleep and miss a chunk of the book, not that I’ve ever done that, you can ask your wonderful driver to fill you in.

2. A Kick Ass Playlist

If audio books don’t do it for you, or even if they do, sometimes you just need to roll your windows down and rock out. For a truly great road trip playlist go for high energy songs, you want tunes that will help whoever is driving stay awake. Bonus points if the only song on your playlist is “I Would Walk 500 Miles” by the Proclaimers.

3. Snacks, lots and lots of snacks.

Road trips are the perfect excuse for guilt-free snacking. Go ahead and load up on potato chips, popcorn, and beef jerky. But if you really need to be healthy, carrots, grapes, pita, and hummus make good snacks too.

4. Cooler Bag

If you do choose to bring fresh fruit, a cooler bag is definitely an invaluable item. It’s also great for keeping drinks cold, because nobody wants to drink warm soda, yuck.

5. Aviator Sunglasses

Okay, so the sunglasses aren’t required to be aviators, but if they are, it definitely adds style points to your road trip by giving you and your copilot a distinctly Top Gun vibe. Side effects include a need for speed.

6. Paper Towels

Paper towels clean up messes, they work as napkins, and a full roll fits pretty well under the front passenger side seat.

7. Actual Towels

“The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” had it right when it comes to a towel, it's a pretty useful thing. Use it as a blanket, sit on it, or actually use it to dry yourself off.

8. Pillows and Blankets

You will probably fall asleep in the car on a road trip, so a pillow and a blanket make sleeping infinitely more comfortable. Plus one of the benefits of a road trip is that you can bring things that you might not when flying, like your pillow from home.

9. A Bucket

Things are going to get gross here for a second. People get carsick, it happens, especially to kids. Line the bucket with a plastic bag and throw in some paper towels, if the bucket has a lid, even better.

10. Slip on shoes

I don’t like to wear shoes in the car. It’s just much more comfortable to be barefoot, but I also don’t like to have to tie my shoes on every time we get out of the car for a photo or at a rest stop. Slip on shoes, or even sandals remedy this perfectly.

11. Trash Bags

Trash bags, like towels, are infinitely useful. Aside from their obvious function of holding trash, they can also be used a an impromptu rain poncho, or a just another bag to throw the pillows and blankets in.

12. First Aid Kit

Honestly, just always have a first aid kit in your car.

13. Breakdown Supplies

Breaking down is a serious concern on road trips and you can’t always fix the problem yourself, but still make sure that you have jumper cables and your spare tire in the back of the car

14. Phone Car Charger

If you are going to be driving for eight to ten hours a day, you will probably want a car charger for your phone, especially if you are using your phone for music and GPS on top of normal functions. However I recommend getting a car adapter from a reputable source like Apple rather than a drug store because cheap chargers can actually harm your phone battery by overcharging it or not converting the power supply properly.

15. Printed directions and documents

In the day and age of smartphones and GPS, we don’t usually think about looking up our route ahead of time anymore. However, I like to print out basic directions to at least my next destination so that I have some understanding of how to get there in case I reach an area with no signal. I also recommend having other documents printed, like emergency contact information and a photo copy of your driver’s license

Now get out there and have an adventure!


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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