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Eight Must-Have's for Any Road Trip

By Edited Jun 29, 2015 5 10

To Get You Where You Need to Get To

I’ve found myself taking more and more road trips and through each of the experiences I have narrowed down eight essentials in order to make every road trip enjoyable and comfortable.  Please share any of your own tips in the comment section.  I’d love to hear more!

1)      Map AND GPS system.

The rest of this list won’t be in order of importance, but this one is a lock for #1.  If there is anything you can be sure of on a road trip is that you will be temporarily lost at one point or another (and that’s what makes a road trip great!).  A GPS will most certainly steer you back on track quickly and efficiently but it is important to notice the “and” in capitalized letters.  That’s because during a road trip you won’t have cell phone coverage everywhere you go.  Unfortunately, West Virginia (and all other states, didn’t mean to pick on West Virginia) still doesn’t have free wi-fi flowing along the interstate.  So when your cell phone is dead either by a lack of cell phone coverage or you were looking at Pinterest too long, then you need to have a map.  Yes, an old-school map in all its glory.  It’s still one of the greatest inventions ever and will benefit you greatly on the road trip.

2)      A great CD.

Aforementioned above, you may not always be driving in great radio coverage.  There will be a time when you’ll start rolling through static-intensified country music and you’ll need an alternative.  That’s why I specifically emphasize “great.”  This can’t be just any old CD you find underneath the passenger seat.  This should be carefully selected to have songs that you can listen to over and over again.  Don’t pick a CD that you’ve always wanted to listen through or based off of a friend’s suggestion.  You know yourself better than anybody and it needs to be something you can jam on during the times you are relegated to a 1950’s country crooner on the tuner.

3)      Drink and snack of choice.

Personally, I always go with Mountain Dew and Peanut M&M’s.  My wife would probably go with an Arnold Palmer and licorice.  Everybody should choose their own.  But there is nothing better than sipping your non-alcoholic drink of choice with the music on blast and the windows down.  It’ll definitely change your life.

4)      Comfortable clothes.

There have been too many times that people mistakenly wear something “nice” instead of comfortable.  You’re going to be on the road for a while and it’s ok to not try to impress the people of Ames, IA with your fashion (another tip: they wouldn’t be impressed anyway).  Again, this is a personal choice but go for the "sweatpants with the Reebok’s with the straps."  Or even the gym shorts with the sleeveless shirt.  Make it loose and make it great!

5)      Replacement tire and tools.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your beautiful trip could definitely be interrupted by a misplaced nail or an exhausted tire.  Please, please, please just make sure you have all the necessary tools to get to the nearest town.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.  I always make sure to have my AAA card on me, but even AAA could take hours depending on where you are and the situation.  Also, if you end up getting a flat in an area without cell phone coverage, the AAA membership doesn’t do you much good anyway.

6)      Rest stop entertainment.

It is essential to your body and mind that you get exercise and movement.  As you travel by automobile, your body can break down and get tired.  One time on a long road trip my mother’s legs actually swelled up due to her sitting in one place for too long.  So bring a soccer ball, football, etc. with you to run around get your blood moving.   This is also very important to keep your mind fresh for the next leg of your trip.  The monotony of the road can take a toll on your brain so give it something new to look at while helping your body stretch out in the process.

7)      Cash

I probably shouldn’t even spend too much time on this since it is fairly self-explanatory, but I will say that you should have $50-$150 in cash with you depending on the length of trip.  In today’s world most people stick with credit or debit cards.  However, having cash on you can be a life-saver.  If the credit card company freezes your account or if an establishment won’t take debit for your purchase then you need to have an alternative option to pay with.  Cash is king.

8)      Imagination

This is the last and most crucial must-have for any road trip.  I love road trips.  Other people hate road trips.  I think (or imagine…) that it comes down to your own ability to entertain yourself.  The road will definitely not entertain.  The wildlife is afraid to get close.  The landscape changes and isn’t always enjoyable (sorry Nebraska…).  So it all comes down to your ability to think and enjoy the ride.  If you don’t have the right mindset then you’ll never really be able to enjoy the 65-mph speed.

Happy Travels!

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The View from the Car
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Comments

Nov 23, 2012 12:36am
askformore
Thank you for great tips for a road trip! Thumbs up!
Nov 26, 2012 11:20pm
ddstoltz
Thanks!
Nov 23, 2012 3:15pm
vicdillinger
Oh, the Number One thing to ALWAYS have on a road trip (at least, if you're a straight man) is a WOMAN! Good piece. A thumb.
Nov 26, 2012 11:21pm
ddstoltz
Haha...it's a valid point. A good companion is definitely a plus and really helps make all of my above points easier and more fun.
Nov 23, 2012 11:23pm
Animonster
This is a great and informative article! Thanks for contributing and hopefully I won't be so bored next time I drive across the country...
Nov 26, 2012 11:22pm
ddstoltz
Thanks! I know some people aren't as excited to sit in a small, confined space for hours on end so best wishes next time it happens! Let me know how these work out for you.
Nov 25, 2012 10:35pm
southerngirl09
All excellent tips! We have driven across the country four times and we are talking about doing it again. Road trips are a great way to travel and see the country. Thumbs Up!
Nov 26, 2012 11:24pm
ddstoltz
Thanks! I love road trips as well! If you have anything else to add to the list, let me know. Happy travels!
Feb 3, 2013 5:27am
eileen
Good pointers, although I think another good thing to take is the camera, to record those special times and sites for when you can no longer travel.
May 27, 2013 3:54am
mikerobbers
Nice tips! Road trips is such a great way of traveling.
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