Whether you're going to explore, visit family and friends, or spend time tooling around with no place in particular to be, it's a good idea to be prepared.
The Señor and I love road trips. Clothes aside, here are some essentials that we're sure to pack and always keep in the car.
1. Snacks and water
For me, this is not negotiable. I eat every 3-4 hours, but my husband could eat once or twice a day. To keep away the hangry horrors, I pack snacks and then, I'm good to go; I'm a much happier co-pilot..and it's cheaper than stopping for convenience store snacks. If you pack a cooler, you have more snacking options, but it can be a space issue.
2. Easy clean-up supplies
To keep the car relatively clean, I always pack a couple of plastic bags from the grocery store for trash and a packet of wet-wipes.
3. An electronic toll transponder
This is a time saver that is worth its weight in gold. States differ in their registration procedure, so if you're getting one for the first time, research before you go. We have one in each car. We also keep a few dollars in coins for parking meters, but the transponder is essential.
4. A road atlas
In the rare occasion that you have no cell service, a road atlas is good to have, and it makes it fun to pour over maps as you choose new paths to explore.
5. A car emergency kit.
We have AAA, so we're not overly concerned, but the triangle reflectors and jumper cables are nice to have. We also keep insurance information in the glove compartment.
6. Downloaded podcasts, audio books, and/or a great playlist
When you and your drive partner have common interests, listening to a podcast serves as a great launchpad for later conversation. As an introvert, I appreciate the "quiet" time that allows me to recharge and simply enjoy sharing space with the one I love.
7. A small notebook and pen.
I use the notes feature on my phone for most things, but occasionally, paper and a pen comes in handy. We keep it in the glove compartment.
8. Helpful apps
Everyone has their favorites, but here are the apps we use when we're out on the road:
- Yelp & Around Me
- Hotel Tonight & Priceline
- Gas Buddy
My car has USB chargers, but my husband's does not. As a result, we use dual USB chargers that go into the lighter port. For longer trips or working travel, we have a power inverter car charger, which will charge our laptops as well as USB charged devices. Our favorite mobile charger, though, is the Jackery, hands down. We each have one; it goes everywhere with us and we wouldn't trade it for anything.
10. For good measure...
Outerwear of some sort is essential for me; whether it's a light sweater for chilly indoor air conditioning or a rain jacket for a pop-up shower, I make sure that I throw something in the car to keep me warm and dry.
What are your road trip essentials?