Monday, May 13, 2019

Our 10 Must Have Road Trip Essentials

Playlist as long as your trip-  When we did our Fall in New England trip in 2014, I made one called "My Maine List" because I'm original like that.  Because it was our first major road trip, I got super cheesy and like the first 20 songs were things like Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham to kick it off (duh!), Rockin' Down the Highway by the Doobie Brothers, Blue Highway by Billy Idol, Cars by Gary Neuman, Gypsy Road by Cinderella, Vehicle by Ides of get the idea.   That playlist is listed as a day long.  An entire day.  387 songs.  So we made it all over New England and on the way back before that baby replayed.  It was awesome.  Just go through your music library and pick out the best of the best, the silliest of the silly (we've even got Ode to My Car by Adam Sandler on there which cracks us up) and the ones you totally forgot about.

Audiobooks-  We cannot take a trip without these.  We rarely start a trip off with one because we need some music to get things going but usually around hour three we're ready to jump in.  We have had Audible trials in the past but don't keep a membership because we only use them for trips.  These are the ones we've enjoyed most recently:  Dancing with Myself,  The Princess Diarist, So That Happened, Celebrity Run In's A-Z Index, A Little Thing Called Life (will appeal to Pollyanna's and may grate for cynics), and Stories I Only Tell My Friends.  Obviously, I like celebrity memoirs.  I've always liked to get to know the real story behind the person and not what the rag mags and clickbait sites want you to think.  I have zero interest in Rob Lowe, but his book was fantastic and made me a fan.

Hand Sanitizer-  You're gonna encounter a lot of grossness especially if a porta potty is your only option in the boonies...or a bush on the side of the road.  Actually, worse than that are rest stop door handles.  We avoided being sick all vacation in 2016 with tons of people sick around until on our way home we stopped using hand sanitizer at NY Thruway stops and bam...creepin' crud for us both.  I like to use something with moisturizers to keep my hands from turning to paper cut magnets.

Backpack- Put ALL of your valuables, meds, money in a backpack or bag that you will maim others for.  Take it in for every rest stop break, at every on the go eatery you stop at, etc.  If your car gets broken into, at least they don't have stuff that would be devastating to lose.  We love the DaKine backpacks.  Lots of great colors and styles to choose from, a padded spot for laptops and tablets and an insulated cooler pocket.

First Aid Kit-  You can get a standard one for medical emergencies only, but they also have ones that are specifically meant for cars.

A paper copy of directions.  Even though we still use a GPS, you should still have a paper copy of your route in case you lose cell reception.

Snacks (aka-"smokes and road beers")-  We don't really get smokes and road beers, it's our homage to The Crow when T Bird tells Skank to get "smokes and road beers" and for some stupid reason, it stuck for us so forgive our inside joke.

Sunscreen/sunglasses-  You've gotta protect yourself on the road from the sun.  That means a good SPF 50 on your face, neck, arms, and hands and reapply every 2-3 hours.  (Set an alarm on your phone, so you don't forget.)  Sunglasses don't just protect you from harsh rays but help with eye fatigue.  Trader Joe's has really great sunscreen and of course the more natural sunscreens, the better.

Pool Noodle for lumbar support-  I know this sounds insane but don't spend a lot of money on lumbar support pillows for long road trips.  Run over to Target, get a fat pool noodle for like $4, cut it in half and the two of you in the front seat have lumbar support for $2 each.  You're welcome.  (There are kinds of sizes too.  If you need less support, grab a smaller, flimsy one from the Dollar Store.

Hot Logic Mini- This is the granddaddy of all essentials for a long road trip especially if you're looking to stay on track health-wise.  Everyone knows road food in the middle of nowhere is not going to give you healthy choices unless you get their soggy lettuce with a lemon wedge.  I love to make chili, freeze it in the Pyrex that goes in it (sold separately), the Food Save it and bring it in our cooler.  After breakfast, I pop it in the Hot Logic, and by lunchtime, it is piping hot, we pull over and dish it out with our collapsible bowls and my travel utensils.  Obviously, you can also pick up food on the road, have it plugged in and keep it hot until you're ready for it.   We stopped by our favorite sandwich shop in New Hampshire and asked them to wrap it in foil, stuck it in the Hot Logic and pulled over halfway through New York and had the best meal of anyone in the service center.  It was still piping hot, crispy bread and gooey cheese.  It was AWESOME.  I'm not gonna lie, we used it to heat cinnamon rolls too.  Don't judge me.  We also had one of those bean bag neck wraps with us, and while it didn't get as hot as it would in the microwave, it kept it hot enough to work out some neck kinks.  This thing is awesome if you're a road tripper!

To do list before the trip:

Check your spare tire/jack and know how to use 'em.  If this means you have to go to a friends driveway, so your neighbors aren't in your business, do it.  Better to have a feel for it, especially if you've never done it with your current car, than trying to do it under pressure on the side of the road.  Or worse, finding out that new car DIDN'T come with a spare tire and you're 50 miles from the nearest podunk town.  On that note, make sure the tires are properly inflated.

Get an oil change and a tune-up if you haven't recently.

Have your registration and insurance card in the glove compartment together and some donuts.  (Hey, couldn't hurt should you get pulled over.)  Seriously though, put in your insurance company and roadside assistance numbers in your phone.

Make sure at least one person knows your itinerary/route you're going to take.

Pack your patience.  There will be construction, there will be people in every state that you swear are now the #1 spot for top a-hole drivers, you will be in a confined space for hours on end and if your meals/snacks aren't properly and hangry sets in...well, yeah...don't go there.  Just remember you're going to someplace awesome and you'll have stories to journal about.

What are three of your must-have road trip essentials?

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  1. Water (both drinking and a larger container for the radiator if necessary), snacks, patience, kleenex, baby wipes/handwipes.

    I keep my insurance/registration documents under the sun visor on the passenger side so I don't have to open the glove box if I get pulled over. It's rarely used, so it works well and that's the only thing there so I don't ever have to look for it.

  2. Water is a huge issue for us. Often not a fan of local water. We do not do individual plastic water bottles.

    We have a hand pump top for the big 5 gallon blue water jugs. And we buckle a jug in a seat belt in the back seat. Works great. We do this for day trips/events where there will be a lot of us who need to refill kanteens too.

    We too do the single backpack thing and my husband carries it. We have always done that. Safer and I last longer if I am not carrying anything. I keep my phone, $, passport, credit cards in the smallest crossbody you have ever seen.

    Also we keep as much as possible in the trunk, out of sight as possible. It is much more pleasant to be in a uncluttered vehicle. And far less likely someone will break into an empty car.

    We use space bags to condense packing. Like I like to have my own pillows and blanket. They take up very little room in a space bag. We have the squish/roll kind or even works with a garbage bag in a pinch.

  3. I have to have snacks, an extra roll of toilet paper, my phone charger, and a plan for where all the possible rest stops/resturants are located. Anything more depends on how far I'm travelling, if I am the one driving, and for what reason I am travelling. If it is for work I can't be without my laptop and my PPE (personal protective equipment). If it is personal I also need a flash drive filled with some tunes and a pair of sneakers for driving.


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