Whether you’re going for a week or just a weekend, road trips can be a lot of fun – especially when you bring a few friends along. There’s nothing better than enjoying the open road, moving at your own pace and stopping to see sights other travelers miss.
But just like with any other trip, you need to be prepared. A road trip can quickly go from being the best time you ever had to a complete nightmare if you don’t have the right supplies on hand.
Before you head out on your next road trip, make sure that you pack these essentials.
1. Road Food
Skip the drive-thru and pack your own food for the road. Unhealthy foods loaded with carbs, sugar and sodium can leave you feeling tired and cranky. For safe trip, choose foods that give you energy, like protein-packed snacks.
Healthy road-friendly snacks include:
- Nuts (any kind)
- Protein or granola bars
- Protein shake
- Dried fruit and nut snacks
- Baby carrots
If you pack a cooler and ice, you can expand your snack options to include foods like:
- String cheese
- Rolled up cold cuts
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese
As for drinks, stick to water. If you have to have coffee, try to stick to just a cup or two. Coffee can dehydrate the body, leaving you feeling sluggish and having to make more stops to use the restroom.
We can survive without our smartphones, but we really don’t want to. Whether you’re using your phone’s GPS or posting pics of your trip on Instagram, you can expect your phone’s battery to die quickly when you’re out on the road.
Be sure to pack chargers for your devices. If you don’t have a USB port in your car, buy an adapter to keep your phone up and running. You never know when you might need it for an emergency. And if you own a vape or an e-nail don’t forget to bring spare batteries and chargers for these devices as well.
A portable charger may also be good for the road. If your car’s battery dies and your phone’s battery is right behind it, a power bank can help ensure that you can call for help.
To be fully prepared, pack chargers and a power bank (or two). You can recharge your power bank when you get to the hotel room.
Pillows are an essential road trip item – for passengers. Long trips in the car can be hard on the neck, and if you’re driving through the night, passengers will appreciate being able to rest their head.
Drivers may also want to sit on a pillow to keep their backside and legs pain-free. A good neck pillow can also help prevent a stiff or sore neck.
If you’re traveling in the fall or winter, you may also want to pack blankets.
4. Paper Products
It may sound silly to pack a roll of paper towels, tissues and toilet paper, but you’ll be thankful you did. You may want to pack some garbage bags, too. Spills can happen, and you never know when someone will break out into a sneezing fit. That garbage bag will also save your backseat form turning into a landfill.
Pack more paper products than you think you’ll need – especially if someone is prone to car sickness.
5. Emergency Supplies
Don’t forget to make sure have the appropriate emergency supplies in the trunk or glove box. These include:
- A first aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire
- Paper road map (in case you lose GPS signal)
- Swiss army knife
One last thing: Don’t forget about entertainment. Make a road trip playlist, have some audio books ready to go and bring along some road-friendly games to keep everyone sane.