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10 Must-Haves for Any Road Trip

July 13, 2017

Summer is the best time to grab a bunch of friends, jump in the car and hit the open road - it’s road trip season!

There is nothing quite like getting a group of friends together and spending quality time (sometimes too much time) with them checking out your favourite city, campsite or lakeside cabin.  That being said, road trips can be boring (and dangerous) if you don’t prepare for them.  Considering you are confined to a small space for hours, sometimes days, there is bound to be some boredom and conflict; but a bit of planning can go a long way.  A fun road trip starts with good music and ends with a beautiful destination that will leave you speechless; everything in between is for safety and fun.

Here are ten essentials you need to pack to make your road trip as smooth as possible.

Good music. Whoever called shotgun is also your dedicated DJ.  The shotgunner is responsible for controlling music selection and volume and he is expected to be conscientious of the other riders preferences. Just as the driver may not institute a shotgun dictatorship, the shotgunner may not exercise a music dictatorship. Remember, just like in any great movie, you are setting the tunes for how your trip will be remembered. 

Covfefe.  Or is it coffee? I forget.  Keeps you awake, keeps you alert, and keeps you looking for the next rest area so you can go to the bathroom. There's nothing more classically road trip than a coffee.

Spare Key.  With keyless entry this isn’t as big of an issue as it used to be; could you imagine getting out of the car to stretch your legs, and end up locking your keys in the car.  Waiting around for CAA or a tow truck can put a huge damper on your fun summer road trip.  It is best to keep a spare key with another passenger, this way you will never get locked out.

Maps, maps, maps.  It is always fun to go old school and decipher your way through a map; it makes the trip entertaining.  Try taking a road you haven’t been down before or get yourself lost and navigate your way out.  Or, if you just want to get to where you are going whip out your google maps and get a cell mount for your car.  I recommend option 1!

Comfy clothing, pillows and blankets. Whether you are driving for several hours or well into the night, be sure to wear comfortable clothing and shoes.  If you are travelling with friends, extra clothing and blankets is a good way to settle temperature disputes.

Snacks.  You eat a lot of junk food on a road trip. That's fine, nutrition doesn't apply when you're in a car, everyone knows that. Still, if you don't want to feel like garbage after a week on the road you have to get some vitamins in your system. Fruit generally won't go bad that quickly and seems to taste at least okay no matter how long you leave it sitting in the sun, so its perfect for eats on the go.

Camera.  Yes we all have phones with cameras; well known fact.  Have you ever noticed how they are never able to capture the serenity of a moment or place? If you have a higher end camera, bring it! You won’t regret it.  

Sunglasses. Whether you're driving West or East (or even North and South) you will at some point be driving into the sun. When this happens, you'll want some sunglasses, because squinting for three hours straight will leave you with tired eyes and a sore face.

Cruise Control.  It's not a road trip unless you're driving uncomfortable distances. In order to make this possible, everyone in the car, including the driver, has to be able to move around. But how do you move if you have to keep your foot on the accelerator? That's where cruise control comes in handy. After hour five, this will be your best friend.

Air Freshener.  If you're like me and road trip with guys, there will inevitably be a steady supply of methane filling the car. Even without gas, you'll at least smell kind of bad after a few days on the road with only spotty access to washing machines. Hence the air freshener; or many air fresheners.

Best Buddy.  Everything is more fun with a companion, and a road trip is no exception. Think of all the great road trip movies, from "National Lampoon's Vacation" to "Thelma and Louise" and "Little Miss Sunshine." The time spent with family, a spouse or significant other, or a favourite friend can turn an ordinary trip into an adventure. Take turns driving while the other person takes a nap or flips through magazines, or simply spend the time talking and catching up with each other. Who knows? Your highway escapades just might give you the inspiration to write a road trip story of your own!

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