Have you been craving the feeling that comes when the city is finally in your rearview mirror and you have hit the open road in search of new experiences and epic adventures?
Well, you've come to the right place!
Here is everything you need to know to make sure your next road trip is focused on fun and not on being hangry, locking your keys in your car, or getting stuck listening to crappy music the whole way!
Before you hit the road
- Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your place, bring in your mail, water your plants, etc. while you are away. It will look like someone is still home and prevent break-ins — plus you don't want your plants to die!
- Even I know that you keep a spare key under the flower pot! Remove all of your spares from their hiding spots while you're away.
- Unplug toasters, computers, hairdryers etc. to protect them from power surges.
- Make sure all of your windows are closed and locked (even the ones on your second floor), and that includes any pet doors.
- Back-up all of your electronics and store your backup somewhere safe and dry.
- Store all your valuables in a safe place.
- Leave a map of your route or travel plans with a friend or family member. This way if you get in an accident or find yourself stranded, at least someone will have some idea where you are!
- Make sure you know how to change your own tire, check our oil, and add coolant and windshield washer fluid if necessary.
What to pack in your road trip survival kit
- Pillow and blanket so you can get comfy.
- First-aid kit (not to be mixed up with the Emergency Kit below).
- Snacks that won't make a mess (great snack ideas below!).
- A bunch of grocery bags to use as trash bags.
- Tissues for when you get the sniffles (from a cold or a road trip tune that just really gets you).
- Toilet paper (trust me).
- Wet Wipes (again, trust me).
- Hand sanitizer (roadside bathrooms are not always nice, and are sometimes a tree).
- Bug spray (for when the bathroom is a tree...)
- Sunscreen (did you know that you can get a sunburn through your window?!).
- Books and magazines to pass the time.
- Car chargers for your electronic devices.
- Cash — both bills and change.
- Bottled water, or reusable bottles to keep filled with water.
- Motion sickness medication and a small pail "just in case".
- A paper map of your route just in case your phone dies.
- Tunes! Whether it's music on your phone or you've pulled out all your fave CDs for the occasion, make sure you've got some playlists ready to go!
Items for your car's emergency kit
- Jumper cables
- Candles and matches
- Strong rope
- Warning light, cones, or road flares
- Umbrella and rain ponchos
- Scraper or snowbrush
- Small shovel
The best road trip snacks
First of all, you need to make sure that you have somewhere to keep your snacks! Bring a cooler that you can easily restock with ice to keep perishables cool. Also pack a fork, spoon, a sharp knife, a bowl, and a plastic storage container/bag to throw any leftover food into. And, remember not to pack anything smelly or messy.
Here are some things to stock up on:
- Apples or oranges (they last longer and don't get squished as easily as other fruit)
- String cheese
- Beef jerky or pepperoni sticks
- Hummus and pita or sliced vegetables
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Trail mix
- Peanut Butter
- Granola bars
Check out these resources for more great snack ideas:
The 10 best snacks to pack for a road trip
18 best foods to pack for a road trip
23 road trip snacks to keep morale high and your hands on the wheel
The rules of riding shotgun
If you are the passenger during your road trip, there are some things you need to do to make sure your driver is alert and happy — in other words (unless you are both okay with it) don't fall asleep!
- Always carry a spare key with you in your pocket
If the driver accidentally locks the keys in the car, you won't have to wait for someone to come and unlock your car (or worse, break into it yourself).
- Be the DJ
It's your job to keep the music going.
- You're the navigator
Whether you're using a paper map or digital map, it is your job to make sure you know where you are and give directions with lots of notice. No yelling "left!" at the last minute.
- Keep the driver fed, watered, and awake
Your driver needs to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, so it's your role to hand them water and snacks and make sure they are awake and entertained.
- You are the official texter and phone answerer
Most countries now have distracted driving laws that make it illegal to be on your phone or texting while driving. If the phone rings, or a text needs to be answered, it's your job to play receptionist.