The Great American Road Trip is a journey every person should experience. Driving cross country is an unparalleled adventure that reconnects you with nature and engenders appreciation of your country. Pity the planes above and their passengers missing eclectic American majesty spread out as far as the eye can see. The journey is your only destination. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare:
GPS and Travel Apps
A GPS system is your best friend on a road trip. Whether you have a built-in system in your car or an after market option, GPS ensures that you do not end up hundreds of miles off course. Of course, you can refuse to use all that newfangled technology and tackle the trip with old-fashioned maps.
If you do decide to take along your smartphone, there’s an expansive array of free travel apps that provide maps and routes, the nearest gas stations, traffic updates and locations for roadside attractions. There are also apps that can point out the best mechanics and dealerships in an area. If you begin your trip in the Lone Star State, for example, the Kelley Blue Book app will indicate the most inexpensive pre-owned cars in Dallas.
A road trip isn’t the same without ear-splitting tunes and thumping bass while rocketing down the road. Don’t rely on your radio and it’s erratic reception. Before hitting the road, assemble an eclectic variety of music in your playlist and crank up the volume. When eyelids grow heavy, your favorite songs will galvanize you.
Snacks and a Cooler
A cooler filled with drinks and snacks saves you from having to pull over every time someone in the car gets hungry or thirsty. Sandwiches and fruit cups along with some bottles of water and sodas are ideal for long road trips.
Camera and Video Camera
Most cell phones have cameras and video capabilities, but you will not regret bringing a digital camera to get pictures of the stunning landscape and sublime sights you will see on your road trip. A unique idea is to pick up a Roadtrip Video Recorder. It conveniently mounts on your car’s front window to record every mile of your trip without you having to hold it.
Pillow and Blankets
Everyone has to nap in the car at some point on long road trips. A favorite pillow and light blanket will make sleeping much easier. Blow up neck pillows save space but still offer the right support for those hour long naps. When you’re turning in for the night, why bother with hotels and ratty motels? Recline your car seat and choose a nice parking lot or resting area for some shuteye.
As silly as it may sound, you never know when you are going to need a roll of toilet paper. Pack some napkins, a spare toothbrush and a bottle of hand sanitizer too.
You might not need a full, professional first aid kit, but it’s definitely worth bringing along something basic with Band-Aids and pain relievers that’s small enough to slide under a seat. Throw in some motion sickness medication too. And don’t forget a first aid kit for your car itself. Car-care essentials such as extra oil, coolant and a spare tire will save you time and money if caught in a bind.
One of the most embarrassing things that can happen on an adventure is for a sleep-deprived road tripper to lock their keys in their car or to lose them while out hiking or exploring. Have at least one spare set and give it to someone else to lessen the chances of getting locked out of the car.
About the Author: A born traveler, Catherine Moore flies, sails and drives to more than 50 around-the-world locations a year. She manages to share fun-filled and factual reviews of just about everywhere she’s been.