10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip
I’ve been on more than few road trips in my lifetime. In fact, many of my family trips were of the road variety. To say I’m a well seasoned car traveler might actually be an understatement. Since I can confidently say this, I feel as though it’s only fair to share what I have learned along the way. All of these items qualify as essentials to me, however, this is not a definitive list so don’t slide in to my dm’s to accuse me of traveling underwear-less and without a toothbrush. Some things are just obvious, like picking a good travel companion, to bother mentioning to you dear readers. If you’re here, it’s likely you have your basics covered. With that said, here are 10 things to bring on your next road trip:
Hopefully this trip doesn’t include baggage of the emotional variety. And even if it does, perhaps try traveling in style with some versatile luggage. My two favourite pieces that I use time and time again are my Burton Wheelie Sub Travel Bag and my the Away Carry-On. Both of these bags are the best for very different reasons.
Burton describes the Wheelie Sub as a “walk-in-closet on wheels” and they wouldn’t be wrong! It fits EVERYTHING in it. If that isn’t amazing enough, the suitcase actually splits into TWO. This is a feature I never thought would be important to me but it turns out, I can no longer live without it. Picture this: you’re driving forever and check into a motel but you don’t wanna cart in all your stuff. No problem, just grab the half of your suitcase with your essentials in it. Or say you’re staying in a small room? No biggie, split your suitcase in half and stack it on top of each other for easy access.
The Carry-On is as functional as it is beautiful. Not only does it have a TSA approved lock on it, it also comes with a mini usb charger for your phone! The charger is portable to so you are not tethered to your suitcase when you need to juice up your phone. The inside has a removable garment bag (I use it for dirty laundry).
Organized and multi functional baggage will take a lot of stress out of traveling. Everything has its place and there will be no more guessing where your dirty socks are when you need to do some laundry.
Maybe it’s the inner camel in me, but I refuse to leave the house without a water bottle on hand. Even if I’m just going out running errands. The fear of being without water is REAL. That fun quirk began when I first moved to London and discovered the thrill of anxiety and panic. That’s a whole other story though. It is wise to have water because:
a) you need it to live
b) if you break down, you might get thirsty (especially if you happen to be in a desert climate)
c) if you’re singing loudly to Third Eye Blind’s Semi-Charmed Life, your throat is bound to get a little sore.
Lamose is my bottle of choice these days. They’re designed in Edmonton and are stainless steel. This means they keep water ICE COLD for 24 hours and HOT for 12. Plus they’re a great size for long haul drives.
At some point, the lively discussion that began during hour 1 might start to dwindle. Fear not, there are so many options to fill the time! Bring a book to read to your partner, download one, make a super special playlist of your favourite road trip songs, or listen to podcasts. I’m a bit of a true crime enthusiast, my childhood is ripe with examples of consuming media that was beyond inappropriate for my age. Perhaps that’s where the fascination started? In any case, here’s my Top 5 True Crime Podcasts should that intrigue you.
Bathing Suit & Towel
You never know when you’re going to come across a hot spring or a refreshing roadside river in the dead heat of summer. Don’t let opportunity slip through your fingers because you didn’t think you’d “need” a swimsuit or a towel. You ALWAYS need them. The swimwear and yoga towels from Lululemon are the best for these occasions because they dry quickly. The last thing you want is a towel that feels like it’s been marinating in moisture all road trip long.
Map It Out
My favourite thing to do when I go places is to make a Google Map of everything I want to hit along the way. Since you can personalize and save maps, you could make a specific one for each road trip. Then it’s easy to refer back to a west coast adventure in 2008 and verify that you did, in fact, hit up the Enchanted Forest and you’re due for another visit. Whether it be the most amazing sushi place like Sugarfish or a tiki bar supply store, I have it added it all to my online map. It comes in handy when I want to recall excellent photo locations too. If you’re worried about roaming, fear not, if you’ve opened the map with wifi it will still work when you’re on airplane mode. Pro tip!
Have you ever accidentally left the interior light on in your car only to discover your battery is dead the following day? Not all of us have AMA or even want to spend time on our vacation waiting for a jump. This compact battery can not only jump your care (it comes with jumper cable attachments) it can also charge your phone and is a flashlight. Talk about a roadside Mr. Gadget! My parents bought me this one from Costco. I looked online and can’t find the exact same model from Powerstation but I’m certain there are similar versions by other brands.
After a few hours of trapped recirculating air in a vehicle, you might desire a bit of a refresh. Fortunately Saje has created the Aromaroam, a usb charged portable diffuser. Pump that full of Mountain High oil and everything will smell like you’re walking outside in nature while you’re inside zooming along listening to podcasts about crime! It comes in handy too when you need to stay awake and can keep the air smelling zesty and fresh.
As I continue to get older and wiser, I’ve learned that finding healthy snacks on the road is not always possible. In fact, most of the time it’s an oxymoron. Rather than be stuck without a better option, I opt to pack some organic small bites from Elan, such as their goji berries, pumpkin seeds, and my personal favourite, banana chips!
*healthy snacks should be at the top of the 10 things you bring on your next road trip list!*
Weather Appropriate Clothes
Never leave home on a road trip without some warm clothing. Car trouble is a real thing and can happen at anytime to anyone. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you’re going on a trip that includes driving through any mountain pass at any point in the year! Snow boots, a rain jacket, layers, and definitely gloves are all things you should be considering when packing your “just-in-case” items. I always opt for comfort over style on long haul drives as well. If you scroll up, you may notice I’m power clashing in pj bottoms and a plaid shirt that was buttoned up on the wrong holes. That’s me to a T.
I’ve already lectured on the importance of proper clothing, now let’s discuss the boring gear you should bring but isn’t that exciting. A tire iron, a spare tire, and a tire pressure gauge. If it’s winter, a shovel is a great thing to have should you need to dig yourself out of a ditch… or a parking spot, you never know. An extra litre of oil never hurt either. A flashlight and headlamp in case you find yourself in a pickle in the nighttime. Other miscellaneous just in case items might be a hatchet and a swiss-army knife.
10 Things to Bring on Your Next Road Trip
It’s not just about the junk you throw in your trunk that makes the trip! It has a lot to do with the people you choose to travel with. Sometimes the best way to find a new level of friendship and understanding is to be locked away in a car with another human for 10+ hours. Savour that time. Dig deeper. But always make sure to look out the window and catch a glimpse of everything passing by. Some of my favourite memories are of driving through a small town and wondering what it would be like to live there. After all, the road is loooong. What are your non negotiable 10 things to bring on your next road trip?
For more travel inspiration check out my On The Road section!