road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Travels

Road Trip Essentials

Hooray for long holiday weekends! If you’re smart, you’ve already planned an exciting trip somewhere. But because the weekend isn’t that long, chances are you’ll be driving.

After nine years of traveling and thousands upon thousands of miles logged all over the country (and Canada!), I’d like to consider myself somewhat of an expert roadtripper. I can probably drive to Jersey from Alabama with my eyes closed, and I can navigate unfamiliar mountain roads while singing and eating like a champ. None of which is recommended, by the way, but you catch my drift.

Whether you’re going 2 hours or 40 hours, a road trip is so much more enjoyable when you’re prepared. Here are some road trip essentials:

Snacks—Road trips require good food, duh. But you need to be strategic with your food picks. Get healthy snacks that will keep you full so that you’re not constantly stopping to eat fast food. Don’t load up on high fiber goodies that will make you speed toward gross gas station bathrooms. Eat foods that will keep your mouth busy (read: sunflower seeds) when you’re nodding off.

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Wasabi peas – guaranteed to clear your sinuses and wake you right up

Music—An obvious one. But take it from me—the right CDs/radio stations/XM channel can make or break a trip. Find some tunes that will keep you singing and bopping along through the late-night hours. Hell, if one song on repeat makes you happy (like Ted and Marshall’s 500 Miles), own it! #Protip—the comedy stations on XM are pure gold for cross-country drives.

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
That yellow one on top is from middle school – it’s almost vintage!

Hybrid—I’m only half-kidding with this one. The amount of money you save on gas for a hybrid is wild. Pokey the Prius gets a little over 50 mpg on highways, 70 in national parks. You can drive to the moon with that kind of mileage!

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Pokey basking in the sunrise of Utah’s Salt Flats

Active Imagination—If you can keep yourself entertained for hours on end, you’re good to go on a long drive. Make up stories, listen to crazy AM radio stations about aliens, talk to the voices in your head, daydream to your heart’s content. Be your own best friend and you’ll never get bored. However, if you have the imagination of a paper plate, perhaps you need a…

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
I pretended this was a cloud coming to put all of Salt Lake into a deep sleep, a la Stephen King

Road Trip Buddy—Friend! But don’t just ask the first person who comes along. You’ll be in an enclosed space with nowhere to escape for hours on end, so choose wisely. Your buddy should be a good conversationist and keep you entertained, but should also have the ability to close his or her eyes and pass out so that you can sneak some Backstreet Boys into the CD player.

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Only make sure your buddy isn’t out to blackmail you while you take said naps

Views—Any long trip will fly by when your nose is pressed up against the window watching the scenery. Highways suck less with snowcapped mountains surrounding you. Side roads give you a taste of of the local flavor.

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Took the long way to Yosemite to see the famous #that395house

Patience—There will be traffic. Bad weather. Unexpected stops. You just need to take it all in stride (boom.) and not let it bother you. If you were flying, you’d have delays, smelly seatmates, and long layovers. The drive is part of your journey—embrace it!

road trip essentials, what to bring on a road trip, road trip hacks
Had to spend an unexpected night in Wendover, so I made a cowboy friend

So next time you’re heading out on a road trip, use these tips and have the best time ever. Thank me later.

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