I’ve always been a fan of the open road. Ever since I was old enough to drive, I craved the freedom to wander aimlessly wherever my heart took me.
I vividly remember the first road trip I ever planned and executed. It was a road trip to Niagara Falls with my boyfriend (now husband) and a friend of ours. We planned to stay at a hotel for one night. It was a bit of a big deal because not only was it our first real road trip together, it was our first time staying at a hotel all together. We planned this trip for more than a month and tried to be as prepared as possible. Our cooler was stocked with drinks and we had tons and tons of snacks and other “necessities”. The vehicle was packed to the brim!
Long before the days of Google Maps being easily accessible on our phones, I printed out the Map Quest directions and went on my way. We left at 4 o’clock in the morning for what we thought would be a 4 hour trip with traffic. It only took about an hour and a half LOL! Thankfully, the hotel let us into our room super early and we got to take a nice nap. Although that was definitely a trip to remember, it taught me a lot about road trips and planning.
Even though that trip was more than 10 years ago, my love for road trips has never wavered. I’ve taken at least 2 road trips a year every year since, and almost always include a road trip of some kind in every vacation. Along the journey, I’ve come up with some great tips I’d love to share with another road trip enthusiast!
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No matter where your road trip is headed, snacks are a must! Long car rides can take a toll and sometimes boredom and hanger can create a tense situation. Since it’s usually a vacation, I take this time to indulge in some snacks that I don’t usually have on hand and these assorted snack boxes have really helped keep my energy up and prevent hanger from wreaking havoc. During the times when I’m trying to look my best, I turn to these healthy snack boxes for some guilt free snacking.
2. WATER BOTTLE
It’s no secret that I am a total water snob. It’s basically the only thing I drink and I enjoy staying hydrated. I guess you can say I go through water like… water? When I first started taking road trips, I used to bring cases of bottled water but now that I know better, I usually just bring this Hydro Flask water bottle which keeps my water at the temperature I want it at all day long. It’s also great to take to the gym! If the tap/filtered water where I’m going is good, I will just refill at my destination. Otherwise, I stick to these 1L Evian water bottles and put them in the Hydro Flask to keep the water chilled. Although it’s not the most environmentally sound thing to do, I always ensure that the bottles are recycled.
Pro tip: the water and ice cubes at Starbucks is always triple filtered, so ask them for a cup of water in a pinch. They usually will fill up your water bottle free of charge; especially if you wait in line and ask nicely!
3. TRAVEL PILLOW
Long drives have become increasing challenging following a car accident a while back. Thankfully, the accident did not happen during a road trip! Ever since then, I always make sure to have a pillow with me. It helps with lumbar support and quick snoozes. Even though I was the one in the car accident and the only one with back and neck pain, my travel mates always try to steal my pillow! Really, I can’t blame them. This pillow is awesome and a staple in all my road trips. If you don’t want to spend the money to buy a travel pillow, a thin bed pillow will do the job! I say thin so that you can fold it as needed.
4. ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE KIT
No one wants to be that person at the side of the road with a flat tire or other issue. When you’re travelling long distances by car, anything can happen, so it’s best to be prepared. Even though I keep my vehicles very well maintained, I always make sure to have some kind of roadside assistance kit in my vehicle for every road trip. They come in handy when you least expect it, and I’ve even used my kit to help a fellow motorist stranded at the side of the road. Don’t wait until you need one before keeping one on hand! They never expire so it’s always a safe bet.
I know it seems obvious, but I’ve met people who drive without sunglasses and I cringe every time. Not only is is bad for your eyes, but it can cause wrinkles over time! For road trips and every other time when you’re outside for an extended period of time, it’s important to have sun protection for your eyes. At the advice of my optometrist, I’ve started wearing polarized sunglasses and never looked back! Since I wear them everyday and they’re prescription, I don’t mind spending more on my sunglasses. These Saint Laurent sunglasses are stylish and cover my face well. If you’re on more of a budget, these stylish polarized sunglasses will get the job done at a fraction of the price.
No road trip would be complete without a good old fashioned road trip game. I spy and the licence plate game are two of my favourite to play; once we run out of songs to sing like idiots haha! A game that never stops being funny, no matter how old I get, is Mad Libs. There’s a ton of free apps on different platforms that you can play for free but I always like to pick up this $5 paperback Mad Libs so I can keep the pages as part of the memories. If Mad Libs isn’t your thing, this pack of other games is sure to entertain!
While these are my essential items for road trips, I usually have a few more tricks up my sleeve! What are your favourite road trip items? I’d love to know anything I may have missed!