I have done many road trips in my short life. And by road trip, I mean lasting longer than a day or possibly two. I have gone from Southern California up to Alaska and back and across the continental United States at least three times or six, round trip. There has always been a common theme no matter the trip.
1) Hard paper maps
The majority of people have smartphones. I’m included. However, I seem to find that it is easier with a hard paper map versus the gps. I do use Google, but the constant zooming in and out can be tiresome and it can eat your battery as well as your data.
When crossing many states, it’s hard to have all the town and city maps, which is where Google, or whatever map app you use, would come in handy. However, for simple highways, general course planning, and technology difficulties, you can never go wrong with a hard paper.
Also, all the visitor centers I have come across give out free town/city maps and usually give you great local insight to food and events occurring. Make sure to stop by! And they normally have a restroom too. 😉
Road trips involve cars, which include traffic. Though it might take an hour without traffic, you might run into some crazy situation where it’s now a three hour drive. This might confuse you as there happens to be no accidents or construction to cause such traffic in the middle of the day (meaning not rush hour)….this has happened numerous times to me. Have patience.
One, you don’t want an accident by jumping from lane to lane. Two, it’s a road trip! Take time to look at the scenery-nature or fellow drivers. You might see some similarities or at least something funny or cool like kids dancing in the backseat or someone who appears to be a celebrity (but can’t be confirmed).
3) A cable from your phone/ipod/music device to the car’s radio (or have satellite radio)
Driving through various cities and states you will find yourself pushing that scan button all the time trying to find your tunes either country or the top 40 or oldies. Then you have to sit through commercials to see if it’s the right station you want. Or you will hear the annoying buzz sound of no signal or just have a silent car.
By having a connection with your music device you can be jamming to your tunes the whole time.
4) A multiple USB plug
A device that can charge multiple USB devices at once in your car either it be through a USB outlet in the car or through the igniter. Then you can charge multiple phones at once especially if there isn’t anymore outlets available. If you have a multiple USB device plug for a normal outlet for hotel/motel rooms that is also ideal as some outlets are hard to reach.
Worse case, have spare batteries!
5) Pack light and Expect to Buy
Yes, you will be in a car and not having to worry about luggage weight for a plane, but there is only so much room in it. Plus, what about all the souvenirs you will be getting along the way? That shirt with I heart NY or a sweater from Yellowstone National Park with cute animals.
Expect to buy items. There will always be a store near enough for any items you may need. Forgot hair ties? No worries, there is probably a 24 hour CVS close. You ran out of shampoo, same thing.
There are so many other things for a road trip, but these are the top for me- that I constantly remind myself or think about when packing.