I’m a planner. My husband Frank is spontaneous. However, there are certain things that we plan for and take on a road trip – whether they are short one-day excursions or weekend getaways. We could live without them, but they do make the drive more pleasant.
In no particular order, our top things to take on a road trip:
iPad and iPhone
We love using Google Maps to track our progress and to find side-trips when we are doing a spontaneous road trip without any specific destination in mind. We’re using an iPad with a Telus data plan so that we can get coverage anywhere in Canada. The iPhone comes in handy as a back-up and has a larger data plan so I don’t feel to guilty about using it to navigate. It’s also is a means of communication, just in case we get stuck somewhere. A bonus with iPhones is that if you have an adapter (check out Belkin iPhone accessories) you can plug them into your car and play music through the car speakers.
Healthy Snacks and Water
Can’t leave home without something to munch on, particularly as I can get hungry about two hours after a meal. Frank has learned that I need food and if he’s not willing to stop somewhere, it’s best to pack something for the trip. We try to go for healthier options like mandarin oranges, granola bars and apples (however we sometimes sneak in a bit of candy). We top up our Vapur bottles with water, chill them the night before in the fridge and grab them just before we leave the door.
Comfortable Shoes or Sandals
During summer road trips, it can get very hot at your feet if you are forcing the car’s air conditioner to cool only your face and upper body. A trick that we use is to wear light sandals or shoes that offer lots of ventilation for sweat-prone feet. While passengers can get away with flip flops, it’s best to have a sandal that fits securely on your foot if you are the driver. Accidents have happened when your loose flip flop or slip-on sandal falls off and gets jammed by the brake or gas pedal.
Sunscreen, Hats and Sunglasses
Never leave home without them. With UV forecasts reaching into the high digits during the summer period, it’s very easy to get a burn even while sitting in the car. Factor in the light streaming in through windows and sunroofs as well. We always pack baseball hats and sunscreen with us. I always put on a light face moisturizer with UV protection before I leave the home. Sunglasses are a must as UV rays can damage your eyes, even on a semi-cloudy day.
A good old-fashioned paper map is often a blessing when driving into areas with poor cell phone reception. They also act as a great way to partially cover your front windshield when you step out of the car, keeping the hot sunshine off the main dash. This means you don’t burn your hands gripping the steering wheel for the first few minutes of driving.
A Great Attitude
Leave arguments and problems at home. Nothing makes for a lousy drive when you bring up grievances or discuss tough issues. The driver needs to be relaxed and focused on the road. Know your end goal and enjoy the exploration along the way.
What are your recommendations for things to take on a road trip?