7 ROAD TRIP MUST HAVES
Jack Kerouac was right on the money when he wrote On the Road. There is nothing quite as freeing as travelling the open road. Humans have been exploring the open roads since the dawn of time whilst uncovering amazing landscapes, new cultures and a deeper understanding of Mother Nature.
With more and more travelers opting for road trips and camper-van adventures, it seems fitting to talk about some of the important must-haves before heading off. I learnt there was a lot more to it than just getting in the car and going. Having picked up a few tips and tricks, here are 7 must-haves to take your road trip from being just another drive, to a life changing experience.
In the first world, we often take our reliance on fresh water for granted. However, if you’re headed on a road trip, fresh water needs to be on the top of your list. A lot of road-trippers forget that getting off the beaten track often means long stints of driving without stops in between. Even more frightening is the idea of breaking down or getting stuck in isolated areas without access to fresh water. I recommend packing about 3 ltrs of emergency water per person to keep in the back of the car. Make sure it’s stored securely and in a cool area of the car to avoid evaporation or leakage. On top of this, leave a few 1-2ltr travel bottles in the car with you for easy access.
Does anyone else suffer from the hangries? That’s what I thought. The human body functions best when it’s kept nourished with healthy food. So, packing a few snacks on your roadie will make all the difference. If you’re just going for a day trip then a few muesli bars, fresh fruit and nuts should suffice. If you’re gone for a bit longer then consider some non perishable options.
Your options are endless when it comes to snacks but try and think about how they’ll travel and keep. It’s quite easy to make some nuts, seeds and dried fruit mix to take with you. Apples and bananas usually keep well for a few days so pack some of those and pick up more when you make stops.
Try to stay away from highly processed foods and foods high in sugar. They’ll provide short bursts of energy but often leave you feeling very lethargic afterwards.
Don’t worry, I know Google maps exists, it’s saved my life on many occasions. What happens though if you suddenly can’t pick up mobile reception? Or, you’re in a rural area and your phone or GPS just spins out? Although technology is amazing, it definitely still has its faults. When you’re headed on a road trip, you need to prepare for the worst so that you’re not left stranded.
If you can't fathom not using technology, Google maps provides the option to download offline maps which is a fantastic resource. This also comes in handy if you’re relying on WiFi when traveling. Simply download the offline maps when you’re in WiFi zones and use them to navigate when you’re offline.
If you’re going somewhere off the beaten track I recommend going old school and getting a paper map of the local areas. Most tourist centers offer free maps for visitors or for a few dollars you can pick one up at the local gas/petrol station. Grabbing one of these could make getting lost in the middle of nowhere a laughable anecdote rather than life threatening.
You’d think that a full tank of petrol was a really obvious thing to do but you would be surprised. I was definitely caught a few times crossing my fingers and toes that a petrol station would miraculously pop up before I ran out. It’s very easy to get so caught up in the adventure that the minor details escape your mind however, a little planning will go a long way. If you’re headed on a long journey try and head through a few large towns that have petrol stations.
Headed off the beaten track? Don’t forget to have enough petrol to get you there and back so that you’re not stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Ah, the stuff that real road-trips are made of. A good road-trip isn’t complete without a kick ass playlist to set the mood. Make sure you do a bit of research before you head off and pick a good variety of genres to listen to. A few classic road trip songs mixed with new hits are bound to do the trick. Stick away from too many slow and sleepy tracks as you want to be as alert as possible.
Keep in mind that you won’t have access to WiFi everywhere you’re travelling, so apps reliant on the internet won’t always work. Always remember safety first so don’t be changing songs whilst you’re driving.
A spare tyre
This one should be relatively easy for all the new car owners out there. Lucky for you, most cars come with a spare tyre in the boot. If for some reason you aren’t the owner of a spare tyre, get your butt into gear and purchase one ASAP.
A spare tyre could make a huge difference for you, especially if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. Obviously you can’t drive too far on one of these and you can only go a certain speed but they will get you to safety.
Don’t forget to check that all the tools for a tyre change are in your boot. There is no point changing a tyre if the jack is missing. If you’re a first timer to changing tyres then it’s not a bad idea to YouTube how to do it. It’s not insanely hard but it can be quite dangerous if not carried out correctly.
Is there anything that a wet wipe cannot do? These magical creations really are amazing for nearly every single road trip related incident you might have. Spilt food on the dash board? Wet wipe. Bird just let go of it’s waste, all over your car? Wet Wipe. Face feels oily and gross because you’ve been driving for a few days? Wet Wipe. Need to go to the toilet and there is no paper? Wet Wipe.
Yeah, they really are amazing and when you’re limited to a car for a long period of time, they’ll come in handy. I always prefer the biodegradable variety as I'm fairly enviro conscious. Bamboo are fantastic and a natural antibacterial and anti fungal which is perfect when you’re on the road. Most eco-friendly wipes are also hypo-allergenic or fragrance free so you can use them on your face too.
Are you an avid road-tripper? Share your road trip must have with me.