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Are you planning a summer vacation? I’ve rounded up all my road trip essentials to make your next getaway a success!
I love traveling and would do it full time if I could. There is nothing better than escaping the city for a relaxing weekend, and my husband and I especially enjoy taking road trips together!
When we lived in San Francisco, we traveled up, down, and across that beautiful state regularly. San Francisco weather is pretty chilly, so any trip to southern California was a favorite!
One of our more interesting trips was through the Central Valley. The farmers in this area produce more than half of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States, and it was fun visiting the small towns that dot the landscape there.
Of course, no road trip is completely without good food, preferably ice cream!
When we moved from San Francisco to NYC, we sold our car. Although I didn’t need a car to get around, it was pretty rare that we left town except by plane. We did take a quick trip through upstate New York one day, and it was so gorgeous!
A big part of any successful vacation is packing well, and I’m sharing all my road trip essentials with you today. Don’t leave behind anything important on your next vacation!
Okay, I’m starting with the good stuff: food! When you’re spending hours behind the wheel, it’s important to bring something to tide you over between meals. Especially if you’re traveling somewhere remote. You never know when your next meal might be!
Since I tend to splurge a little on my meals when traveling, I like to keep my snacks healthy. Nuts and dried fruit are delicious and pack well. I also take a couple refillable water bottles. That way I can fill them up at night and save a little money on drinks.
If you’re planning a picnic or packing anything that needs to stay cold, an insulated cooler bag works great. How cute is my watermelon bag?
I can’t leave home without my gum either. Both my husband and I are avid gum chewers, so I love the new Extra® 35-stick pack that’s easy to find in the checkout line at Walgreens! It holds a lot more gum than the average pack, so I don’t have to feel stingy sharing with him … ha ha!
The gum comes in durable, recycled packaging that’s perfect for travel. I’m packing Extra® Gum Spearmint (my fave flavor) for our next trip, and I got a pack of Extra® Gum Polar Ice® to split between my purse and desk, too.
I can never have enough gum, so the 35-stick pack is perfect for me. And let’s face it, when you’re on a road, it may be a long time before you can brush your teeth. So the more gum, the better!
Don’t forget the entertainment when packing for your trip. Music is a must, and I need something to sing along to. I love a combination of Motown classics and eighties hits, mixed with my current faves (anything from Gwen Steffani or Bruno Mars will do).
When planning your playlist, add a little fun to your trip by including a few songs that reference your destination. And of course, don’t forget your chargers!
Every road trip has a few boring stretches, so I like to bring a game or two. We are trivia geeks, and a big handful of Trivial Pursuit cards keeps us happy. (Tip: save the packaging from an Extra® Gum 35-stick pack to hold the cards!)
Do you have kids? Make sure to take a few games especially for them and plan on playing road games like I Spy or 20 Questions, too.
You can definitely get a sunburn even if you’re spending the whole day in the car … ask me how I know that! Bring plenty of sunscreen and make sure to coat your face and arms with it (at the very least).
Bring along a couple pairs of your favorite sunglasses, and you won’t spend the whole trip squinting out the windows. They’ll also make driving toward the setting sun at the end of the day much more bearable.
I also like to pack a crushable hat to protect my face and scalp during an unplanned hike or a stroll around a cute downtown.
I’m not one to carry much cash normally, but I always pack some for a road trip. Lots of small business only take cash, and you’ll want some in case of an emergency anyway.
Keep your car clean by packing a small trash bag. It will help you keep any junk you generate corralled, and you can empty it at rest stops and gas stations. I also like to take a pack of antiseptic wipes to clean up any messes we make or encounter along the way.
These days, we usually rely on GPS or a map app to get around, but it never hurts to pack an old-fashioned map as backup. Especially if you are traveling somewhere that internet service may be spotty.
Packing Your Road Trip Essentials
When planning your trip, start by making a list of everything you need to pack. It will keep you organized, and you will be less likely to forget something. Then when it’s time to pack, gather everything and sort like items together.
Unless you’ve got kids, a big tote bag or two should hold everything. Keep these bags within easy reach in your back seat, and don’t forget a cooler bag for anything perishable.
To keep your bags organized, pack smaller items in pouches. They’ll be less likely to get lost on the bottom of the bag this way.