Planes, trains, and automobiles – which mode of transportation do you prefer to use when you want to take a vacation? According to Money Crashers, 35.5 million Americans took a road trip during the Independence Day weekend in 2013. Some of the most popular destinations for those travelers included Florida, California, New York State, and North Carolina. Sure, gas prices have jumped up and down like a gymnast, but that shouldn’t deter you from filling up your tank, stuffing your ride with your belongings, and hitting the road on a cross-country road trip.
If you’re ready to get behind the wheel and drive to a faraway place, don’t forget to pack these five items.
A Cooler Filled With Drinks and Snacks
You’re already spending enough on gas to get you across the country, so save yourself some money by filling a large cooler with drinks and snacks to get you and your loved ones through your trip. Water and sports drinks like Gatorade are perfect for staying hydrated during your long drive. Instead of potato chips and candy bars, opt for a can of mixed nuts and a box of energy bars. Although you might be driving for days (or even weeks), you can pre-pack washed and sliced fruits and veggies, stashing them underneath the ice in the cooler to keep them fresh.
An Inventory of Entertaining Games
Sorry driver, but this one’s more for the other people in the vehicle who will want to interact with and entertain each other at some point during the trip (unless you can get someone else to take the wheel). Games are a great way to bond with whomever you’re taking your road trip with, helping you pass some of the time in the process. Although there are a host of games you can play without a board or pieces, you should also try to bring a selection of travel-sized board games to vary your options. Give prizes or punishments to winners and losers for added fun.
A Jamming Playlist (or CD) to Rock Out To
Whether you’re in-tune with the world of technology or you’ve ignored it, there’s no doubt you should bring a solid set of songs with you to rock out to during your road trip. If you have an iPod or any other device where you can store a large amount of songs, consider purchasing and uploading these top 500 road trip hits. Otherwise, consider buying a few albums you’ve never listened to and set out for a ride on the open road. By the end of the trip, you’ll be singing along word for word, ready to take it to next level and impress your friends at the local karaoke bar.
A Large Container You Can Use as a Trash Can
A lot of people overlook this item, but it’s especially important if you’re driving in a National car rental and want to keep it clean and tidy during your trip. Taking a road trip, especially with a couple of rugrats wrestling in the backseat, will amount to a lot of trash. Instead of using your vehicle as a dumpster, consider using a plastic cereal container or any other kind of larger plastic pail with a lid to keep your smelly and sticky trash in. That way, whenever you stop at rest stops, you can easily throw your trash out without hunting for it in the vehicle.
A Jumbo Roll of Toilet Paper
Whether it’s pulling over on the side of road because you just can’t hold your bladder until the next rest stop or dealing with spills and other substances in the vehicle, a jumbo roll of toilet paper will without a doubt come in handy during your long trip. And by jumbo, yes, we mean jumbo. Anything’s possible when you’re driving for hundreds or even thousands of miles, so it’s best to be prepared for when you have to wipe. Industrial size or not, you’ll appreciate having this handy item around when you need it the most (trust us!).
Of course, when taking a road trip, you’ll also want to pack other essential and commonsense items like maps, toiletries, and a car safety kit. Oh, and don’t forget a loved one to share the experience with and a camera to document it. What are some other things you recommend for a road trip?