It’s been one year and four months since Jeff and I made our cross country road trip from Connecticut to San Diego. Since then, we’ve also made road trips to LA, Santa Barbara and San Francisco… all at different times. This post is long overdue, since I had been meaning to list my ’10 Essentials for a Road Trip’ the week I arrived in San Diego… but obvoiusly that was put on the back burner.
With the post-holiday blues setting in, what better way to raise your spirits then to plan, or at least imagine, your next trip? Typically, most travel is done by plane these days, but if there’s one trip I suggest everyone do at least once in their life, it’s a cross country road trip. You think you know how big the US is… that is until you’re half way through Texas and wondering if maybe you should just turn back (just kidding).
So… from past experiences, here it goes…
1. Bring a map. In this day in age, that could be laughable. But it won’t be funny when both you and your friend have dead cell phones and it’s 11pm at night in the middle of New Mexico and you can’t even figure out which way is North.
2. Camera. This should be number one, but I’d rather you get to your destination. My biggest suggestion is to find DIY travel photo projects that you can make once your trip is over (i.e. taking a photo in front of every state’s welcome sign).
3. A multi-hour playlist. Your finger will eventually get tired from hitting the scan button for the next local radio station… and unfortunately, Pandora and Spotify only work when you have good cell service.
4. A cooler filled with healthy food and snacks…because Big Macs eventually get really old.
5. Face wipes like these. That might sound so weird, but remember how gross you feel after getting off a plane and all you want to do is shower? Well, imagine that same feeling creeping up on you after just a few hours of car travel, and then of course whatever might fly in your face when you have the windows down, enjoying some fresh air.
6. Blankets and a pillow. DO NOT forget this. Nothing is worse then trying to catch a few Zzz’s when you are on your driving break and have to use a sweatshirt for a pillow.
7. Good books. I know, I know… you should be paying attention during the road trip to what’s going on around you… but at some point, like I said earlier, Texas gets just a little too long and a good read will keep you sane.
8. A set plan of places you’ll stop, with room to make some detours. It’s important to have at least some idea of where you’ll be staying for the night, in case you need to make reservations at a hotel, give a friend a heads up when couch surfing, or even finding camp grounds if you choose to pitch a tent. But, that being said, some of the best memories you’ll make will be the places you decide to check out last minute.
9. Comfortable clothes. That sounds like a no-brainer, but I saw too many people at the Grand Canyon dressed in outfits you’d find at a photo shoot, rather than at one of the largest canyons on Earth.
10…. your best friends. Because everything is more fun with them by your side.