The whole life-is-about-the-journey thing? It definitely applies to road trips. Every mile you clock is a memory in the making. So it’s well worth doing a little extra planning. No matter what your destination is, these are the essential things to bring—from snacks you won’t regret eating, to tech devices that keep you on track. Read on and enjoy the ride.
Good-for-You Snack Foods
If you typically rely on gas stations for your snack fix, you might just find that your energy levels crash while you’re driving. Along with plenty of h2o in your favorite reusable water bottles, leave home with a tote full of good-for-you snacks, like nuts, popcorn, turkey jerky, seeds and apples. Bring a cooler and you can stash fresh foods like celery, carrots and radishes. And don’t forget the nut butters and hummus so the fruits and vegetables have a little more appeal for the kids. Just remember to pack some recyclable or reusable knives and plates as well.
Tunes to Set the Mood
Unless you want to play radio-station DJ the whole trip, you’ll want to have playlists at the ready. Kimpton’s Director of Music Lauren Bucherie recommends having a few, curated by mood and landscape. Cruising through the countryside? Turn up the indie-folk. Crossing into the big-city limits? Get the retro soul cranking. If you’re a SiriusXM subscriber, it’s always worth checking out what new stations have popped up. This spring, they brought back Yacht Rock—and it definitely makes for road-trip smooth sailing.
A Few Techie Tricks
Road tripping is a lot different now than it was even a few years ago. Our smartphones do a lot of the heavy lifting for navigation, and apps can also even control our ignition. Time to rely on gadgets. iOttie’s Easy One Touch Qi Wireless Car Mount has cool features like a telescopic arm that can be mounted on the dash or windshield, dual USB charging ports and Qi wireless charging. If you fear losing your keys, be sure to attach a set to the Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker. You can use your smartphone to locate them if lost and even trigger an alarm. Finally, if everyone gets phone-battery drain at once, plug into the Aikenuo 6 Port Car Adapter, which has a generous six (yes, you read that right) USB sockets.
The Coziest Blanket
Napping in the passenger seat happens. Keep things cozy with a travel blanket. The Lug Nap Sac Blanket is made of super-comfy fleece and comes with an inflatable pillow.
A First Aid Kit
It may seem like the most obvious thing in the book, but it’s an easy one to forget when you’re focusing on all the fun you’re about to have. But whether a simple kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin; or a more extensive emergency kit with flashlight, radio, batteries, duct tape, and a multi-purpose tool; you’ll feel better knowing you can toss it in the trunk and get back to the fun stuff.
An Epic Podcast Library
Give yourself some brain fuel. Crime fans will love “In the Dark” which explores how law enforcement impacts a criminal narrative. Into history? Try “Sidedoor,” which is put out by Smithsonian experts and delves into its collection of 154-plus million artifacts. For comic relief, cue up “Urgent Care with Joel Kim Booster and Mitra Jouhari,” who give off-the-cuff advice to people that write in with their problems. And for the kids, NPR’s “Wow in the World” is roadschooling at its coolest with its take on scientific and technological wonders. Just don’t be surprised if you become equally hooked on these ear-catching episodes.
Games for the Win
We love a good license plate game as much as the next road-trippers but if, like us, you’re ready to mix it up these days, here are some suggestions for games that will keep everyone happy as the hours fly by – even the folks in the backseat.
Two Truths and a Lie:
Want to really get to know your travel companions? Have everyone tell three unknown details about themselves, two of which are true and one that’s made-up. Then try to guess which is the fake one and get ready to be surprised by even those who you thought you knew best. Kids will get a kick out of this one, too, possibly while learning a few fun facts about their parents at the same time.
There’s an app for that, and boy, do we love (noun) it. Sharpen (verb) your English skills as you get ready for a car filled with screams of laughter with the wacky (adjective) stories that Mad Libs creates (verb). There’s a reason this game’s been a pop-culture favorite since the 1950’s.
A staple of improv classes around the country, this one also makes a fun and imaginative car game. One person starts a story with a random sentence. Anything goes. Then the next person continues the story, starting with the word “unfortunately. “The next person adds another piece to the story, starting with “fortunately,” and back and forth until either you arrive at your destination, or your head explodes – whichever comes first. Example: I decided to go for a swim/Unfortunately the lake was dry/Fortunately it started to rain and the lake filled up fast/Unfortunately the lake overflowed and carried me out to sea/Fortunately a dolphin came by and asked if I needed a ride… you get it.
Name That Tune:
Hit those radio buttons and see who can name whatever song is currently playing in 15, 10, or even 5 seconds. Depending where you’re traveling, you could hear rap, country, folk or lots of old-school rock. A true test of just who is the musical master of the trip.
Mindfulness and an Insatiable Sense of Curiosity
It’s intangible—but so important. Open your eyes, take in your surroundings and make new discoveries. Notice the sounds, textures, smells, colors, temperature. Get out there and Carpe that Diem.