“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
– Jack Kerouac
Planning a road trip now that the summer is finally in full swing? Ace!
Road trips are arguably some of the most fun trips you’ll ever have. It doesn’t matter which country you’re in, there is fun to be had at every turn – though it helps when the sun has got its hat on.
The only real issue with road trips is that, because they’re so spontaneous and carefree, it’s really easy to forget the essentials.
When I went on a camping road trip with my first boyfriend, we woke up one sunny Saturday morning and decided to hit the road. We found the most remote and peaceful area of land we could find, unpacked our bags and lay in each others’ arms underneath a setting sun.
Then we realised we’d forgotten the toothpaste.
And bottles of water.
And, like, lots of other stuff!
To make sure you’re not caught short on the open road, here are 10 road trip essentials that you shouldn’t forget to pack.
This is one of the key road trip essentials. Sunglasses don’t just make sure that you look the part, but they also help for when you’re driving behind the wheel and the sun is blazing right into your eyes!
Don’t just pick up any kind of cheap pair from the gas station, though. Go for something smarter this time that both protects your eyes and makes you look amazing as you cruise down the open road.
It is, however, a good idea to buy a cheap back-up.
You should pack a hat of any kind, though I usually prefer to pack my trusty baseball cap, simply because it’s the only hat I think I look okay in.
Why pack a hat? Because when you’re out on the open road, the chances to have a shower and wash your hair might be slim. Coupled with dry hair, your hair might end up looking decidedly meh by the next morning.
A hat helps you to cover up your shame, and keeps you looking good in all situations.
Hair Powder Or Dry Shampoo
It’s a road trip. We all know our hair is going to look gross at some point.
But we don’t want it to look that gross.
That’s just gross.
So what do you do? If you don’t fancy wearing a hat (and certainly not all of us like hats), you should pack some dry shampoo or hair powder instead (when I refer to hair powder, I mean that it could be many different things, from store bought products to things like talc, rise powder or other oil absorbing substances, like arrowroot or cornstarch) .
Hair powder is magical and lots of women swear by it (me included). It helps keep your hair looking respectable even when you know it’s totally gross by now.
If your phone has survived your everyday life without cracking its screen, congratulations! Your phone has lasted longer than mine!
But you don’t wanna push things too far. Without a phone case on a road trip, there’s every chance in the world that your screen is going to get cracked.
Within the first 5 minutes.
Whether you’re trying for an in-car selfie, or dipping your toes in a lake with your phone in your back pocket, there is potential disaster at every corner. Be smart and take a phone case with you.
No, none of us like the thought of packing a rain coat, especially when the weather is nice today. It dampens spirits and suggests that it’s going to rain – which is totally not cool.
But although packing a rain coat is really no fun at all, it is sensible thinking.
The thing is, rain showers do happen on road trips. As fun as these road trips are, they’re not always how they’re portrayed in movies. The weather does sometimes conspire against you.
So put your sensible cap on, and stuff a rain coat at the bottom of your bag (so you can’t see it).
This is one of the most important road trip essentials. You know how it goes. Someone suggests that you guys stock up on food before you hit the road, but they get shouted down by everyone else who says you’ll grab some munchies at a diner. No big deal.
Then you hit traffic that is tail backed for 500 miles.
And you’ve got no food.
And you’re literally dying of hunger.
And you see your friend through the mirror folding their arms and smirking.
Don’t let this happen. Always pack car food that won’t be gooey and won’t make a mess.
One of important road trip essentials are pillows. You will, of course, need pillows for when you arrive at your destination.
But pillows also come in handy for if someone wants to nap on the journey.
Trust us on this one: Road trips are often long, arduous and exhausting. So give yourselves the chance to catch some zzz’s by packing a few pillows.
Remember that time your dad got you all locked out of your hotel room when you were a kid? It was pretty horrible, and your pa probably had an existential crisis before the receptionist saved the day with a spare set.
If, however, you lose your car keys, there won’t be a receptionist on hand to save your bacon.
To make sure you don’t have to sleep outside with the bears, pack a spare set of keys.
Another memory from my childhood holidays is my uncle’s pocket knife. He used to bring it with him all the time.
At first, I thought it was stupid. I thought it was just another crazy thing that my eccentric uncle did.
But then I realised just how useful it is.
Even in today’s age of technology, pocket knives are irreplaceable if you need to do certain tasks, such as preparing food, making a tourniquet for a wound or cutting someone’s seatbelt.
Finally, one of the most important road trip essentials is music; you’re going to need something to listen to that you all like. So prepare a few playlists ahead so that the road trip is that bit more bearable than if you got stuck with your best friend’s Paul Simon CD that nobody likes but them.