There’s no better way to experience the summer than whizzing down a scenic route on a road trip, preferably with a copilot by your side. While there are no limits to the spontaneity of a road trip, some parameters can help you maximize your vehicular adventure and make it an even more memorable.
And if you’re looking for products that will make your trip easier, scroll down to our shopping list at the bottom of this piece.
Picking the wrong playlist or forgetting one completely
With lots of miles to go, bad music can get annoying quickly, and the radio waves can be filled with static. You’ll use up data or precious battery life if you improvise mid-trip, so instead, compile an amazing playlist with fast, upbeat tunes.
Not paying attention to traffic
Even if you plan down to the minute, heavy traffic jams are inevitable, and car GPS systems don’t always take traffic into consideration. If your cell service is somewhat reliable, apps like Waze can help you track live traffic. That being said, make sure to use a hands-free phone mount for responsible driving.
Running out of fuel during remote stretches
There’s nothing worse than driving for miles and miles of country or desert before realizing that your car is going to break down in the middle of nowhere. Keep a full tank whenever possible and monitor it regularly. It’s also smart to get a gas points card that lets you rack up rewards — think of it as frequent-flyer miles for the road-tripper.
Packing unnecessary belongings and keeping them close
Make sure you have a backpack or duffle filled with essentials nearby, such as snacks, maps, water, or GPS devices. If you end up needing to pull over for an item or need something urgently, it might put a wrinkle in an otherwise smooth ride. Use a soft bag instead of hard suitcase to maximize space in your trunk.
Ignoring sudden weather changes
If there’s about to be a hailstorm or the skies look increasingly cloudy, keep an eye out on local radio stations and download real-time weather apps like Dark Sky so that you can seek shelter in a timely manner and aren’t stranded in the middle of a dangerous storm.
Not bringing a spare tire
Of all the things you do need to pack, a spare tire is one of the most important. Know which tire you need for your car, and a jack to go with it. If you’re not sure how to change one, don’t be scared to ask a friend or family member who does.
Not packing a paper or pre-downloaded map
Even though we’re in 2019, there are still areas that don’t have cell phone signal. For this reason, it’s good to have reliable options like a paper map and compass, outside of the GPS tech you have available. Additionally, download routes on Apple or Google maps beforehand.
Skipping an auto tune up
Before venturing on a road trip, it’s important to get an oil change and an overall car tuneup before you head out on the road. That means filter changes, tire rotations, and anything else preventative that’ll ensure a smooth, reliable ride.
Packing in too much daily driving
They say that they journey is just as important as the destination — when it comes to road-tripping, that sentiment has never been truer. Driving excessively can be exhausting, and road trips should be about short spurts of scenic drives and maximizing your time exploring new places.
Forgetting a car charger
This is less about convenience, and more about survival if your phone dies in a remote or unfamiliar area. In case of emergency and in order to keep mapping and GPS tools fluidly working, invest in a phone charger for your car.
Packing unhealthy snacks
It might sound fun to munch on junk food during a vacation, but when you’re crashing from the sugar comedown and dehydrated from salt and vinegar chips on a long ride, you will feel very different. Same goes for fast food pit stops. Instead, eat local and pack nutritious snacks like hummus, hard boiled eggs, pita chips, and granola bars.
Not investing in a reusable water bottle and a thermos
Water bottles, coffee, and tea all add up on road trips, and also make for wasteful garbage that usually piles up in your car and creates a mess. Instead, bring your own instant coffee and tea packets.
Forgetting a parking budget
Spending on the cities you’re passing through, you might spend up to $50 a night for parking. To avoid outrageous parking prices, ask local drivers about parking areas that are affordable but safe. Generally, parking garages offer better deals than private lots. Not planning properly for this can take a heft chunk out your road trip budget.
Road trip shopping list
Collapsible water bottle: Save on your carbon footprint and your budget with this space-saving, collapsible water bottle. It’s BPA free and holds up to 650 mL, coming in lots of colours. The material is shatter and leak proof, coming with a lifetime warranty.
First aid kit: This 205-piece first aid kit is versatile for camping, road trips, and to keep around the house in case anything goes awry. From latex-free bandages and first aid tape to string relief and antibiotic ointment, this well-organized system has everything for minor mishaps.
Roadside emergency kit: Don’t let your road trip come to a screeching halt when something unforeseen goes wrong with your car. This 90-piece roadside assistance kit comes with with jumper cables, a tow strap, an air compressor and more.
Magnetic phone mount: Navigating GPS is a breeze with this magnetic smartphone car mount holder which works for most cell phones. It installs easily on any CD slot with 360 degree rotation, ridding you of any anxiety if you don’t have a vehicle with a built-in navigation system.
Battery case: If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of wires, try a battery case that charges your phone while protecting it. This power pack is for the iPhone 7 and 8, but there are a wide range of battery cases available online to keep you charged up for the long haul.