15 road trip essentials

(thanks for posing, Kenz, even though our longest roadtrip was up to Dallas to see a musical…roadtrips are about the views and the mems, people, not the mileage)

For whatever reason, my family does roadtrips super casually; it’s usually our default. This post is supposed to be automatically going live, since I’m actually in the middle of one now—back from Colorado to Texas (17 hours woohoo…seriously text/tweet me if you’re bored, I’m probs in the middle of Kansas). And with the long weekend coming up, I’m probs not the only one taking a trip. So whether it’s a cross country trek, or three hours from Dallas to Austin, here’s a list of the 15 things you need to conquer any roadtrip:

  1. a pillow. I know you’re not going to sleep, you’re going to keep the driver distracted/awake, you can never fall asleep in the back seat… bring a pillow. it’s much better to have yours than to have to crumple a sweatshirt up against a window.
  2. a hoodie/blanket. if your driver is feeling sleepy, the last thing you want to do is to turn up the heat because you’re cold.
  3. nuts and popcorn in ziplock bags. hear you me: I am a big believer in pringles and sour patch kids for roadtrips. but if it’s a long trip, even I understand the need to be sustained by something other than straight sugar and processed flour. if you pack healthy foods, you can pick up junk food at any gas station, and then you’ll at least have a mix of healthy and unhealthy snackage. and yes, that’s a verb; copyright, my dad.
  4. sunglasses. obvi. yet you’d be surprised how often they end up on your counter back home, or in a suitcase on the roof of the car.
  5. a different playlist for each driver. everyone in the car will probably have similar tastes in music, yeah, but when each driver is up, their tunes need to be on. For example, I could drive for hours (and probably have been, as you’re reading this) with satisfied, wait for it, burn, and my shot on loop (#HamiltonIsLife), but my mom’s eyes start twitching after the first few bars of any sort of musical. so we compromise. plus, this is a really easy way to determine who drives when — make your playlists two hours, and you’re set for the perfect tradeoff time.
  6. chapstick. omg don’t forget chapstick; it’s not a mistake you make twice.
  7. portable chargers. yes, that’s in addition to the car charger you have. I promise, at one point, more than one person’s phone will be at 7%.
  8. ginger chews. you know how you’re supposed to sip ginger ale on a plane to help with motion sickness? that’s a placebo. BUT taking ginger for a car trip, now that totally works! do be careful, though, to get chews that are predominantly ginger, not just ginger-flavored sugar.
  9. water. unglamorous, I know. but so is dehydration.
  10. a good old-fashioned map. it’s a scientific fact that it’s 40 times more exciting to track your progress on a paper map. plus it doesn’t depend on wifi/satellite/other things that drain battery. plus you feel like macgyver #goals
  11. a notepad and pens. to write down each state license plate you’ve seen or to pen your next symphony. for some reason, if you don’t have a pen and paper handy, you’ll drive yourself crazy. a book you’ve been dying to read will also suffice.
  12. eye-drops. because staring at the same hill on the Texan horizon for three hours with air conditioning vents blowing recycled air straight at you face does a number on your eyes.
  13. your gas stations/bathroom breaks/lunch stops planned out. takes the guesswork out of things, and eliminates the ‘well the tank has 35 miles left and the next gas station is in 37 miles‘ dilema. (sidenote: I always cheat and drink water when I know I have 30-40 minutes before our next stop).
  14. hand sanitizer/baby wipes. you won’t know why, but your hands will suddenly feel sticky. no amount of chipotle napkins can make them feel clean again. hand sanitizer, we thank you.
  15. a positive attitude. cliche, I know. but determine to be positive, no matter how tired, angsty, stressed, or in-need-of-a-shower you feel. it’ll make the difference, and it’ll be contagious.

And that’s it! What are your road-trip must haves?

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