All of us have headed out for an adventure only to realize that we were woefully unprepared for the activities we encountered. In last week’s blog, we talked about how important advanced planning is to the quality of a road trip. After considerations of the where, when, and with whom, come the last minute preparations! Time, energy, and finances are valuable commodities when you are away and these pointers will help you make the most of all.
As you pack, determine whether you are human or a beast of burden. Pack light. After you display all of the clothes you think you might need, put at least half of them back (especially if you are the female type!). Plan for layers and colors that coordinate and you will need fewer clothing pieces. Always bring at least two pairs of broken-in shoes. The best are a pair of walking/tennis shoes and the second should be a comfortable pair of shoes that fits the weather, such as sandals or a loafer-style closed shoe. This is not the time for anything fancy or “heelish.” If this road trip is a summer one, bring that bathing suit. Some of my best adventures have been improved by dangling toes in roadside brooks when the spirit beckons.
As you pack, consider this strategy: Leave your big suitcase in the car most of the time. Every few days, repack a duffle to carry in to the motel at night with toiletries and clothes. This will save valuable time and energy and will make that tense repacking each day a little easier.
Consider the ages and interests of all when you decide what else to bring. Most people will need the following as a basic list:
- Camera, perhaps with an extra photo card
- Chargers for electronics
- Flashlight (or get an App for your phone like Maglight)
- First Aid Kit and jumper cables to handle potential people and car minor emergencies
- Medicines (headache, stomach, allergy, for example) plus copies of the prescriptions of any daily medicine you are required to take
- Wet wipes and spot removers for the inevitable chocolate ice cream cone that loses its shape all over your new shirt
- Mid-size cooler with hard sides for healthy and cost saving snacks and lunches as you travel
How much cash should you carry? Although cash is the easiest to use and often makes splurge purchases not so attractive, it is not advisable to carry more than a few hundred dollars or more than you can afford to lose. Locking all but the needed cash for the day in the glove compartment is another strategy to keep your money safe.
Tend to the division of labor that works in your family. Discuss ahead of time which of you will pack the car, plan snacks, and navigate. The “planner” of the group might also want to assemble a short list of interesting restaurants at overnight locations before you depart.
As you begin the journey, several free or nearly free apps can help make the most of your time:
- Although it does not work on secondary roads, iExit shows services at upcoming interstate exits.
- A personal favorite is Travel AppBox which has almost anything you need such as emergency call numbers, offline maps, and even travel games.
- A mobile version of TripAdvisor can also help you evaluate things to do when you get to each destination.
- Yelp or Open Table can assist you with restaurant choices and reservations
Here’s hoping your road trip is full of amazing adventures and wonderful times with family, friends, or solo!