Heading cross-country? We share what to pack for a road trip, so you have everything you will need on your next adventure.
Traveling cross-country is one of the most exciting things you can do! The chance to get out of the house, hit the road and see sights that you haven’t experienced before can be thrilling. If you’re gearing up for a big trip and aren’t yet sure what to wear or pack, here are some of the most important items you’ll need.
Spare Cords and Chargers for Everything
Even if you have a phone charger that stays in your car, pack another so that you’re not found unprepared. For many people, going without your phone could mean losing your navigation, losing your access to help and losing your source of music and entertainment all in one go. Keep an extra phone charger and a spare charger for things like tablets, smartwatches and other devices that you use daily.
A Disposable Camera for the Trip!
This is less of a ‘need’ and more of a nice thing to remember the trip by! Keeping a disposable camera on hand ensures that you can take only a set number of pictures, and then at the end of your journey, you can develop them to remember the trip. If you’re traveling with a friend or loved one you don’t get to see often, creating a photo book of the film and giving it to them can be a nice treat!
Snacks and Drinks for Fewer Stops
It may be tempting to buy food as you go, but don’t fall for this money trap! Instead, purchase snacks, drinks and nonperishable foods ahead of time so that you can enjoy them as you go. Gas stations and other roadside shops have far higher prices than most grocery stores and planning can save you a lot of money.
Enough Clothes and Emergency Quarters
You must try to pack as much clothing as you think you’ll need, but also that you don’t force yourself to wear dirty clothing or the last resort. When you’re packing, pick up a couple of rolls of quarters as a change from a purchase or a local bank. These can be used in almost any laundromat in the country and will ensure that you’ll have clean clothes if nothing else. It may take a couple of hours to wash, but fresh clothes can feel incredible.
A Paper Map
This item isn’t one that many think of, but regardless of whether you’re in Alaska looking at the Aurora Borealis or are in Colorado looking at Aurora apartments, getting lost happens. It’s a good idea to keep a map on hand if your phone isn’t getting a signal or its battery dies and you don’t have a charger that your car can use. Although a paper map can take some getting used to, it’s not impossible!
Look it over, figure out what highway or road you’re on, and then break it down from there. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time within one state, try to get an atlas that will guide you through your travels without having to stop to charge your device.
Roadside Emergency Kit
Anything can happen when traveling by car like having to repair a flat tire, needing a tow or having to use the jumper cables. There are multiple kits available that are small and able to fit in the trunk of your vehicle, ready for any emergency. A car issue with no cell phone service or far from a garage can delay your trip by many hours, leaving you stranded and waiting until someone gets there. It’s essential to be prepared so you can fix the repair yourself and get back on the road quickly.
When you are driving in places like Utah and Montana with vast stretches of land with no retail or service stops, it’s also important to have a portable gas can in your trunk. Coolant and a quart of oil are two more necessities to have that don’t take up a lot of space in case things take a turn for the worse.
When you’re traveling across the country, you’ll most likely be gone from your usual bed and home for a week or more. You’re in unfamiliar places and constantly moving around from state to state, and it’s easy to miss sleeping in your own bed and doing your usual morning routine. Luckily there are many things you can do to feel like you’re at home!
Bring a set of comfy, warm clothes for those chilly nights when you’re getting ready for bed. Getting your full 8 hours of sleep after long days of traveling is important; and an eye mask is handy so you are in complete darkness when you are asleep, even in the wee hours of the morning. Today’s travel pillows are so comfortable you feel like you’re sleeping in your bed at home, so take advantage of this comfort and no stiff neck in the morning.
Everyone loves their morning coffee, and you don’t have to forfeit it just because you’re traveling. Use a travel coffee cup or mug so you can still enjoy your personal wake-up call. Lastly, a nice blanket that can be easily rolled up will remind you of your home and keep you warm if the AC is on full-blast.
Of course you’ll be doing lots of sightseeing once you get to your destinations, but car rides can be long and draining, making the time go by slowly. Personal entertainment items like Mad Libs, a Kindle, coloring books (for kids and adults), and a trip journal are fun things to be engaged in when you get tired of looking out the window. Audiobooks are also becoming popular for traveling in cars so you don’t get carsick reading an actual book. Just remember to bring Airpods or headphones so others around you aren’t bothered.
Traveling across the country is full of new sights and adventures, and is meant to be fun and exciting for everyone. Although not being prepared and not having all of the essentials above can make the trip uncomfortable and the opposite of relaxing. Packing all of the items above will ensure you have a great experience when you decide to travel across the country.