Road Trip Essentials: How to Prepare for a Cross-Country Journey

Preparing for a trip can be stressful, no matter how long it is. You have to think about the weather, temperature, costs and of course, the traffic.

Just take the last Memorial Day weekend for example, as Fortune Magazine reported, those two days had the worst traffic since 2005, with almost 40 million families traveling more than 50 miles away from their homes…

But if you’re traveling across the country… Things are even more stressful. Just imagine this: you’re hundreds of miles away from your home and you realize you forgot something important… You’re basically helpless in that situation…

And that’s why you need a short list of traveling essentials that will prepare you for the road ahead, and fortunately, we’re here to help you with that…

Attire Essentials

·         The Right Sneakers

Having the proper shoes can actually make or break your trip… And we’re not talking about style here, you need something that’s fully comfortable. In this case, Techloom Pro, a lightweight sneaker is there to help you. The technical knot of the upper part of the sneaker is feather-light and perfectly breathable, so no matter how hot it gets, your feet will feel perfectly fine.

·         Rain Coat

While sneakers are there to avoid the heat, you never know what weather conditions you’ll encounter during your trip. As a matter of fact, if you’re covering some major ground, you’ll definitely run into cold weather at some point. Patagonia’s Torrentshell is a light waterproof jacket that has everything you need to remain comfortable, and more importantly completely dry even in the worst weather.

·         Mini Blanket

A blanket is not really a piece of clothing, but if you plan on making some stops along the way, you surely need a blanket for hiking, beaching and even napping in the cat. In this case, you should look for something compact and Matador Pocket Blanket gets points for its packability – you can simply fold it and put it in your pocket. It’s perfect for those trips where there is not an inch to spare in the car…

Tech Essentials

·         Foursquare

Being a complete stranger in an unknown town can be sometimes off-putting. But with the help of Foursquare, you’ll be able to find the right restaurant, bar and even a hotel with just a few clicks. You’ll also have some tops for every spot, so you’ll always know which local IPA is best.

·         Openbay

If you don’t have any Internet access and you can’t find a YouTube video that will explain what’s wrong with your car, you have Openbay to help you find a mechanic nearby at the right price nonetheless. Not only will the app help you diagnose your problem, but it will also compare mechanic rates for the fix.

·         Automatic

You just need to plug Automatic’s tiny dongle into your dash, synch it with the application and you’ll get a number of useful stats. You’ll have precise information on your driving, you’ll be able to find your vehicle in the parking lot and even closely track your gas usage.

Vehicle Essentials

·         Neck Pillow

At some point of your trip, your neck will start aching and you’ll find yourself twisting around your car seat, looking for the right position. But something like Original Bones Pillow will support the natural curve of you neck and help you sit upright, which will keep both your neck and your back ache-free for the duration of the trip…

·         Backseat Lights

If you’re a driver, then you know that one of the most irritating and infuriating things a passenger could do is turn on the overhead light at night. But since you’ve probably been a passenger at one point, then you know that reading something underneath a streetlight is equally irritating. So you should pick up something like the LuminAID PackLight that runs on solar, is shatterproof and has 24-hour battery.

·         Healthier Snacks

The first instinct for most people on a road trip is to pull up to the first gas station and buy everything they see in the junk food isle. But you should put a little more effort in, especially if you’re traveling with your family. For instance, you should opt for Good Zebra animal crackers if you’re looking for something that will keep you and the kids satisfied – they have 12 grams of protein per pack and no refined sugar.

Additional Things You Should Bring Along

If you want to be prepared for anything, you have to keep in your mind: what can go wrong will definitely go wrong. Keep in mind – last year, over the aforementioned Memorial Day weekend, more than 50, 000 people in the US sustained injuries in car crashes, according to research from the National Safety Council. So you should always hope for the best, but expect the worst…

·         Navigation System

While most people gave up on GPS systems, if you want to stay completely safe, there are more serious devices and programs out there that can offer more than what is in a simple smartphone. For example, Garmin 496 has weather maps with such high resolution that you could safely chase tornados…

·         Cigarette Lighter Splitter

The recent development of automotive technology hasn’t actually kept pace with people’s growing need to plug in their gadgets. Therefore, cigarette litters are still the most popular place to get some power. And since you definitely own a number of different phones, tablets, etc. it would be a good idea to get a quality splitter. Luckily, Powerlet sells custom-made splitters that allow you to add multiple sockets…

·         A Spare Tier and Tools

Having a tiny, doughnut spare tire is better than nothing, however, if you get a flat on your trip, you’ll be stuck driving 30 miles per hour in that tire. So you need to bring a full-size spare, and it would be wise to pick some tools while you’re at it, and in that case, Kincrome tools are a good choice.

Final Thoughts

The problem with these lists is that there’s no such thing as the “ultimate checklist” that can be posted on a blog to feet everyone’s personal needs. And that’s why you need to take matters into your own hands and start putting a list of your own.

This article is there to help you get your thoughts together and maybe remind you of a couple of things you might’ve overlooked. Therefore, as soon as you close this page, go get a pen and a pad, or open the notes in your phone and start writing things down to be sure that you aren’t forgetting anything…