I used to always hate road trips. Mostly because I would get sick, my body would get uncomfortable, and I just wanted to get out of the car already. But I have finally figured out a way to survive what I used to think were horrible road trips. Obviously road trips are always better with more than one person! You have someone to entertain you, and you can also switch out on driving to help each other out.
So recently, I moved to California from Washington state. We drove from Seattle all the way down to Los Angeles. It wasn’t my first road trip, I’ve made quite a few! Like from Boston to Orlando. From South Carolina to Mississippi. And a few other trips. But this trip just felt like the longest. And I learned a few good tips along the way that might help you if you are planning a road trip yourself.
So first thing is first:
Packing for a Road Trip:
I recommend to pack essentials only. There is such a big pain in having to lug around such big luggage in and out of hotel rooms. And then rummaging around and realizing I had overpacked was just… too much. I hated it! And I’m sure anyone would too.
Pack travel size containers, only essential items. For example, body wash (essential as hell!), deodorant, toothpaste, etc. These are main essential things you need to live with on a daily basis! And guess what, you can find these super cheap in the travel section of your local drug store or grocery store!
Make sure you have the outfits you need of course, but when you are packing clothing, try to create an outfit for each day of the trip. So maybe instead of packing 10 pairs of jeans for the 10 day trip, maybe pack 3 pairs. One-two long pair of jeans, one short pair, and a skirt or dress pants if needed.
I personally don’t wash my jeans everyday, (gross? Who knows) but supposedly it is bad for your jeans and wears them out. So I’m okay with re-wearing the same pair of jeans and mixing it up with different shirts. Not only does it save space, but it saves you time of looking for an outfit. Pack a few sun dresses too, that’s always helpful because it takes up almost no space, and they’re super comfortable.
Car safety is super important. Before you start your road trip, take the vehicle you will be driving to the shop. Ensure that your oil is changed, liquids are topped off, and that your tires are in good condition. You don’t want your car breaking down during this trip so a good inspection of everything is good. Make sure you also have a rainy day fund before your trip in case anything does happen. AND please make sure you have a spare tire and that it is also in good condition!
Make sure you have proper GPS updates necessary for you trip. Also have a current paper map just in case anything goes wrong. This is extremely important because you don’t want to risk getting lost on your trip. Bring a sharpie so that you can mark the map as you go.
Cash for Tolls:
Make sure you carry change and cash in case you hit any tolls. You don’t want to get stuck paying a lot of money in tickets. So don’t forget to do this!
You absolutely need snacks. This is one of the main things that got me by on my last road trip. Chips, candy, nuts, drinks. My sisters and I grubbed and it kept us entertained. So before you go, buy a ton of your favorite snacks. Not only will it keep you awake during the trip if you are driving, but it’ll keep you from wanting to stop every 10 minutes to get fast food. And don’t forget the energy drinks! Don’t chug them too fast because you don’t want to have to stop every five minutes to use the bathroom.
Note: Get sweet, sour, and salty snacks to satisfy every craving!
Because I get car sick during road trips, I definitely needed some medicine. For those of you that get car sick, if you are not the one driving, I recommend you take Dramamine. It CAN make you drowsy. But it works. I did not get car sick not once the whole trip to California! It was amazing. I am NOT a doctor, so I recommend you check with your Doc to make sure you are okay to take this medicine. It’s definitely over the counter and you can find it at any stores that sell your regular everyday medicine or vitamins. Don’t forget to pack your regular ibuprofen, or tylenol in case someone gets a headache, or isn’t feeling well.
Don’t forget to stop and see things during your trip. I mean it is a road trip isn’t it!?! Visiting any historic landmarks along the way, take pictures, and make it worth the drive!
Have fun on the road trip! Play road games and make the best you can out of it. We played a lot of I Spy and counting games. Lame, but entertaining while it lasted.
You have to stretch. You don’t want to get blood clots in your legs from sitting for too long. And you definitely don’t want to get bum pain. It sucks. So remember to stop every once in a while to stretch your legs, and get fresh air.
Make an amazing playlists and don’t continuously listen to the same songs. The radio doesn’t help because they literally play the same songs over and over and sometimes the stations are continuously changing due to the fact that you are driving to different places (obviously). Listen to throwbacks and sing along! Those are my favorite playlists! And listen to new music and try to learn the words to it. It’ll keep you awake, and aware.
I had my dog with me during the road trip. Pets are important, and you need to make sure you have all of their shot records with you for any hotels you go to, or if they get sick and need to see the Vet. Make sure you have dog food and water for your pet as well. Don’t forget that they need to eat and use the bathroom just like you do, so whenever you stop, take care of your pets needs! I got my dog a really comfy bed for the trip and he laid in it the whole time and took the trip pretty easy. He usually gets carsick but on this trip he was so comfy, he didn’t get car sick even once.
If you have to sleep, you HAVE to sleep. Don’t keep pushing the driving if everyone is tired and no one wants to really take over. Find a hotel close by, and sleep for a few hours, tomorrow is a new day and you can continue then. This can dangerous, if you don’t get enough sleep. But if someone is willing to trade out with you so that you can rest, that works too! Just remember. Sleep is always important, and don’t try to fight it for long because it can put your lives in danger.
Most importantly, make sure you have fun! Trips can be long and annoying, but worth it with the right people and seeing the right places! Good luck on your road trip.