9 Items to Pack on a Road Trip

If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know exactly what Uncle Waldo was talking about.

Life is a journey, not a destination – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Road Trip

The wind in your hair, the sun on your shoulder, amazing music on the stereo; road trips are the stuff of legends. However, if you do mess up your planning, road trips could so easily morph into the worst part of your holiday. For instance, here’s my personal list of top 3 road trip fails

  1. Stuck in the mud for 3 hours in the middle of a lion/hyena infested national park because no one brought any rope to tow us out
  2. Hours of midnight driving in search of an elusive airport in an alien land on a map we did not bring
  3. Silent boring drive on a stretch of silent boring highway the day the music died

Moral of the story – This list might be the difference between a lettuce sandwich road trip and a chocolate cake road trip.

But before we get stuck in, this list is only applicable to car road trips. Having recently survived a 600km road trip in a 25-year-old car (and having cracked open the bonnet at several stages), I believe I am now allowed to talk somewhat authoritatively about car road trips. On the other hand, bike road trips still remain as alien to me as French table manners and hence the disclaimer.

Secondly, there are no rules. Think of these items as guidelines rather than the law. If you prefer Coke to Pepsi, go ahead. Improvise.

1. Car stuff

This is the big one. Other than getting your car thoroughly inspected, a spare tire and a jack is an absolute must. Showing leg on the highway is not the solution to a flat tire. Learn to change a flat before you even think about a road trip. And just to be on the safe side, stock a set of spanners, screwdrivers and a piece of life saving rope.

2. Food and Drink (the legal kind)

This is a matter of life and death. Don’t mess it up. Stock all possible snacks – salty, tangy, sweet, etc. And ensure that you’ve got plenty of water and other beverages at hand. A hungry woman is an angry woman.

3. Maps

Men don’t ask for directions. They’d much rather use their genetically superior internal compass to figure out the best way to get lost. Don’t cheap out. Get a map or a GPS unless the plan involves spending the night in your car.

4. The Gear

Practicality definitely outweighs fashion on a real road trip (doesn’t it always?). Comfortable clothes and shoes are the way to go. Carry a change of clothes if you want to be on the safe side. And don’t make the rookie mistake of leaving behind your sunglasses.

5. Trash Bag

Skinning peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor of somebody else’s car feels mighty good. If that car happens to be your car, then it’s not so good. Cleaning up at the end of such a road trip is a bitch. A tiny little garbage bag will make all the difference between happiness and pain.

6. Camera

Road trips make memories. Capture the moment.

Road Trip Boredom

Or if nothing else, at least you’ve got something to do to kill some time. Which brings us to the next point.

7. Entertainment

Without music, life is a journey through a desert – Pat Conroy

This is applicable to your road trip too. But for the sake of everyone in the car, please ensure that you’ve hooked your phone / music device to the system. Carrying along 2 CDs is NOT a music fix for your trip. And once the music has outlasted its novelty, carry along some games and books to be brandished in accordance with the general mood.

8. First Aid Kit

Common sense huh? Enough said.

9. Cash

Whether it’s bribing the cops who charge you with speeding or buying yourself an embarrassingly pink popsicle, cash is king. Don’t count on encountering ATMs or moneychangers at regular intervals. Break the bank. This road trip’s gonna be a once in a lifetime experience.

Creativity failed me at this stage and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a number 10 without making up stupid stuff like ‘spare underwear’ (which incidentally gets shelved under point 4). If you can come up with something more intelligible, let me know.

Related Posts

2 Comments on “9 Items to Pack on a Road Trip

  1. What about the road trip to Rodeo in your top road trip fails? I know we were on separate buses but that was kinda epic 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.