As you know, I have been on a couple road trips already this summer, one to Montreal which you can read about HERE and HERE and another where I went to Norfolk County and went glamping and checked out a winery. I have been on even more road trips over the past few years as well. So not only have I been on quite a few road trips, I'm also a bit of an organization freak. I like things to be kept neat and tidy and in their place so that they are easily accessible in the time of need. So when it comes to knowing what to pack for a long trip in the car on a road trip, I have a list of the basic essentials you will need.
When you are on a road trip, one of the main keys to staying sane is to stay comfortable. You will be in the car for prolonged periods of time and there is NO need to be uncomfortable. Dress appropriately! Sweats and comfy shoes are totally acceptable attire! You can also pack some pillows and blankets for more comfort while on the road.
I know, I know - I sound like Captain Obvious here, but you would be surprised! Make sure you pack all the identification you may need.. Going out of the country? Don't forget your passport! You do not want to get stuck at the border without it and have to drive all the way back! Obviously you will need your driver's licence. And make sure you bring your health card and documentation of insurance (car, travel and health).
Eating and Drinking
Not only will your vehicle need fuel, but your body will too! Being on the road can be draining. You have to put all of your energy into focusing on the road. So, make sure to fuel your body properly! Ensure you pack a cooler with juice and water. There is no need to pay the insane gas station price of $4 a bottle, or whatever it is, when you could easily buy a case for the same amount! If you are going on a road trip with a group of people, pack a variety of snacks to satisfy everyone's cravings. You can also pack some sandwiches to avoid the fast food pit-stops on the road. When I drove from Vancouver across Canada back to Toronto, I ordered pizza on my second night on the road. I packed up the leftovers and ate them on the road the next day. I'm a huge fan of cold pizza and it cam in handy driving through the Prairies where there weren't many food options anyways!
Road trip playlists are essential! Make sure to have a great variety on your phone and/or iPod. An added bonus to playing music from your phone or iPod is that when they're plugged in - they are also charging. So your phone will have a consistent charge - which is wonderful! Have a variety of songs and genres to accommodate everyone in the car, or even set a schedule where you rotate between everyone's music library on their phones. If you're old fashioned and still using CD's, make sure you have a variety available to suit everyone's tastes.
Always, ALWAYS, be prepared. You may not even end up needing any medication while on your road trip or vacation, but as the saying goes - better safe than sorry! Many people get nauseous from carsickness while on long drives, so pack some Gravol to ease the tummy. Trust me, it's better than having to pull over and bring out a plastic bag because someone is going to be sick! *shudders* With the long driving, constant chatter, music playing, possible time zone changes - headaches are almost inevitable while on a road trip! Be sure to pack some Tylenol or Advil to help. If you are on any prescriptions - make sure you remember to pack those as well.
Emergency Car Kit
You never know what may happen, so it's best to be prepared. Be sure to pack a flashlight (with extra batteries), extra plastic bags (for garbage, dirty clothes or even when Gravol just won't cut it), a blanket, extra chargers for your phones/tablets, paper towel and a paper map. Yes, those still exist! Most people have some sort of GPS system in their cars nowadays, but you never know! What if your car dies? A paper map doesn't have a battery life...just saying!
Stay Fresh and Clean
Imagine being in the car, driving in the middle of the summer heat, for 8 hours. Be honest, you are not going to feel so fresh and clean when you finally get out. Make sure you pack some deodorant, body spray, sunscreen and body wash. Hotels will supply some shampoo and conditioner, but not too much. You can always ask for more - or pack your own. Of course, don't forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and mouth wash. No one wants to be stuck in the car with bad breath! Personally, I always pack baby wipes as well. They're one of my favourite go-to items for sticky fingers, messy faces and everything in between!