Top tips for road trips, including 10 “must-have” items to get you on your way

Without a doubt, the road trip has become one of the most celebrated means of discovery for the alternative traveler. Old, young, solo or surrounded by a handful of your closest friends, nothing beats taking to the open road, the wind in your hair and home at your back, en route to your next greatest adventure.

Road trips aren’t just tons of fun; they’re a cheap and convenient way to get around. Not sure how to pack? Don’t worry, we’re got you covered.

Road trips are cheaper than flying

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One of the greatest things about road trips is the money you save on travel expenses, especially in countries like Canada, where (thanks to a monopoly on air travel) flying can be outrageously expensive. For North Americans, taking to the roads is an affordable way to explore the vast wilderness that occupies their own backyard, while European road trips can lead to the exploration of multiple countries in only a few days. Forget booking airline tickets and train tickets that cost an arm and a leg, take to the road and travel far, for less.

Planning to embark on some long-term travel? Why not consider investing in a caravan, giving you a motorhome, instead of a mortgage! After all, there’s a reason that the iconic hippie love wagon – the original caravan – has become a symbol for freedom, escape and respite that represents the wonder and beauty of the open road. Whether you decide to buy or rent on-site, a caravan is an awesome way to enjoy a cheaper travel experience.

Travelers tip: Don’t forget, there is strength in numbers. Loading a car or sharing a caravan with four of your friends, and splitting expenses, can save you huge amounts of money on gas and other essential items like caravan insurance.

Road trips are a convenient (and entertaining) way of getting things done

Not only is traveling in a pack the most affordable way to get from A to B, but it’s also the most entertaining means of making your “must does” memorable! Moving across country? Grab some buddies and take a week to explore the open road, stopping along the way at your convenience as you take in the food, the music, the festivities and the strange nomadic people, staggered across the land.

What to pack for the best road trip ever: 10 “must-have” items

While road trips are designed to save you money, they can get pretty pricey if you haven’t planned ahead. Moreover, there’s nothing worse than hitting the open road and realizing that you forgot something at home, which is most likely a few hundred kilometres in the opposite direction. So, to ensure you have the best road trip ever, here are 10 items you won’t want to forget:

  1. Food: Most importantly, pack enough food for the trip, and then some. Grab snacks for the short-terms and take along non-perishables that you can break out if you want to skip a meal en route to your final destination. The worst situation imaginable is more bearable if you have something to chew on.
  2. Water: Don’t get caught on the road without a way to quench the thirst. Food, you can live without, but water is going to come in real handy once you’re stuck in traffic or driving in circles for hours on end. It’s a road trip – it happens.
  3. Kleenex/toilet paper: To be used once fed – and hydrated. Toilets are for the weak.
  4. Blankets: For longer road trips, bring a few blankets. In fact, a pillow or two wouldn’t hurt. When you’re on the road, you never know when or if you’ll find lodging for the night. If you’re going to drive all day, do it on a good night’s sleep. Do your best to stay warm and (relatively) comfortable.
  5. Flashlights: If your car breaks down, don’t get left in the dark. That’s how horror movies begin. Seriously, bring a flashlight.
  6. Mixed CDs: Jamming to the radio in different cities is great and all, until you lose reception. Pack a few mixed CDs you made in preparation for the trip! Depending on where your travels take you, you may be passing through dead zones and trust me, on road trips, forced silence is never golden.
  7. Camera or phone with awesome snapshot ability: You might want to cut yourself off from the outside world, but you’ll want to capture golden moments as they arise, and on road trips, they always do.
  8. Cash: This is kind of an important one. Yes, it’s the 21st century, but no, not everyone accepts credit card. Don’t go hungry because you ran out of small change. Pack enough cash for emergency situations and store it in a safe place.
  9. Deck of cards: Whether you’re in your caravan, or stopped in a motel for a good night’s sleep, a deck of cards takes up little to no space and can provide instant entertainment for groups of people. And if you’re traveling alone, well hey, there’s always solitaire.
  10. Medical kit: Bandages, antibacterial cream, Ibuprofen (or another anti-inflammatory), Acetaminophen (or another pain killer), diarrhea medication and stomach salts for heartburn. Be prepared to battle the nemeses of the road traveler and don’t let a rough meal or small cut stop you from having the time of your life.

Do you have more items to add to this list? Let us know!

One thought on “Top tips for road trips, including 10 “must-have” items to get you on your way

  1. Well written. Thank You. We are making road trips every year in Finland and In Europe. Germany is my favorite country. It has much to offer and due to its “no speed limits” roads to drive fast. In Finland we love areas beyond the Arctic Circle. Even in winter Arctic Circle is something understandable. Best place to visit in winter is Kemi with its World’s Biggest Snow Castle.
    Next Spring we’ll make again road trip to Germany and staying there one month.

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