Road trips can go one of two ways: totally awesome or a total disaster. What started as a fun, spontaneous idea can suddenly take a nosedive if you go into it unprepared. From getting stranded with no data or cell service, to emergency bathroom stops, your road trip can quickly turn from freaking awesome to “I’m freaking out!”.
Yes, there was a reason that your parents packed the minivan to the gills (I admit it… you were right about everything, Mom!). It seems the more well-planned road trips tend to go off without a hitch. Us Metromilers love road trips and encourage our customers to take them, which is why we cap your mileage at 250 miles/day (150 miles/day in New Jersey). From having the right snacks, to the right tunes, to arguably the most important thing – planned restroom stops – here are our 10 things you need to make your next road trip your most epic one yet.
- 1. Hands-free phone holder: Your phone will most likely be your GPS and source of music, so be sure to invest in a hands-free phone holder to make it safer and easier to navigate. It doesn’t need to be fancy – I bought one in the Target dollar section a couple years ago and it was exactly what I needed and so inexpensive. Side note: the Target dollar section rules.
2. Downloaded Google maps: Did you know that you can download any map in the world in the Google Maps app? This tip is super important because there will definitely be lapses in cell service and data coverage, and you do not want to be stranded without a map. This past summer, I visited New Zealand and downloaded a map of the entire north island on my phone before arriving (just in case). It ended up coming in handy when we lost data coverage on the remote back roads of the island. Thanks to the pre-downloaded map, we were still able to navigate our way back to town. Also, Google Maps will still give you turn-by-turn directions with the downloaded maps! See how to do it here.
3. Snacks and drinks: No explanation needed. Make sure everyone in the car gets their favorite kind, and be sure to also have some more substantial snacks (like Kind Bars or Clif Bars) on hand in case anyone gets hangry. Don’t forget the bottled water, too!
4. Fast Track toll pass: If you don’t already have one of these in your car, you should definitely get one stat. In addition to offering you discounts on tolls, it expedites the toll-paying process and eliminates the need to fumble for loose change, so you can be on your way faster!
5. First Aid Kit and Magic Tank: You’ll most likely never have to use these two but they’re important to bring anyway as a precaution. Put together a simple first aid kit consisting of bandages, gauze, bottled water, an instant ice pack, a flashlight with fresh batteries, Swiss Army knife, Ibuprofen, Dramamine, a lighter, and rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, and store it in your trunk. Also, Magic Tank is a great thing to have on hand – it’s a non-flammable emergency fuel that can help you make it to a gas station if you’re coasting on fumes.
6. Car phone charger: This is a necessity and something that you should keep in your car at all times. There is nothing worse than needing to call for help and having a dead phone battery. Without this you will be walking, my friend!
7. Neck pillow: Long hours in the car means cramped bodies and necks. Make your journey a little more pleasant by bringing a neck pillow so you can snooze in the back when it’s not your turn to drive. This one by Lewis N. Clark is great because it can convert into a lumbar support pillow as well. My back feels better just thinking about it.
8. Good tunes: This one is up for debate, because it’s guaranteed that everyone in the car will have differing opinions on what constitutes “good” tunes. My road trip rules are that the driver gets to pick the tunes. And when all else fails: headphones.
9. Toilet paper: Just put a roll in the car. It takes up zero space… and you never know when someone might need it. Ahem.
10. Small bills and coins: It’s always good to have a bit of cash (small bills) and some coins on hand. From parking meters to issues at the toll booth, you never know when you’re going to need some to help you out in a pinch.
As one final tip: my Dad always told me, “Dress like you’re going to have to walk.” Make sure you wear comfy, weather-appropriate clothing, and reliable footwear.
That’s it! Go forth and conquer your future road trips with these tips. Metromile will be there with you every mile of the way, helping you to optimize your trip by spending less on gas, tracking your mileage, and finding your car (who remembers that Seinfeld episode?). Be sure to get a quote with Metromile today, and let’s get that next road trip on the books!
Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram