Sun, Shades, and Steering Wheels
The Summer Road Trip Checklist
School’s out, the sun is shining, and you’ve got the urge to travel! Luckily for you, there’s no better time than summer for a road trip. Whether you’re headed out for a singular day at the beach or embarking on a road trip epic - like this 7-week Park-to-Park Highway journey, for example - the great weather and good vibes of summertime set the perfect scene for vehicular expeditions.
We know you’re busy planning the fun parts of your journey and rounding up your crew to tag along. So we took care of making a checklist for you!
- Clothes - Be sure you have an outfit for every day. Socks and undergarments too! Pack (at least) one extra change of clothes, and don’t forget destination-specific essentials like your swimsuit, hiking boots, or that jacket for those chilly summer evenings.
- Accessories - In the summer, it’s all about the shades. You wouldn’t want to get caught in the sun without a way to protect your eyes - and emphasize how cool you are. Appropriate accessories depend on your itinerary but little things are easier to lose on the road, so don't bring anything you couldn't bear to lose - or get wet or dirty in your adventures.
- Chargers - Obviously if your phone dies you’ll miss out on essential summer selfies. Make chargers for any important electronics the first thing you pack. Invest in a car charger/adapter to keep the battery going during long days on the road.
- Wallet & ID - An obvious one, but a road trip is just about the worst journey on which to forget your license. If you’re crossing national borders, you’ll need your passport too.
- Printed Directions - Just in case. Even if you have a GPS or a smartphone. Sure, you invested in a car charger but you could still lose service out there. Bonus points if you bring a map too.
- Personal Hygiene - Please don’t forget these basic cleanliness items; your traveling companions will appreciate it: soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste. Hand sanitizer is a plus for when you’re on the go. And don’t forget to pack any medications (and if you’ll need a refill along the way, bring your prescription)!
- Skincare - Sunscreen - or sun tan lotion - is a must for summer travels outdoors. Insect repellent helps to keep the pesky bugs at bay, and some soothing aloe will help ease the itching from those unavoidable mosquito bites.
- Blanket - Perfect for an impromptu picnic along the road, laying out at the beach, or snuggling up by a campfire.
- Water - Your body needs it, and it comes in especially handy under the hot summer sun. Keep a couple extra gallons in the trunk to be truly prepared.
- Rain Gear - a basic umbrella or poncho stowed under a seat or tucked in your backpack goes a long way to keep a trip from being totally washed away with rain.
- Paper Products - It’s wise to keep some tissues, napkins, paper towels, or toilet paper around to clean up any unexpected messes you or your car encounter along the road.
- Snacks - These road trips are demanding work and you’ll get hungry more than once along the road. To avoid having to stop and buy food every time you feel a rumble in the stomach - and avoid adding time and money into the trip’s budget - pack some snacks for the road. Bring along supplies for sandwiches and maximize travel time by having lunch on the go.
- Entertainment - A deck of cards, a book of mad libs, coloring books, and a good book all make for good activities in the car or at a stop.
- For Your Ears - You’ll want something to listen to on long stretches of open highway. Collaborate on a playlist or have everyone bring along some music they enjoy. Some cars have a dedicated audio jack and you can easily get a cable to plug in your phone and use the car’s speakers. For older cars, there are cassette tape converters that allow you to do the same. There are also books on tape, and of course podcasts on every subject to listen to on the road!
- In Case of Emergency - Have a first aid kit in the car. If you’re staying in one place for any length of time, look up phone numbers & addresses of the nearest hospital and clinic. Keep a flashlight with extra batteries, some basic tools, flares, a spare tire, oil, jumper cables, and perhaps even rope, duct tape, and a knife in the car. Have your insurance information on you. Hide some extra cash somewhere separate from your wallet. A spare key to the car is also a good idea to ensure access to the most vital tool on the trip.
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