I sleep better on planes and in cars than in my own bed.
I believe this stems from the many hours I spent staring out of the window of my family’s red SUV while we drove as many as fifteen hours to Ocean City, New Jersey (From Chicago). It should have only taken twelve hours, but my brothers could never control their bladders or stomachs. I can still picture the small television we had in back of our car and I can practically feel that back seat car sick feeling I got from watching it. That’s why I always stared out the window. As long as this trips were, I loved them. I miss them and the time I spent with my family.
I find myself going on road trips less and less often, but now I am about to take a road trip that will not be followed by another one just one or two weeks later. My mom and I are leaving at five AM to drive to OC, then we will drive another 1.5 hours to drive me to school a few days later.
I think that after all of these years of road tripping, I have picked up a few tips. I am no expert, but I am gonna share them anyway. Although no parents probably read this, I picked up a few things from my parents to make the ride smoother for the young ones and drivers.
- NEVER pack stuff on top of the car. I will never forget hearing our roof storage zoom off our car and tumble onto the highway on our way home from Nebraska (another one of my family’s 6 hour+ road trip destinations).
- Do not bother with suitcases if you do not have to. Baskets and bags stack better. I may find this helpful only because my trips are usually to family houses where I could unpack and use the baskets for dividing laundry, but if that is also your case than this will really help.
- Keep snacks easily assessable. Maybe even leave someone in charge of them. My family’s car had captain seats (with no seat in the middle) so we kept ours between them.
- If there is ever a time to overpack, this would be it. You don’t have to worry about luggage weight and you never know when you”ll get stuck in the middle of nowhere. 😝
- Bring pillows. Or a fluffy blanket. Make it really feel like your just at home.
- Entertainment is key. I prefer music over movies, but if technology is not an option then games are always fun while the sun is up. Classics like the license plate and alphabet games are great–the first time. If music is your thing, then make a playlist! Avoid those rainy day tunes and throw in some fun #tbt tunes.
- Keep a trash bag. It’ll keep the unpacking easier and it just makes you feel more civilized while you basically live from your car for a day.
- Do not discuss anything serious. Awkward moments might become hours if the wrong things is brought up.
- Car air freshers are life savers.
Looking back a lot of these things may be common knowledge, but at least its all in one place! Some of these things can be applied to a plane (hence the travel essential part of the title), so I hope everyone can use some of these tips and make the most of their travels.
When I think of having my own family, I imagine going on road trips just like my family did. It’s probably a good thing I do not remember the bad parts, except the time I threw up at a truck stop. I guess I’ll find out then how fool proof my own advice is. Before then I’ll use these tips as I travel the world, which I am probably the most excited about. Road trips on the left side of the road or in the desert. Oh the possibilities.
Please share any other tips and tricks you have!