There is nothing quite like the feeling of setting out in your car on an epic road trip, the back seat piled with bags, blankets and snacks, Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way” playing in the background, and your favourite travel buddy sitting beside you. Whether we’re exploring somewhere completely new and having to learn the rules of the road in a different country, or just going on a short weekend break closer to home, road trips are one of my favourite ways to travel. Being able to stop wherever and whenever we want, having no obligations or time limits, and just enjoying the freedom of an open road.
Our great American adventure is only a day off now (eeek!!), and while we may not have actually been on our American road trip yet, we have been on a fair few in the past, from roadtrippin’ South Africa’s scenic Garden Route to driving around the pretty Cotswolds.
So these are my 10 essentials that are needed for a great road trip, with a few that will give us those extra American feels as we’re cruising along Route 66.
♥ A vehicle
Obviously the most important aspect of a road trip and one that I always choose carefully. For road trips at home we simply use our own car but when we hire a vehicle abroad we want something that we’ll love and that fits with the style of the trip.
We’ll be in a classic American Chevrolet as we drive down Route 66 to the Grand Canyon, and for our road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, even though a convertible would have been pretty special too, we’ve gone for a super cool and colourful campervan from Escape Campervans. Sleeping in the camper overnight in Yosemite sounded too fun an experience to miss out on!
♥ Travel apps
Triposo is my favourite app for travelling – ideal for finding a city’s sights, places of interest and great food stops. There’s also a map which can be used offline which has been a lifesaver in the past when we’ve found ourselves completely lost with no phone signal.
Another useful app is one like Gas Buddy or Fuelzee which mark out the nearest and cheapest gas stations nearby. Handy for filling up before entering national parks where the price will be much higher.
♥ Road trip album
It’s not a proper American road trip until you’re cruising down Route 66 singing along to some classic American songs.
♥ Old school route map
We usually rely on our trusty iPhones on road trips at home but being abroad and in places like Yosemite and Big Sur where phone signal isn’t guaranteed, the handy old paper map will be making an appearance for the first time in years. Although it’s so big when unfolded that we might not actually be able to see through the windscreen.
♥ Portable travel charger
While the drive from London to Cornwall may seem like a huge distance to us, in America, a 5 hour road trip seems to be perfectly normal. We’ll be driving over some long distances so I’ve made sure we’re prepared with a couple of portable travel chargers which means I can give phones, cameras and tablets a quick boost on the road if needed. So there’ll be no fear of missing out on an awesome photo opportunity or sharing said awesome photo with you on Instagram!
♥ Travel pillow
Because while Mr Ayla is driving, I’ll be napping.
♥ Toiletries and cosmetics
Essentials for all travels but for road trips I always like to keep these within easy reach rather than zipped away in my case in the back of the car. Because you never know when you might need a quick coat of lipstick when you stumble across Taylor Kitsch/Ryan Reynolds/Johnny Depp/any other appropriately beautiful movie star who may happen be in Hollywood!
My lovely traveller wash bag and cosmetics bag from Victoria Green do the job perfectly. They keep everything nice and organised, fold away compactly to use when travelling and, most importantly, they’re super cute!
♥ A notebook
Full of things to see and places to stop off at along the way. A notebook is also handy for the blogger in me to jot down ideas to write about when we’re home.
Our campervan really does come with the kitchen sink so we’ll have some fun cooking up some meals on the go in our kitchenette. I’m sure we’ll also get peckish when driving for long periods of time so snacks are a necessity as well as a bottle of wine – not for while we’re driving of course but for when we’re camped at night and watching the sun set somewhere beautiful.
We just have to make sure we remember to lock all the food away from the bears when we get to Yosemite!
And last but not least…
♥ A sense of adventure
Because no road trip is complete without one!
Have you been on an American road trip? What else would you include in my essentials list? Let me know in the comments below or at: