Long car trips aren’t fun, but pringles are. The right snacks, technology, and accessories make a fifteen hour drive go by quick.
Like most Americans, I grew up going to my grandparents house for Christmas. Unlike, most my grandparents live about fourteen hours away. Yet, every year and sometimes twice a year my family took the long car trip ride from North Carolina to Indiana. Usually I only get to see them once a year at Christmas, but this summer I got the chance to see my Nana for a second time this year. While I wish my Nana didn’t live 930 miles away, she is worth the 13-15 hour drive. The drive is long, but with the proper entertainment and preparation it goes by quickly. There is nothing worse than being bored in the car with nothing to do for the next eight hours. This car trip packing list is the essentials that keep me comfy when I am in the car long hours.
I hate to admit it, but I know I am not functional without my coffee in the morning. Before I leave on a road trip I have my travel mug in hand. My travel mug just so happens to be in the shape of a camera lens so don’t mistake it for my Canon 24-105mm.
A perfect playlist
The music makes the car ride. It provides a dare I say it, vibe. The night before I leave for a road trip I make sure I have my playlists downloaded and ready to go. Usually listening to music is the only thing I have to entertain myself when it is my turn to drive.
Road trip snacks
A car trip packing list is not complete without snacks. When I am on the road I like food I can munch on while at the wheel or navigating. Popcorn is my go-to road trip snack, because often times it is lower calories for several handfuls. When it comes to drinks I need to be able to sip easily when driving. La Croix is of course, my drink of choice.
You never know when you are going to have a spill so I always keep an extra stash of napkins in my car’s console. They have come in handy so many times when I accidentally spill that early morning coffee on myself.
If you drove the morning shift and need and afternoon nap its hard to sleep with the sun right in your eyes. If I bring an eye mask I can zonk out in a matter of minutes. Who are we kidding through I never take the morning drive shift.
The sun can make it hard to see the road or other cars. I am constantly squinting and it makes the ride downright uncomfortable. Having a pair of sunglasses ready to slide over my eyelids at any moment is a must.
Car phone charger
We do not live in a generation of paper road maps anymore and Google maps takes a lot of battery power. There is nothing worse than your phone dying and your directions dying along with it. When this happens I find a nearby gas station and purchase a phone charger, but avoid the hassle and bring a couple with you.
Hands free phone mount
When navigating on your phone you have to glance at your phone to see the directions. Having your phone in your lap can be dangerous. A hands-free phone mount is essential for keeping safe on the road, especially if you are driving by yourself.
Although I am young my back and neck get sore sitting for so long in the car. Having a pillow will make the trip more comfortable, not to mention they enhance the car napping experience.
Soft blanket for napping
Speaking of car naps I almost always have an extra blanket in my car for napping purposes.Sleeping in the car is the best way to make the time go by quicker, as long as you aren’t the driver. I have trouble napping in the car without a blanket. They make everything one hundred times cozier, even if it is a hot outside I crank up the air in the car.
Not all gas stations and rest stops are fully stocked with soap. GROSS! Especially due to Covid I do not want to go all day with dirty hands so I keep hand sanitizer with me at all times and minimize my stops as much as possible.
A good read + a journal
On a good day I won’t get car sick and reading is my favorite pastime, other than sleeping of course. I always bring a lighthearted book, something that will distract me from the lengthy trip ahead. Of course, as a travel writer I always have a journal with me, ready for inspiration to strike at any moment.
If you didn’t know you could download movies on the Netflix app, well now you know. I love to download funny shows like The Office, Parks & Rec, or comedy specials on Netflix.
Don’t let the long hours intimidate you. If car trip packing list your trip will go by so quickly. I like to think car rides are like public speaking, the more you do it the better and more comfortable you become. Keep on driving.