Tis the season. Especially this year.
Nothing is worse than feeling unprepared for a long road trip. And with road trips on the rise everywhere now that people are looking for safe ways to get out of the house, the road promises to be more crowded. Whether your road trip consists of going on a day trip to a state park, a weekend family trip to grandma’s, or a week-long adventure to see a brand new part of the country, make it comfortable, safe, and fun. Here are a few road trip hacks that will take the stress off you and make your ride so much better before you even get behind the wheel.
Navigation Road Trip Hacks
If you prefer to plan out your road trip route ahead of time, the Google Maps app is a great way to explore worthwhile stops. You can drop pins at restaurants, cool sights, or campgrounds so that you never have to worry about hunting down an essential in the middle of your trip.
Also, if you’re driving where cell service is in and out, and your car doesn’t have navigation, download a mobile-friendly map app that requires no WiFi or cell service, like the Sygic app before the trip, so you’ll never get lost. Google Maps has a route download option as well.
I might be old fashioned, but I’ve used Mapquest on my computer for years and sometimes still do, but they now have an app that I love just as much! It’s called MapQuest GPS Navigation & Maps. And there’s no shame in keeping a paper map in your glovebox too, just in case.
Prepare for Safety In Any Situation
A car emergency kit must carry all the essentials: bottled water, granola bars or other high-energy snacks, first aid supplies, a foldable shovel, road flares, jumper cables, a flashlight, antifreeze, oil, duct tape, you name it. Nowadays, it never hurts to pack an atlas and a phone charger with a portable battery pack.
In the colder months, you’re going to want to pack a cozy blanket, a hat, gloves, a window scraper, and hand warmers. If you’ll be somewhere where you can get stuck, a bag of sand or non-clumping cat litter can do wonders for finding grip on slippery surfaces.
I keep an organizer in the back of my car with everything I need for each season. So when each season rolls around, I change my kit to add the necessary appropriate gear. Having an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times will make any potential break down that much more comfortable.
Organize Your Car
Using car organizers are timesavers to any road tripper. When you have everything in one place, you’ll know right where to reach or to tell the kids where something is stored. I like and use the full line by High Road, and my favorite is the organizer for the front seat. I can use it when I’m driving solo and when my son is riding in the back. The organizer swivels around so he can reach things in it, too. It’s the perfect organizer for us.
Organizers are great for anyone, but especially for those with kids of all ages. Who wouldn’t want to provide their kiddos with all the supplies they could ever need to entertain themselves?
Related: Is Your Car Road Trip Ready? Easy Checks Anyone Can Do – and What a Mechanic Should Look at – Before You Hit the Road
Packing For Your Road Trips
When it comes to prepping for a road trip, packing the car with everybody’s luggage, food items, and necessities has to be the most stressful of all. Remind the family that they only get one small suitcase and to fill every inch of it up – and that means in every corner and crevice they can. My momma used to tell me to think about what I needed to pack and slash it in half. She was right.
Soft-sided suitcases can make life a little easier, since they can be squished to fit into any available space. Vacuum-sealed bags can also be a good idea for any soft items that you know you won’t need right away, like emergency blankets.
Road Trip Snack Hacks
Make-ahead meals for your road trip is probably the smartest thing to do, not to mention a time and money saver. And, you can reduce your risk of Covid infection by avoiding restaurants and convenience stores. Having meals and plenty of snacks on hand will give you one more reason to avoid the siren song of fast-food chains. I use an insulated organizer from High Roads that sits in the backseat all the time. I put bottles of water and chocolate snacks in it to have them readily available. To save space, you can freeze some water bottles ahead of time. They’ll keep your snacks cool, and you’ll have something to drink when they melt.
Having a kid who loves anything stringy, I always make sure I pack gummies or red licorice so he won’t ask me for any when I stop to get gas. It’s much cheaper to buy snacks at the grocery store ahead of time. Having a little something for each person in the car will make life so much simpler for everyone.
Let Everyone Get Comfortable
A neck pillow is a must for long road trips. I prefer to bring my own pillow and so does my son. But if you have a large family and a not-so-big car, then a neck pillow for each family member will work for long-term comfort. If you can, find ways to make those comfort items serve a double purpose. For example, if you’ll be camping, a rolled-up sleeping bag can make for a nice pillow.
Just thinking about preparing for road trips can be stressful, so why not take some load off of your shoulders and let the family in on the prepping part? The more they help, the easier you’ll make the trip on yourself. And, remember, a clean car is a happy car, which will make your road trip all the better!