It’s summer, the sun is shining and the open road is calling. There’s something pretty special about taking out a wrinkled old map and planning your road trip routes, overnight stays and must-see locations.
But, there’s plenty more you need to think about when you’re packing the boot of the car, especially if this is your first road trip or you’re travelling with children. Read on to discover all the things you need to bring on your next adventure.
Road trip essentials for the modern traveller
1. There’s an app for that
If you have a smartphone there is a smorgasbord of useful apps available to you. The one every road reveller should have is Google Maps – with GPS tracking and up-to-date road network information you’ll never take a wrong turn again. Depending on which country you’re travelling in, download apps to help you find a place to stay (HostelWorld is a good bet for cheap and cheerful budget accommodation on the move) and to keep an eye on the weather forecast (Weather+ works internationally so you can chase the sunshine and avoid the stormy weather).
Not forgetting there are plenty of game apps available that will help keep the kids occupied too.
2. Don’t ditch the diet
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you have to eat at a roadside fast-food diner every meal. Try to eat as healthily as possible as this will not only help you keep in shape, but also be more alert on the road. Shop in grocery stores or fresh-food open-air markets you pass by in your travels (bringing a cooler box could be useful to keep some fruit and veg fresh too). Most hostels and camping sites will have some sort of cooking area and what better excuse to fire up a BBQ in the evening? Another thing to think about is caffeine; it might become your worst enemy on a road trip.
Although you want to stay alert when driving, craving caffeine and suffering from an energy slump could really ruin the mood of your journey. Instead, try to share the driving and drink natural fruit juices and take plenty of breaks along the way. You might want to consider investing in a portable oxygen can for the journey. You can read more about these here but put simply, they have oxygen-enriched air inside that can help energise and focus the mind in a few breaths without you having to resort to a double espresso on the side of the motorway.
3. Keep the kids occupied
Travelling with children is never easy, but during a long car journey, you are bound to get a few moments of boredom and crankiness from both teens and toddlers. Plan ahead and try to have as many activities and distractions available on standby for them. Take along your laptop or tablet for those seemingly endless stretches of road – but don’t forget the electric power converter.
These handy little gadgets plug into the cigarette lighter and turn the power from the car’s battery into electricity to charge most small electronic devices like your laptop, eReader, mobile phone, iPad and even your electric toothbrush. An audiobook is another great way to pass the time for the little ones in the backseat – pick out their favourite book and let them re-live the tale on the open road.