Global pandemic or not, the summer, fall and spring make for a great time to get in the car and get the heck out of dodge. The possibilities for road trips remain truly endless and freeing. Take a page from the authors of the beat generation or one of Steinbeck’s many novels. Jack Kerouac said it best when he wrote:
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”Jack Kerouac
That being said, it’s tempting to just get in the car and go. But a little planning goes a long way, and there are certainly some items to remember before our interstate daydreams become commonplace. Keep reading for some items we deem to be road trip essentials:
1. Polarized sunglasses
Long days on the road, especially those behind the wheel, require more eye protection than we think. The great American West is scattered with open skies and grand expanses (often at altitude) which strains our eyes more than just walking the streets surrounded by high rises and buildings. Polarized sunglasses are a crucial road trip essential, whether in the car or at the destination.
2. A cooler
Sure, COVID has changed the way we interact with interstate rest stops and gas station bathrooms. However, the reality is that a little forethought into sustenance on the road can save money and time! A solid cooler packed with simple sandwich supplies, snacks, and drinks will make inevitable road trip hunger less of a task when it comes time to dine.
The soundtrack of the road should never be overlooked. While some choose to listen to talk radio, audio books, and spoken word, there is an underrated greatness in hearing the first few chords of a favorite song while watching the world pass by at 65 mph. Music that triggers memory and nostalgia are best for the long days when going, coming, and leaving all start to intertwine as one. Check out our Spotify playlists, we bet at least one will become a personal road trip essential.
4. A pillow
Because life on the road can go on, and on, and on. Sometimes days and nights start to blur. Maybe a friend didn’t answer their phone or the hotel has no vacancy. While we don’t want to necessarily encourage sleeping in your car on the side of the road, sometimes there’s not always a choice. Whether resting your head in the Outback Suites or the Tacoma Inn, our cars can often make for a much-needed roof over our heads after a long day of adventure.
5. An open mind
Very rarely do road trips go according to plan. Breakdowns, roadside attractions, traffic, weather, and a new way of thinking often skew even the most well thought out routes and adventures. Going into a road trip with a flexible attitude and a willingness to see—not just pass through—turns time in the car into an experience, a story, and hopefully a memory.
One more Kerouac quote seems like a fitting way to end:
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”Jack kerouac
Happy travels, near and far.