Whenever you tell people that you’re driving from Texas to Canada, the overwhelming reaction tends to be eye bulges and disbelief.
Yet the fact remains, I am a part of a road-tripping family. Growing up, we had a little pop-up trailer, and we took that sucker everywhere. KOAs were our biznitch. I can roast a wiener like a champ.
Not only did we camp all over the southern United States, we also road-tripped it to Canada almost every summer. I know, it’s nuts. But we’d often go for an extended period, a month or more, so it made sense to have our own car. Dad would rig up a TV/VCR combo for my Disney loving ways, Kasey would coma it in the back, only breaching consciousness for pee breaks and meal times, and Caleb would listen to tapes or CDs and ignore his pesky sisters. Honestly, these are some of the happiest memories of my life. Family, beautiful scenery, Gardetto's, and gummy worms.
My mom and I are currently undertaking the trek once again. She’s heading up there for a month, and I’ll be there for two weeks. My dad is coming up later. I wish I could adequately convey my love for Canada. It’s like you cross the border and the whole world slows down. The salty breeze prickles your skin, the air is crisp and fresh, and everything seems to fall into place. It’s the lake days of my childhood, melty ice cream cones on the boardwalk. In two more days, I’ll be there. Hallelujah.
But, many hours of driving are still in front of us. And in order to make it the best road trip possible, we had to come adequately prepared. So, what’s in our bag (car) of tricks?
Let’s find out.
1. A Badass Mixtape (playlist)
Singing at the top of your lungs really makes those hours tick by. Flail those arms, hit those high notes, BE A STAR. Many a mile has flown past the window as I’ve thought, “Damn, nailed that note.” Here’s some tunes heatin’ up my playlist today. (F-off making fun of my Disney song too).
2. Proper Road Trip Snacks
You must bring snacks to get you through the mind-numbing hours of outstretched highways. Also, if you have snacks in the car, you won’t be forced to stop as often and slam CrunchWrap Supremes at every TacoBell along the route. We’ve got a nice mixture of healthy and yummy. Dark chocolate, pretzels, fruit, popcorn, cheese and crackers (soft-sided cooler), and Hot Tamales. Because Hot Tamales are life.
This is a double-edged sword. You want to be comfortable, but you also don’t want to be an asshole and slip into a two-day coma, leaving the driver alone with their thoughts. Just to clear things up, I tend to be the asshole in this scenario.
4. Directions & a Plan
This is pretty self-explanatory, unless you’re super cool and adventurous and get in your car with no plan in mind. That sounds fun, except I’m more of the mindset of avoiding getting kidnapped at rest stops. Whatever your idea, though, have a backup. Use Google Maps and Apple Maps. Write down your directions. I recently watched a 20/20 where a college student was driving to the Grand Canyon and Google Maps took her into the middle of the dessert where she ran out of gas and was stranded for five days. Aint nobody wanna be hot and sticky in the middle of the dessert living off their body fat. Actually… sounds like the perfect bikini body diet.
-You could be a weirdo like me and blog on the road. Or bring your laptop and work. Or just clickety-clack to pass the time.
-Bring a journal and fun pens and write down the coolest things you see. Like the world’s biggest hay bale, or rocking chair, or how you won a free t-shirt for eating a 50oz steak. Also, hopes and dreams.
-Obviously, I’m a huge fan of reading, so bring a book. Unless reading in the car makes you upchuck, in which case, see my next idea.
6. Pod-casts and/or Audiobooks
I love listening to books on tape (Audible). They definitely make the time pass. If you’re wanting something different than a book, check out podcasts. Has anyone else noticed that podcasts seem to be the new thing? Right now, I am listening to S-Town (from the producers of Serial & This American Life). It is INSANE. And so, so good. There’s a conversation in one of the episodes where the words “gooch skin” are used. It has turned into my sister and I’s favorite greeting for one another. “Hey gooch skin, how’s it goin?” We’re weird.
This is just smart business. Jumper cables, flares (ooh, fun), triangle thingys so people don’t wack you with their car, other things I don’t know how to use. Makes me feel better having some tools at my disposal.
The farther away we get from the cement jungle of Dallas, the more beautiful the scenery gets. Also, world’s biggest ____. If you didn’t document it, and Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Tumblr, J Date it, it didn’t happen. Filtered AF, y’all.
9. Cash money
Before you leave, call your credit/debit card company and let them know that’s you buying Big Gulps every 300 miles and not some toolbag that ran off with your hard-earned money. Also, get some cash just to be on the safe side.
10. Dry Shampoo
If you’re driving straight through and not stopping at hotels (or you dislike showering-I get it), dry shampoo will help turn those oily locks into voluptuous, “clean”, car hair. Probably throw in some deodorant too.
**Find InStyle Magazines link to a ranking of dry shampoos here.
There ya have it! What are your road trip essentials?
Until next time,