Thanksgiving is usually one of the biggest travel weeks of the years, so before you get on the road, I thought I’d share some of my travel essentials that get me through the stress and boredom of long car rides. If you are traveling home by air, you can check out my Carry On Essentials HERE.
I carry everything in my over-sized tote bag – I need something pretty big and durable for all of my bits and bobs. This Rebecca Minkoff tote is like a slightly edgier Longchamp. To keep things organized in a big bag, Flight 001’s Seat Pak is a must have. It’s super sleek with tons of pockets for all your little items.
Inside the tote bag, I keep it versatile and include a small crossbody for throwing on in case we stop to explore. When I drive to visit my family in Chicago, there isn’t much exploring to be done, just gas stations and corn fields. When I moved from LA to St. Louis, however, there was SO much to stop and see in Nevada, California, and Utah. This little bag is perfect for your phone, wallet and keys, so you can nimbly explore and leave your massive bag in the trunk.
For guidance, advice and entertainment, I always load up my phone with awesome apps. I did a round up of my favorite road trip apps on THIS POST. I also recommend packing paper towels. I have been victim to many a Starbucks spill in my day and have learned my lesson re: having clean up tools on hand. Additionally, you should stash some wet wipes. Three words: gas station bathrooms. I’ll be disinfecting every surface.
For safety, I think every female driver should bring a flashlight and mace (pink, of course). Stopping at night can feel sketchy and you never know when you’ll have to pull over in the dark, so these add some extra security. Last, bring a hard copy map. You can’t predict if your phone might die or you’ll be in an area with bad phone service.
Stash some comfortable shoes like these Nikes for aforementioned exploring. I’m a huge flip flop fan, but was thankful I had sneakers on me when we stopped in Zion National Park. Also toss in some snuggly socks or slippers for when you’re back in the car. My feet get so cold in the car, so I always need something warm and cuddly when I sleep. Wildfox makes some super soft, oversized knits to also protect from any cranked up AC. For an even better night’s rest, I pack an eye mask or large sunglasses (these from Le Specs are so colorful and fun) to block out any light or sunshine. Yes, I’m a diva.
Overnight eye cream, serum and moisturizer are musts to stay hydrated. Cars, like airplanes, are extremely drying with all that air con, heating and recycled air. These travel sizes (they’re from collecting samples at Sephora over the years) are perfect and will keep your skin from freaking out.
Dry shampoo and concealer are great to freshen up at your final destination. Hopefully, if you’re driving through the night you can just crash in bed when you arrive, but you never know if you’ll have to hit the ground running or run into a really hot hotel attendant.
To keep you and your car smelling humane, be sure to grab some deodorant and dryer sheets. A considerate travel companion is a great travel companion.
ENTERTAIN & PRESERVE
Since I love writing, I make sure to pack a travel journal to keep track of my adventures. I always think I’m going to remember names of restaurants, people we met, or funny anecdotes, but I always end up forgetting! I’m pledging to write more down for posterity and future nostalgia. I love this travel journal from SS Print Shop. A moleskine is durable, portable and works well too.
A road trip is the perfect opportunity to pack an old-fashion camera, especially an instant one. I love polaroids, and being on the road can provide some awesome, quirky subjects perfect for instant film.
When I travel by plane I usually rely on Real Housewives reruns or books to keep me entertained. I still love these entertainment mediums during car rides, but they sometimes can make me a bit carsick and are tough on my eyes at night. So, I’m sure to prepare something to listen to and rely on music, podcasts or audiobooks to get me through a long road trip. Some of my favorite podcasts are Serial, Freakonomics, The Economist (nerdy, but so informative), and Stuff You Missed In History Class.
Last, but not least, you should definitely bring a good attitude. This is cheesy, but trips of any sort are what you make of them. Yes, you’re trapped in a small space with the same people for hours at end, but you can also have a great time full of laughs and future memories. Just stay positive, be prepared, and find ways to make your drive time more amusing.
Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!
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