Top 10 Road Trip Hacks
Before hitting the road, check out these genius tips to stay organized, save money and get the most out of your adventure.
Photo By: Chutima chaochaiya
Photo By: Ramil Gibadullin
Photo By: Steve Tague
Make a Plan
You can still be spontaneous, but making an itinerary will help you budget your time. Keep in mind, too, that a lot of small town mom and pop businesses don't keep traditional hours; call ahead to make sure the anticipated stops on your visit are open. Share your travel plans (but for safety's sake, not the dates of travel, be general about when and how you are traveling) with your social media outlets to get suggestions of under-the-radar places you won't find in the guide books.
My Blue Highway
If you’re going to road trip take the blue roads, the tiny highways that connect us with true American culture. For example, Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens is located 30 minutes off of I-75 in Summerville, Ga., which you’ll miss if you stick to the freeway with its outlet malls and chain restaurants. Small towns are rich with local art, tall tales and home cooking, the places where unique memories are made.
Photo: Flickr, J. Stephen Conn, Creative Commons
Pack a first aid kit. You probably have a lot of the items already in your medicine cabinet, but you’ll want to pack smaller quantities. We like Resqme’s prepareme all-in-one preparedness kits that’ll not only take care of scraped knee, but also comes with a window-smashing and seatbelt cutting device. For advice on making your own car safety kit, watch this DIY Network video.
Keep it Clean
A clean and organized car won’t get you there faster, but you will be happier. Line cup holders with silicone baking cups to catch crumbs and spills. A clothespin doused in a few drops of fragrance attached to your vent makes an instant air freshener.
Puppy on Board
Many of us choose regular unleaded over jet fuel so we can vacation with our four-legged friends. But your pet needs access to food and water, proper walks and ventilation. In hot weather, never, ever leave your pet in the car. Some open-air malls and many Home Depots are dog friendly. Pre-measure food and store in Ziploc bags and keep a collapsible water bowl in the car at all times. Ruffwear offers a wide selection of items with the doggie-centric traveler in mind including this reusable food tote that is easily flattened.
Sure there are greasy spoons and convenience stores at almost every freeway exit, but loading up on foods you don't regularly eat can cause severe stomach upset meaning more public restroom pit stops. Pack healthy snacks that are dry and easy to hold in plastic containers before the trip. Astronauts (really) swear by 100%FOOD from Space Nutrients Station. Mixed with water, milk or juice, one bottle packs more daily goodness than a vegetable plate and fewer calories than those tempting Krispy Kremes.
Sure you’ve got a car charger, maybe even one with a splitter, but we’re betting that something else loses its juice along the way. Invest in a gadget that harnesses the sun to charge your devices like the WakaWaka or rechargeable batteries that have less of a chance of going in the landfill.
Necessities on Top
Pack your essentials, like toiletries and one quick clothing change, in a dedicated and waterproof tote that’s easy to grab. Spills, wardrobe malfunctions, general griminess and makeup disasters can be quickly remedied if every family member keeps their own easily accessed clean-up kit on hand.
Organize the Boot
Pack heavier items, like coolers, at the bottom of your trunk. Make sure that essentials and emergency equipment is easy to reach and that everything has a dedicated case. That way should you have a flat while on the road everything is easily removed.
A toiletries organizer hung on the back of a seat creates an instant catchall for stowing loose items that often get dropped between the seats. Take a photograph to keep on your smartphone for a quick and easy reference. Retake once an item is depleted and you've got an instant shopping list at your fingertips.