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Road tripping essential. Undoubtedly and inarguably. So is a road-tripping checklist. Because, even seemingly abrupt take offs need some planning and organizing. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a place you shouldn’t be in, depending on people you shouldn’t depend on, doing the extra work you shouldn’t be doing. So, for the sake of sanity- both, yours and those within your field of vision, we have put together a checklist- not just any checklist- a hands on, all-inclusive checklist that will help you transform that impenetrable pile on your floor or in your head into an ingenious master plan of a road trip.

To make matters easier, let’s divide the checklist into three sections:

(N.B: All wordplay intended.)

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Essentials

The first and obviously, the most important part of your list; you CANNOT imagine a road trip without having this in place well in advance, even in your imagination! The essentials’ list essentially covers the following essentials:

  • Water, non-perishable food and toiletries (Survival and hygiene, first!).
  • Clothes. More importantly, lightweight clothes. And towels, some blankets and protective clothing (winter and rain gear).
  • An atlas and a GPS, because scrambling all over a hand-drawn map might make you feel like Indiana Jones, but the reality is quite shattering.
  • A list of important and emergency phone numbers. This should include numbers of emergency contacts, hospital, hotel, police station, vehicle repairers and towing company. Because, at any point during the road trip if something unforeseen arises, these are the first few numbers you reflexively reach out to.
  • Driving license and necessary documents. Because where there is road tripping, there is driving, and where there is driving, there is going to be a license and proper documentation needed. You want adventures, not misadventures, least of all, legal ones.
  • Safety and emergency gear. This is as important as important can get, and includes, spare keys, first aid box, spare cash, a fully function cellphone and charger, fire extinguisher, flashlight, Swiss knife etc.
  • A fully serviced, fixed and oiled vehicle. Remember to have this sorted well ahead of your trip and keep a check on it regularly.

Comfort

We know that a road trip isn’t ideally synonymous with comfort, but below is a list of things that helps you get you the closest to it.

  • A small portable cooler or a heater (depending on the temperature of the place you’re travelling to)
  • A pair of comfort footwear, because those long rides in the car can definitely make your closed shoes give your feet some major hell.
  • A set of clothes suitable for the various climates you may experience at various points along the journey.
  • Some pillows; they most definitely make sleeping in the car a lot better!
  • On board entertainment. Hey, there’s only so much time you can spend gawking and drooling at the landscapes. Eventually, co-travellers and you are going to need some entertainment to loosen up a bit.
  • Toilet paper, because one does not simply trust the restrooms to be a minute away.
  • Barf bags; you never when carsickness gets to someone.

Miscellaneous

Lazy afternoon

Some things you can live without. But every now and then, there comes a moment when you think, “I wish I had this with me right now”. Not exactly essential, not exactly luxurious, but this list definitely makes the deal a whole lot sweeter.

  • Wet wipes; they’re convenient, highly effective, and water, space and time saving too!
  • A camera. Now, you wouldn’t think of taking off for an awesome trip, without wanting to save any solid memories of it, would you?
  • A mini-trashcan or some trash bags; please don’t even think of having a road trip at the environment’s expense, or turn your car into a trashcan, or ruin the landscape for other travellers.
  • Some good music. Because, if life is like a movie, then every awesome scene requires some awesome music!
  • A road trip journal. Why? You never know, you might do or experience something that has the potential to be fodder for modern folklore. DO NOT tell us, you don’t want a legacy of your adventures to be left behind, to inspire your future generations!

In addition, always remember to carry things that serve multiple purposes, and always SHARE! That’s the essence and beauty of road trips.

All said and done, a lot of people will have a lot of things to say as soon as you utter the words “Road trip”. Remember, when it comes to travel (of any civilian form), there are no hard and fast rules, no ten commandments set in stone, just guidelines and some sound advice to let your road trip be exactly what it’s supposed to be- liberating. Carpe Diem!

Chris Brown is a businessman and runs a car towing service in Perth. Apart from his professional commitments he also likes blogging and is a regular gym visitor.