Road Trip Planning

My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary with a road trip.  Each year I do a little extra prep and planning to improve our comfort on long drives.  This year I really hit it out of the park so I wanted to share some ideas that worked well for us.  I would never call myself a light packer or a spontaneous last-minute traveler.  I like to take advantage of us having a car on a trip and packing a little extra to make it as comfy as possible.

Tips for any type of vacation

  • Master Packing List = For any vacation (plane, train, automobile), I start with a list of items which we want to bring.  I have a master list that I keep saved on my computer but each type of location is a little different.  For example, a tropical destination requires more sunscreen, aloe vera gel and wide brim hats.  I keep this list up to date and make notes for myself after the trip for things that worked out well.
  • Restaurants & Coffee Shops = Besides looking up basic directions, I find it helpful to look up places to eat near the hotel.  We like to not only eat relatively healthy on trips but we want to make sure that fighting crowds to get a table is a non-issue.  This is especially important if you are attending an event like a football game.  Besides the folks tailgating or driving in from home, there are thousands of folks who will be grabbing food prior to the game around the area.  I make reservations prior to our trip using OpenTable.  I also locate coffee shops and places to grab a quick sandwich and check their hours online.  I have found that in some downtown areas on the weekends, the food shops are either closed on certain days (like Sundays) or they have limited hours.  Which makes sense because that downtown area is targeted towards businesses open during the work week.
  • Travel Folder = Any trip there are hotel confirmation emails.  If you are traveling via plane, there would be trip info to print out for your airfare along with any transportaion on arrival or car rental info.  I like to print out all of the confirmation numbers for hotels/etc along with directions and restaurant reservations.  I add them to a folder and it is an easy way to grab the info instead of sorting through emails on our cell phones.  For any activity we are planning, I will research it as much as possible before we leave.  Side note = I have found there is a balance when planning activities on our trips.  You do not want to overbook your time but you also want to see as much as possible while you are there.  I narrow down a list of places that we really want to see and those that are optional based on our energy level.  It is always ironic to me that on vacations we do WAY more on a weekend than we would ever do while home.  After I figure out which places we want to see, I print out directions, hours they are open and certain top things to see.  For example we checked out a botanic garden on our last trip and they happened to have a virtual tour on their website.  I checked out which areas I did not want to miss like the bonsai trees and orchid room.  I also checked on parking availability.  I printed out the information and added it to our travel folder.

Road Trip Specific Items

  • Essential Oil Diffuser (ZAQ Tour) = I have gotten used to having my oils diffusing during the day at home.  I thought it would be nice to include some in the car as well as in the hotel room.  On any road trip you end up passing road construction or farm area that leaks odors into the car.  This diffuser kept the car smelling fresh and I found it to be relaxing as well.  The ZAQ Tour comes with both a plug for the cigarette lighter and one for a regular indoor outlet.  So when we arrived, I set it up in the hotel room with a lemon essential oil and it was fantastic.  The oils I used in the car included Worry Free by Plant Therapy and Citrus Bliss by doTerra which smells exactly like a Creamsicle (orange with vanilla).
  • Hand wipes (EO Essential Oil Lavender Hand Wipes) = After any rest stop or pumping gas, I like to have hand wipes to freshen up.  I actually keep these in my purse all the time.  I like the smell of these wipes and that they have organic alcohol along with essential oils so they are much better for your skin.  I am a big fan of other products they sell like their body wash and hand pump soap.
  • Music = We have Satellite radio in the car but there are times when they are stuck on commercials or there is just nothing good playing.  I like to pick some CDs or have a playlist read to go.  I know others have said audiobooks are their favorites to play on road trips too.
  • Snacks / Water = It never fails, we end up accidentally skipping the rest stops with the good restaurants like Panera.  I like to eat as healthy as possible on trips.  Not only for me to maintain a good way of eating, but also to make sure my stomach does not hurt from greasy fatty foods.  I packed apples, dried bananas, RX bars and nuts.  I am also very picky on the type of water I drink.  We even have a reverse osmosis water system installed in our kitchen, so yes, I take it seriously.  Plus we really just drink water (with lemon wedges added).  There is coffee in the morning and some nights have red wine but we do not consume any other soft or sport drinks.  So when traveling, I fill up and pack all of the stainless steel bottles we own and take them with us.  I also purchased VOSS glass water bottles and some packs of boxed water.  I avoid plastic water bottles, even if they say BPA free.
  • Small pillows = We take about 2 small pillows and one neck pillow on road trips.  It is nice to squish them around under elbows or behind your back.  I like the neck pillow I purchased from Amazon (Cabeau brand) because it is not a flimsy one with small beads inside.  Instead it is very supportive and firm.  I could rest my neck and relax as the co-pilot on our journey.
  • Socks or slippers = I like to kick off my shoes in the car and also on a plane.  I have a pair of thicker socks with me just for added comfort and warmth.  They are actually the same pair that I wear around the house.
  • Trash bag = Last but not least, I like to have a couple of plastic bags from stores ready for usage as a trash bag.  Keeping the car neat and tidy is a big part of a successful road trip.  By the time the hours and miles have passed and we finally reach the hotel.  I want to not show up with a hot mess of a vehicle.

Happy & Safe Travels!