Hello, friends. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Mine involved a lot of running around, being on my feet, and road-tripping back and forth to Denison, a small town in the Texoma area, about an hour away from where I live. I am honored to have been asked to participate in Turo’s (formerly known as RelayRides) Road Trip Essentials Campaign (https://turo.com/), so this weekend of road trips really could not have come at a better time.
I love road trips. Ever since I was little and my family would drive down to San Antonio every summer, road trips have been my absolute favorite way to travel. Sure, flying is fast and efficient, but nothing compares to watching the world pass by outside your window. The trees, the buildings, the clouds, and the highway road signs are all integral parts of what makes road trips worthwhile experiences. Nothing, not even soaring through the sky, compares to the freedom of the open road. So, without further ado, I present my compilation of Road Trip Essentials.
Good music is almost as essential to a good road trip as the road itself. Some driver and passengers get by just listening to the radio, but I’ve never trusted popular music stations to play the music that really makes a long drive what it should be. A good road trip mix, for me, consists of classic rock, alternative 90s, and maybe a power ballad or two.
Don’t get me wrong, driving alone can be great, enlightening, and liberating, but road trips are always more fun with a companion. That way, you can take turns driving, you have someone to talk to, someone to share snacks with, and someone to navigate while you try to figure out where in the world you’re supposed to turn to make it to the next state.
Some of the best memories are made on the road, so I always like keeping a journal or a notebook close by to jot down instances or funny moments along the way. The road is also a great place for new ideas or revelations. As a writer, road trips have always been very inspirational to me. The right combination of road, memories, and music can do wonders for the mind. In fact, it was on a road trip just a few years back that I came up with the idea for a new series. I am currently working on the first book in that series now.
You never know what you might encounter on the open road, so it’s best to be prepared for anything. Cameras are a great way to capture the world around you, and keep those moments with you. My camera goes everywhere I go, especially to new and exciting places.
A Rest Stop
I don’t know about you, but I love rest stops. Once or twice on every road trip, someone needs to stand up, stretch their legs, re-fuel the car, etc. These rest stops are usually gas stations or small diners along the road, but my favorites are the ones with snacks and small souvenir shops. I started collecting post cards on a high school band trip to Orlando, and I haven’t stopped. I have postcards from Louisiana, California, New Jersey, Florida, all the way to Scotland. I also love having access to all the snacks I could ever hope to eat. On the road, you eat what you can get, so no one will care if you want to eat an entire package of beef jerky with an entire bag of Cheetos for lunch. If you ask me, it’s the best kind of lunch there is!
This, I guess, falls into the previous essential. Snacks and drinks are vital to an enjoyable road trip. You have a long drive ahead of you. You’re going to want to stay fed and hydrated. I personally prefer water, but I know a lot of friends who just have to have their sodas and energy drinks if they’re going to be traveling. What I don’t consume in carbonated drinks, however, I make up for in chocolate.
Road trips can be chilly, especially if the person you’re with is a little warmer in nature than you. I tend to fall into the cold-natured group, so naturally, I never travel without a jacket or a blanket. I think being cold-natured is something of an evolutionary adaptation that comes from living in Texas.
A Sunrise or A Sunset
For me, no road trip is complete without a beautiful sky. Most of the road trips I take now begin before the sun rises, but several in my past have gone on well into the night. My favorite road trip I’ve ever taken was a ninth grade band trip to Midland, a small town to the west. I remember listening to “Good Riddance” by Green Day and driving directly into the setting sun. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life, simply because, at that moment, everything seemed right. Watching the sun rise or set from a new perspective is my absolute favorite part of any road trip, even more so than the destination itself.
You may have noticed I left out the essential Good Book. I believe books are vital to any trip, especially for longs nights in hotel rooms. Traveling, however, I can never seem to focus on reading. Blasphemy, I know. But I love to watch the world outside, to live in the moment, and to concentrate on the adventure. While reading is an adventure in and of itself, I never get a lot of it done on the road.
Happy traveling, friends!