I have been taking road trips literally all of my life. From Mississippi to Dallas, Mississippi to New Orleans. Dallas to Houston to Memphis to Orlando and back to Dallas. Chicago to Washington State to Memphis to Mississippi to Chicago. Chicago to West Virginia to New York to Chicago, New York to Maine and way too many shorter trips to mention.
When I am road tripping alone, I set myself up to experience the elements of the trip to the fullest extent. Though these five elements may not be your cup of roadside coffee, it is my hope that some of them may fit into your plans.
Good Ear Candy - This can be music, podcasts, audio books. I always have an assortment of all of the above. And podcasts and audio books must be a combination of fiction and non-fiction. I find the non-fiction is best listened to early in the day, because later in the day, the lack of drama makes me groggy. Plus, listening to a good mystery podcast or a Stephen King novel as the sun is dipping behind the mountains definitely keeps one focused.
Journal - I make a journal entry every time I stop, noting location and what the purpose is of my stop - sightseeing, eating, sleeping. I take pictures which will be date stamped and correspond easily to my stop. I also note things I've seen on the way to that stop and things that I may have heard on the radio or podcast or audio book I am listening to. I also note thoughts that I may have had since the last stop. It is much easier to recall the previous 100 miles than an entire 1000 mile trip after it is over.
Road food - I keep an ice chest in the car stocked with sodas and water. Cheaper to buy by the case before the trip than individually while on the trip. It also gives you drinks when you get to a motel that doesn't have a working vending machine. Same story with food. I go to Costco and buy a variety of snacks - a huge container of mixed nuts, Slim Jim's, granola bars, individual chip assortments and candy bars. And before you send me emails busting on me for promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, these are just suggestions. These are my select road foods. Feel free to stock up on whatever pulls your Airstream.
Chicago post cards - I keep these to give to people I meet along the trip. I jot a quick note and my contact information in the back. I find this is much easier than hunting for a receipt or candy wrapper to to write on with the hood of your car acting as a writing desk. The further you get from the location on the post cards, the more fascinated people are with the picture on the front.
Sleep Application - Falling asleep in a different type of bed every night after a long day on the road, can be difficult. A few of the apps I like are Calm, Sleep, Pzizz and Sleep Sounds White Noise. A little white noise, rain, ocean waves, music or guided meditation will usually put me under.
Those are my five "must have's" for my road trip. I would strongly recommend you create your own list. But, think ahead. Envision every hour of the trip as you would like to see it unfold. What do you have with you on this imagined trip. If you don't have your imagined items readily available, you have some shopping and/or gathering to do. Shopping ahead of time insures what you need will be in stock. You can also take advantage of sales to purchase music, audio books, snacks, postcards or whatever you may need.
Contact me and let me know what you always take on your road trips. I am always open to suggestions.
Happy, safe and healthy travels.