Welcome to the fourth post in the Domestic Travelers November Blog Series at Createyou86. Do you find it difficult to pick which items are absolute essentials for trips long or short? When i first started traveling at a young age with my parents i would pack everything, but the kitchen sink. However, as i have gotten older it has become more apparent to me what items are absolute essentials for longer trips. For our current trip these are our essentials.
1. Directions / A Map / Navigation
This might seem pretty obvious, but you need some way of knowing where you are going if you happen to get lost. Navigation doesn't always have the most up to date routes or road names. Most likely, a current map will. I always write directions down, and because we are going to four different destinations i will write down separate directions for each destination.
2. Food & Water
Again, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it isn't hard to forget to pack food, or snacks, or water. These items are all essentials. Not only to save you money not having to buy fast food, but maybe you get caught in a traffic jam, or maybe you break down. You will want to have food, and water available. When traveling cross-country you are going to come across many different terrains (desert, plains, mountains, etc.). Each terrain can provide different problems, and being prepared is your best bet.
We are talking about essentials here. Money, not only money you plan on using during your trip, but extra cash or money on a debit/credit card in-case anything should happen, or if you come upon tolls that you might not have been expecting.
4. Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is one of those things that you never expect to need, but from someone who doesn't know how to "pop a squat" (that's me), and who has absolutely been in a traffic jam that was miles long, and having to use the bathroom with no bathroom in sight (this was actually my sister, but i was driving the car). It is so simple to take a roll of toilet paper, and put it either in your trunk, or your glove compartment, and if you need it in an emergency you are set.
5. Emergency Kit
As i said in my first post an Emergency Kit is essential. What you chose to put in your personal kit can vary, but here are some of the things that i put in mine.
6. Phones & Chargers
Phones have become an essential in travel. Weather you are meeting someone somewhere, or you need it fornavigation purposes. You can now buy affordable chargers that can be pre-charged ahead of time, and stored until you need them. You can also get chargers that plug into your cars lighter. Either way some kind of charger is a good idea to have in the vehicle.
7. Appropriate Clothing
As said before knowing the climate of the area you will be traveling in is essential. If you are driving through the desert you aren't going to want to be wearing a hoodie or a sweater, unless of course you happen to be in the desert at night when it gets very very cool. On the flip side you want to be able to add layers should you come across an area that has recently had snow or it is raining which brings cooler temperatures as well.
This might seem like a repeat from the above, but the types of toiletries i am talking about are shampoo, conditioner, body wash, tooth brush, tooth paste, moisturizer of some type, and a face wash. Not only do women use these items, but men do as well (at least James does!) How many times have you been on a trip, and forgot one of these things only having to purchase more, and waste money? I used to do it a lot when i was little (my parents didn't pack my overnight bags for me). I now pack anything liquid based in gallon plastic bags to ensure that they stay sealed, and nothing else gets ruined if one pops open.
Traveling in the winter months can prove to be a challenge. Last year we heard about a group of people who were traveling, and were stranded in their car snowed in for a few days. In this type of a situation blankets are essential (along with your other emergency kit items). Body heat of any kind is essential. You don't want to run your car for too long (you will be wasting gas).
We hope that these simple travel essentials will help you prepare for your future trips. Having these items really helped us feel more prepared.
What is your travel essential? Something you can't travel without? Let us know in the comments below!