10 Things to Take on a Road Trip

things to take on a road trip

Road trips rule! They’re a little stressful, too – especially if you forget something important. If you want to save some trouble, check out these ten things to take on a road trip.

1. Cash

Debit and credit cards have built in security measures. If one of your purchases looks fishy, your bank might disable your card.

Embarrassing? Yup! But don’t get mad. Your bank is trying to protect you from fraud. Notify them before you go overseas or out-of-state. Take some cash just in case your cards stop working for some reason.

2. Camera

Snap some photos to share with your friends and family. Make a collage or photo album. The next time you feel down, you can look back at all the fun you had for a pick-me-up. Positive memories are the best. 🙂

3. Spare car key

Traveling with a friend? Give them a spare copy of your car key. Most people make time-sensitive plans when they travel. Having to wait for a locksmith could mess up your schedule.

4. Map and directions

Online directions can’t always be trusted. Street names and traffic patterns change. Be ready for the possibility that Google might not be up-to-date. Take an old-fashioned map (the kind you hold in your hands!) just in case you need it.

5. Reservation confirmations

Print out a confirmation for everything you booked: flights, hotel stays, tickets for concerts or sporting events, etc. Check, double-check, and triple-check to make sure you have it all. Put those confirmations inside an envelope. For extra organization, arrange them in the exact order you will use them. I may or may not be OCD. 😉

6. First aid/road emergency kit

Accidents happen. Be prepared. Don’t worry about buying items separately. AAA offers a roadside emergency kit that has everything you need. Hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but it’s good to be cautious. Knowing it’s there will give you peace of mind.

7. Seasonally appropriate clothes

Check the weather forecast before you pack. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find myself wishing I had a sweater. Bring a few outfits that can be layered just in case it is hotter or colder than you expected.

8. Healthy snacks and bottled water

Pack snacks that contain protein and fiber. Those nutrients provide you with steady energy (versus the “crash and burn” that follows sugary stuff).

9. Most recent insurance information

Make sure your auto insurance card is up-to-date (you should be getting a new copy every six months). For bonus points, put your registration and insurance card in an envelope at the top of your glove-box. The next time you get pulled over, you won’t be as nervous. 😉

10. Books, games, cards, toys, and other fun stuff

Traveling with kids? Bring toys. Otherwise, expect hours of, “Are we there yet?” Traveling with a baby? Bring an extra pacifier or two. Those disappear at the worst times! Traveling with friends? Bring a deck of cards. Take turns playing poker or blackjack in the back seat.

Talk to me.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments. If you found this post helpful, please share with your friends.


9 Ways to Make Long Drives More Comfortable

Image credit: Route 66 by Chuck Coker via Flickr

Image credit: Route 66 by Chuck Coker via Flickr

Traveling is tons of fun. Long drives? Not so much. Hopefully someone will figure out teleportation soon! Until then, here are nine ways to make long drives more comfortable (#7 sounds so obvious but no one does it!).

1. Use cruise control.

Cruise control saves money on gas. The more consistent your speed, the better your fuel economy. Just make sure to follow the speed limit so you don’t get a ticket!

2. Pack healthy snacks.

Sugar and fast food will make your stomach hurt. Protein and fiber will give you a steady flow of energy. Nuts, berries, bananas, apples, carrots, and yogurt are smart choices.

3. Drink plenty of water.

Dehydration can result in fatigue and a poor mood. Bring a travel bottle and fill it up every time you stop at a rest area. You will feel a lot better for it!

4. Stop every hour or two.

A lot of people brag about how quickly they can reach their destination (usually comes from men — maybe it’s a “tough guy” thing?). I’d rather take my time and enjoy the drive. There is nothing “fun” about pushing your bladder past its breaking point.

5. Get a good night’s sleep.

If you drive sleepy, then you might as well be drunk. I’m not being dramatic. Science says it’s true. It can be hard to fall asleep when you’re excited for a trip, but do your best. Turn off your phone, stay away from the computer, and unwind with a bubble bath or good book.

6. Don’t count on the radio.

It’s fun to check out radio stations in different states… but it gets old when you start hearing the same songs over and over again. Bring some CD’s or audiobooks to keep things interesting. If you’re traveling with friends or family, make a playlist together.

7. Check your seat position.

Play with the seat settings until you figure out what’s most comfortable. You should be able to see the road and rear-view mirrors without straining your neck. Your spine should be relatively straight. If you have achy joints, check out these tips.

8. Stretch anything that’s stiff.

If you’re traveling cross country, you’re going to get stiff at some point. That’s okay. You can work it out! Stop every hour or two. Take a walk. Do some push-ups. Play tag with your kids. You could pack a yoga mat and do a few poses on the grass. Have fun with it!

9. Wear your most comfy outfit.

Why should you dress to impress when you’re going to be in your car for most of the day? Wear pajamas or gym shorts or whatever makes you feel comfortable. You can change your clothes when you get to the hotel.

Talk to me.

How do you make long drives more comfortable? Tell us in the comments. Please share this post on Facebook so your friends can have better road trips, too. 🙂

6 Surprising Benefits of Traveling You Need to Know (#4 Is Great for Couples!)

benefits of traveling

Spending too much time in one place drives me crazy. There’s a big world out there to explore! Vacations are good for the soul. Don’t believe it? Check out these six surprising benefits of traveling (#4 can make a HUGE difference in your relationship!).

1. Take it easy.

It’s good to work hard, but everyone needs to chill sometimes.

Don’t feel bad. You deserve a break. Without a little rest and relaxation, you might get so exhausted that you start to hate your job. Know your limits. Take a vacation at least once or twice a year. Your productivity will be better for it (promise!). 

2. Meet new people.

Traveling is great for shy people. At home, it’s easy to stay to yourself. On the road, you’ll be forced to interact with strangers. Scared? Don’t be. You don’t have to impress anybody. Listening is better than speaking. Everyone has a story to tell. Appreciate little things like local accents and slang-words you’ve never heard.

3. See history in action.

Reading about the Civil War is one thing. Setting foot on a preserved battlefield is a whole other story. History might seem boring in a textbook. It’s a lot more interesting when you can see it in action. America has more historic landmarks than I can count. I’m a New Yorker, so the Statue of Liberty and St. Patrick’s Cathedral come to mind. Traveling soon? Here’s a list of historic landmarks by state.

4. Bond with loved ones.

Here’s a harsh truth for people in relationships. If you always do the same stuff with your partner, you will get bored with each other. You have a favorite food, but that doesn’t meant you want to eat it everyday (okay, chocolate is an exception, but you get the idea). In excess, anything can lose its appeal. Don’t be afraid of change. New challenges and experiences are a great way to bond with loved ones.

5. Discover who you are.

Maybe you don’t have a partner. That’s okay. Traveling alone is tons of fun. The best part? You can do whatever you want, because no one is there to argue! Solo trips can become spiritual when nature is involved. Check out some national parks and write a journal entry every day. I bet you will learn a lot about yourself.

6. Break out of your bubble.

Does every day feel the same? If so, you need to escape from your daily routine. Traveling doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Take a simple day-trip to a neighboring city. You’ll feel refreshed afterward.

talk to me

I’ve done enough talking. Your turn! Did these benefits of traveling give you a case of wanderlust? Tell me about your favorite trip ever in the comments. Click here to encourage your Facebook friends to hit the road. I bet they would benefit from a vacation, too. 🙂

Favorite Travel Games

When I was a kid, we used to play games in the car every time we traveled. Sometimes it was 20 Questions, sometimes it was I Spy, and at night we always played Padiddle! Even with all the electronics available to keep kids busy today, I still prefer to break into a mean round of the License Plate Game or Name That Tune.


What did you do to beat the boredom on the road this holiday weekend?

Road Trippin! – TIPS for Rental Cars

1Summer is officially here many of us will be hitting the open road with our families, and this means long, and often very cramped trips.

Rental cars can be just the thing to keep your dream vacation from turning into a bad reality show nightmare. But only if you plan properly and do a little homework

Here are some WAK TIPS to help you find the perfect ride for your summer road trip!

How old are you?
Most rental car agencies require a minimum age of 21, and some require the driver be at least 25. Check around to see what you qualify for.

Shop around.
Find a website that does the shopping for you and compares prices. Compare apples to apples, not Mini Coopers to Minivans! Car sizes, seating accommodations and amenities all affect the price. Make sure you are comparing similar makes/models and sizes, along with options like DVD players, unlimited miles, etc., to get an accurate comparison.

Book your trip early. A favorite summer hot spot or a city that hosts large conventions can limit your options severely because rental cars will sell out quickly.

Are you covered?
Call your insurance company to see what they cover on rental cars. Most will provide ample coverage so you won’t have to purchase the expensive rental car insurance. But always check first.

Be on the look-out for any catches..
Always ask about additional charges when you’re shopping around. You may have agreed to a particular price, but you didn’t factor in insurance, steep taxes, one way charges or off-site drop-off fees at airports and alternate locations. And DON’T fall for gimmicks like “we’ll fill the tank.” ALWAYS return your rental car with a full tank of gas.

Airport agencies are MORE expensive.
You’ll find local rental agencies have better rates than rental agencies located on or near the airports. This is because airport rates are higher than most because their locations include maximum charges to leave the airport.

Get your benefits.
Consider verifying if you are entitled to receiving discounts from a corporate rate, or with benefits from joining a roadside assistance program. Don’t be shy to ask if the agency has upgrades upon your arrival because they DO exist! If you’re planning to be a regular renter, think about joining a membership to receive special offers and reduce expenses. More bang for your buck, ladies!

The new Stingray is more expensive than the Sedan!
You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get. If you have your heart set on a sporty or high end car, you’ll pay high end rates. If you don’t plan on using extras like navigation or entertainment systems, let the agency know in advance so you don’t have to pay for them.

Price check!
The rental market is competitive and rates will fluctuate periodically. Check the day before your trip or a few days after you’ve made your reservation to see if there is a change in price. If the agency won’t honor the lower price, keep shopping!

At the agency…
Before you hit the road, take the car for a test drive. Check that everything inside and outside the car works properly.

Make sure the agency records any existing damage, dents or stains on the vehicle before you sign the contract. It’s a good idea to take a few of your own pictures for documentation as well.

Ask what the accident/damage policy is on the car just in case the other vacationers on the road aren’t as skilled at driving as you are. Find out what number to call and what steps to take to get the car fixed, towed or returned.

When all that is done – hit the road and be safe!

Mechanically yours,