13 November 2015

USA Road Trip | 6 Road Trip Essentials

As I've lived in the UK all my life, I struggled to think about what we might need for our Roadtrip through deserts, mountains and cities. In Britain you're never too far from a petrol station, a village or a service station. You might not want Little Chef for dinner but you won't risk going hungry. In old blighty you most probably have no risk of getting third degree burns just from walking in the midday sun and altitude isn't really an issue for our little island given that the highest peak (Ben Nevis in Scotland) stands at only 1,344m.
LA to Las Vegas panorama
I remember distinctly the first big drive from LA to Las Vegas. We saw a turn off for gas (and presumably toilets) but didn't get our act together in time and bottled it. By the time we'd gone 30 mins down the road we still hadn't seen anywhere else to wee, so we had to pull over at a deserted gas station (very shifty) and picnic wee in full sight of the traffic. It just didn't occur to us that it was now or in 2 hours time. 

Put it this way... hopefully you can be a little more prepared for your road trip than us!

1. A cool box

This was the best purchase we made the whole trip. Each time we left off we filled up our dozen or so water bottles, bought a bag of ice and filled the box to the brim.
Watch out for the height of the box (needs to fit bottles) and I would always recommend going bigger than you expect, as the ice will soon fill it up.

2. Music on your phone & in-car charger

Important for sanity and safety. We were actually surprised to find out that phone signal was very sparse on some journeys (yes, a lot worse that the UK), but it's still reassuring to know that your phone may be a help - even if that's just for its compass and some good tunes!

3. Entertaining Reads

You might think that music and the sights will get you through the long drives, but truth be told you're going to want a little more variety, especially for the driver. We bought a magazine called 'Women Who Kill' which was like a cross between Hello magazine and NCSI! I would read it to Josh while he was driving - the short gripping articles interspersed the journey perfectly.

4. Snacks

This goes without saying really, but aim for some healthy snacks too; we liked carrot batons, nuts and bagels for lunches. This will help you resist the many millions of drive thrus... except starbucks. Frappucinos in the heat are inevitable.

5. Sunglasses

Don't strain your eyes!
Sunglasses off for the photo... obvs

6. Maps

Pick up maps from a wide variety of places such as: from the rental company when you pick up the car; promo maps and leaflets; inside national park newspapers; and on your iPhone/tablet/laptop! 

The most useful map we used was one from a national park welcome newspaper, which displayed just the highways and the national parks. I also PDFed directions on my laptop before we left for each new destination.

It's reassuring to have lots of maps because like I said before, you can't count on phone signal as a fall back to reroute!

What would you take on your road trip? I'd love to know what I've missed.
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