The phrase “road trip” brings a lot of things to mind—excitement, adventure, and seeing new places in a unique way. Unfortunately, traveling long distances by car can also be stressful, especially if you have a family or group of friends with you.
Hitting the open road in your hybrid car rental should be freeing and exciting, not anxiety-inducing. Read on for the best road trip travel hacks we’ve gathered along the way.
Before you’re in the final stages of getting ready, utilize these hacks:
● Download apps that will be of assistance. Yelp will help you find good meals on the road, and FuelMyRoute will save you money on gas. If you’re going to be booking hotels along the way, many popular hotel sites have mobile apps that will come in handy. SitOrSquat will assist you with finding clean public restrooms.
● Put together an emergency car kit. The contents will depend upon the time of year and terrain you’ll be traversing, but it should always include a first aid kit, jumper cables, reflective warning triangles, a tire gauge, gloves, foam tire sealant, duct tape and emergency drinking water.
● Buy a five-port car charger to keep everyone’s phones charged. Between the GPS feature, music players and bored browsing, car trips can really drain a phone battery.
● Buy some old-fashioned maps. They might come in handy.
● Whether you’re driving from home or flying somewhere first, renting a vehicle for your trip will save you the wear and tear on your car and give you the chance to get behind the wheel of something nicer than you own. Plus, if you have more passengers joining you than your personal car can comfortably carry, you’ll save money by taking everyone in one vehicle. Browse Car Rental Express for car rental deals.
● Join AAA or make sure your car insurance covers roadside assistance.
● Even if you want to be as spontaneous as possible, it’s best to do some quick research on the spots you plan to visit. That will help you budget both your time and money since some cities will be more expensive than others. Talk to your group about any must-do activities or places on their lists.
● Buy everyone a nice reusable water bottle. You can save room in the car by filling them at the gas stations. If the gas station doesn’t offer free cold water, you can fill the bottle with ice, then hit the hot water in the coffee area.
When it’s time to get packed and organized, you’ll be glad you have the following:
● The laundry basket/ muffin tin hack. Place a muffin tray inside a laundry basket to use as a mega cup holder if you’ll have a big group of travelers.
● Prepare baggies of snacks: fruit, cheese and crackers, veggies, etc. You can keep them cool by investing in a portable cooler. This is a great way to save money on your food bill and stick to a healthy eating plan.
● Speaking of snacks, empty coffee creamer containers are perfect for storing dry snacks like nuts, cereal and trail mix.
● Hang over-the-door shoe organizers over the front seats of the vehicle. This will eliminate car clutter that always seems to accumulate on road trips.
● On the road, you may come across some tolls. Gather your loose change and store it in an old candy or mint container so you’ll always have it handy.
● Make some mixed CDs. You might not always be able to listen to music on your phone, and you never know when you’ll be in areas with no radio reception. Make CDs with some of everyone’s favorite tunes.
● If you’re traveling with young children, put together a backpack with activities they can do on the road. Don’t let them peek at it until you’ve left to add an element of surprise.
● Pack a Ziploc bag full of napkins and plastic utensils so you’re never caught without them.
● Use a binder clip and rubber band to create a DIY cell phone holder.
● If you have the space for it, pack your clothing and shoes in clear plastic totes and place them in the back or the trunk. This will make it easy to just grab what you need for the night. Loading and unloading the car every day will get extremely tiring.
● Keep a travel journal. Jot down your favorite memories from each day. You’ll be surprised how quickly the days all start to blend together.
Happy road tripping!