Jul 16, 2016

Road Trip Essentials


[My stay and this post come to you c/o TownePlace Suites by Marriott. While there are sponsor links throughout, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the businesses that support this blog!]

 D and I truly are no strangers to road trips (we've driven the 10+ hour route from FL to NC too many time to count), but this cross-country move was definitely the longest and most tedious one we've ever endured together. Maybe because I was 30-ish weeks pregnant, maybe because our car was loaded down with an extra 900 lbs...probably both. After logging in over 3,100 miles on the road from Central Florida to Northern California, I feel like I learned a thing a two about road tripping...most notably, the things you need to take/do in order NOT to kill yourself and any of your travel partners along the way. HINT: you may still want to kill yourself and/or your travel partner at varying points in your trip...but not because of boredom. Road tripping is just plain HARD sometimes. You're a liar if you say it's not. I may or may not still be delirious from our journey...jury's still out on that one. 


Tasty Snacks - You've got your gummie bears, your pistachios, your granola bars...those are just a few of our favorite travel treats (and local roadside fresh fruit stand scores, too!). But whatever you choose, try and have a good mix of healthy and non-healthy items, just to keep it interesting. Also, bring a small cooler with bottled water and drinks for the kiddos (if you've got them in tow), so you won't have to keep dolling out $3 at every gas station you stop at. Just replenish your cooler every morning with free ice from your hotel and boom, you're back on the road!

Camera - Don't just rely on your your iPhone for road trip pictures...grab your DSLR and keep it on the dashboard. You never known what gorgeous scenery you'll see just outside your windshield! Our drive through Colorado had me snapping photos and recording Snapchats the entire way. You may only do one big road trip in life, so be sure to document it all. Side note: I also recorded a handful of beautiful miles via our GoPro sitting up on the dashboard...and took a few dozen films with my Instax Mini, just for some unique ways to capture the experience. If you have either of those, bring 'em along as well!


Comfy Beds - Some days while on the road, the only thing I look forward to at the end of the day is a clean, quiet room where I can safely lay my tired head. Towneplace Suites has been our saving grace this particular road trip. We stayed at various ones across the USA (Savannah, Atlanta, Nashville, to name a few) and spent 10 consecutive nights at one here in California before we moved into our new home. As extended stay hotels go...Towneplace Suites is the best (especially where military families are concerned---military discounts available)! FREE hot breakfast & coffee each day, FREE wifi, spacious rooms with kitchens and large bathrooms and closets for storage, fitness centers, pool, BONUS...they're pet friendly! Plus, they're always located in great areas close to loads of local attractions and dining options. As a military family, we've stayed in LOTS of hotels while in transit to new bases, but Towneplace Suites continues to rein supreme for those long stretches of displacement. 

UPDATE: Towneplace Suites just began their partnership with Weber Grill! Starting today, the extended-stay hotel brand will roll out new high-end Weber stainless steel Summit® Gas Grills at more than 100 hotels across the U.S. and Canada.


"Barbeque enthusiasts staying at TownePlace Suites hotels can beef up their stay with unlimited access to new premium grills, tools, spices and seasoning in the outdoor patio area. Inventive recipes inspired by TownePlace Suites' In a Pinch market and created by Weber Grill Master Kevin Kolman can be downloaded from TownePlaceSuites.com. Available recipes include All American Steakburgers, corn on the cob with basil-Parmesan butter, and more. All guests need to do is B.Y.O.M. (bring your own meat)!"

Good Tunes - Good music changes everything. It's critical to keep you from losing your mind while on the road, especially when conversation wanes and you just want to zone out a bit. We had our iPhones full of songs we loved, but we blew through all of those the first 2 days of driving. When we hit dead spots in radio reception or areas where only 3 stations were available and they were all country music, we were thankful we also had Sirius XM Radio. D got a 2 month free trial and boom, our music woes were solved! 90s on 9 was my personal favorite, but we also got a lot of mileage out of 80s on 8, Pop2k, Z100 and Y2Kountry.


Comfy Clothes - Seems like an obvious recommendation, but I saw so many road-tripping gals wearing wedges and strapless dresses. IS THAT COMFORTABLE? WHO ARE YOU GOING TO VISIT? There is literally no one I was trying to impress at the Tennessee Visitors Center or the 7-11. NO ONE. So, I opted for my most favorite maternity shorts, tanks, and slip on sandals. But if your eggo's not preggo...choose breathable, flexible pieces that are easily packed and cute, yet comfy for the long haul. And don't forget those sunnies!

Road Trip Toiletries - Chapstick, Wet Wipes, hand lotion, tissues, oil blotters for your face, and a hair brush...just a few things I had in the glove box ready to go when it was time to get out of the car and face human beings. Going through multiple climates and elevations, my skin got so dry, so the chapstick and lotion were godsends. The wet wipes were useful for sticky hands and for nasty rest area bathrooms {shudder}.

GPS - Self explanatory. While getting lost can be fun, it can also delay your trip and add extra hours of unnecessary headaches. I love a good old fashioned paper map (and having an atlas on hand is quite fun to look at from time to time), but a GPS will be the most efficient way to get from here to there. 


Safety Gadgets - Spare tires, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlights, a screwdriver...you clearly don't want to have a reason to use them, but better not pull out of the driveway without them. Murphy will find you! Just my two cents. ;)

Sun Visor - If you travel the open road in the dead hot of summer, make sure to have one of those nifty reflective sun visors to put in your front windshield when you're not in the car. We drove through the "American Heatwave of 2016" and thank our lucky stars we had that thing! Plus, it's a nice little deterrent for looky-loos if you decide not to lug your whole life into your hotel room at night.


Pillow, Blanket, and Windex (yes, Windex) - If your driver is a sweet one and doesn't mind the quiet, it's always nice to catch a few zzz's in the passenger's seat. I, for one, almost never sleep in the car (I feel like I might miss something and want to keep D awake, for safety reasons), but I did bring a pillow for my bum and to support my back for those long segments of driving. As for the Windex...you can't take pretty photos out your windshield if it's covered with bugs, now can you? One small bottle and a few paper towels go a long way in keeping your car looking fly...less.

Cash - Keep a couple bucks or coins on hand for grabbing extra snacks or for paying any tolls you may run into while on the road. 

Anything else you'd add to this essentials list? Shout it out!
Happy road tripping!

6 comments:

  1. Are you in California yet?? So excited to see you!! xoxo

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  2. Great tips! We roadtrip ALL the time (or so it feels) to see family and friends... I'm a huge fan of comfy clothes in the car and definitely gummy bears! :)

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  3. So many pretty pictures! We drove from Denver to Salt Lake City and back a few years ago. Dan took some great shots and even some short video footage with the GoPro.

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  4. I'm a big time road tripper, too, but usually my copilot is my little pup, so I include a doggie first aid kit, comfort items for her, extra towels, and I also bring a cooler with sandwich fixings so I can cut down on lunch costs. An ice block can last for ever and ever in the cooler compared to cubes!

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  5. I totally agree that these things are essential for every traveller. I think that every person who travels agrees that tasty snacks are "must have №1". Thank you for the interesting article!
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