Monday, January 7, 2013

ROAD TRIP 101: Top Ten Items

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do such a big focus on the road trip on this blog was because I struggled to find good blogs about road trips before I left. There were a couple, but they were patchy, lacking detail, and would generally drop off half way through (something that I can completely understand - managing this blog on a daily basis while on the road was a big job, and very time consuming).

So that's why I've tried to be as comprehensive, and informative as possible - which I guess can make for a boring read for those with no interest in road tripping, but shame, just skip those ones. If you include yourself in that group, you might want to skip this one too, but I do feel this stuff is necessary.

So here are my top ten items to take on a road trip:

1. A Car
Obvs. Wanna rent? And you're not an American? Use and save a lot of money. S.E.R.I.O.U.S.L.Y

Great things to note while you're renting/buying? Air-con, cruise control, radio, audio input jack, spare tyre and full tyre changing kit. This stuff is important to make your journey more pleasant. And it is all about the journey right?

2. A GPS
Also kinda obvious. This place is big. And has lots of twisty roads. Don't fool yourself.

3. A Cooler Bag
And really great things to put in it. Like lots of water, a couple of bottles of wine, and jelly babies. We also chucked tons of salt&pepper sachets, serviettes, plastic glasses and cutlery in there. Organised.

4. A 3G/4G Card.
This is America, there is wi-fi everywhere. Even the most unexpected tiny hole-in-the-wall bar in-the-middle-of-nowhere has a website. But you need to have 3G in the car, on a device to do research as you drive to find that tiny hole-in-the-wall bar in-the-middle-of-nowhere.

5. A Travel Companion
To do said research. Don't drive and research. It's dangerous.
Also good for taking over the driving when you're falling asleep behind the wheel. Way important.

6. A Local Phone
Once said research is done, you're gonna want to make reservations - hotels, restaurants, shows. There's a lot of people in America, this stuff books up fast. Don't think you can get away with just rocking up. If you're coming from overseas make sure you're phone is unlocked by your local service provider before you leave. We used AT&T, who had pretty good coverage across America, except in the Grand Canyon and Death Valley (which are kind of the most important places to have good coverage, in case of a break down), so always check coverage with the provider before you sign up.

7. Plastic Bags
Maybe a little random, but entirely useful - for rubbish, wet clothes, extra carrying etc etc.

8. In-Car Entertainment
You're going to spend a lot of time in the car, so you might as well make it fun. Music, audio books, puzzle and crossword books, as well as your favourite form of technology is great for this. We also found out about the licence plate game just as we began our journey. It basically involves spotting, and keeping a log of, all the States of America licence plates. The far off and small ones can be particularly tricky (like Hawaii and Rhode Island), but it's a fun game for the driver and car occupants. Big hint: the Grand Canyon is the best place to go to round up this game. Everyone visits the Grand Canyon it would seem.

9. Cash
Quickest and easiest way to get through tolls is to pay cash. And as I've mentioned previously, everyone wants a tip. Carry cash.

10. Wet Wipes
All that food, all that dirt, all that life-happening-in-a-car, and wet wipes will save the day. They always do.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog, and in this post are purely that - views and opinions. What worked for us may not work for you, this is just the knowledge we gained along the way.

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