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After having been on a giant 3 week road trip around the entire island of Iceland last May, driving multiple times up the coast for soccer tournaments,  going on various solo trips up and down the east coast last summer, and my most recent cross-country trip from D.C. to San Diego in August, I can shamelessly say I have a pretty great list of essentials you’d need for a road trip – or at least that I definitely can’t live without:

roadtrip-essentials

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1 | Smart Car Charger – GAME CHANGER. For those of you who only use the USB plug that your car already comes with…nononono. Those take no joke, about 15x longer. I did not know this until I was in my mom’s car with 50% battery and drove 15 minutes and my phone was around 85-90%. Magic I tell you.

2 | Aux cord – This really doesn’t need an explanation, right? Road trips and music are pretty much a package deal so having an aux cord is an unspoken necessity.

3 | Download your playlists before hitting the road – Maybe this serves only to the Spotify users out there BUT it will save you from pauses in the middle of streaming songs when you’re driving through the middle of nowhere. Plus if you’re trying to save data, then you can go on Airplane mode and still have music available to you!

4 | Roadtrippers App – Discovered this little gem (which is also available to use on your computer) before heading off on my cross-country road trip in August. Basically, you plug in your destination and the app will give you various points of interest depending on what you’d like to see along the way. This includes: historical sites, parks, hotels, famous landmarks, you name it. And you can bookmark/save them ahead of time for when you really want to plan out your trip in detail.

5 | Yelp App – Basic but so so helpful. Plus, depending on the place, if you check in you can get a free drink/discount/save a little money. Perfect for those on a budget.

6 | Waze App – Another basic that you might already have, but again, extremely helpful. Amazing for when you need to know upcoming traffic, cops ahead, and especially for hearing about incidents that haven’t been reported on regular map apps.

7 | Weather Channel App – Not the weather app that comes with your iPhone, but the actual Weather Channel app. You can see radars of cloud movement/rain/wind, future forecasts, and it is 10 times more reliable than the basic iPhone weather app.

8 | Snacks – Top 3 most important tip I have for you. Some of my goto’s are turkey slices, apples, carrots + hummus,  and popcorn. Also, lollipops are amazing (and very underrated). They’re my personal favorite for keeping your mouth busy and that occasional sweet tooth happy when gum isn’t doing it. Snacks will save you lots of $$ and because you packed them, you know you won’t be disappointed when you get hangry.

9 | Gum – And I’m talkin’ like packs on packs of gum. If you’re traveling with people especially, then go for the excessive amounts of gum route cause you know how that goes…

10 | Mini cooler + Ziplock Baggies – Cooler to put the snacks/cold drinks in. And ziplock bags to fill with ice to keep everything cool. When the ice melts, refill them with some ice from the soda fountain inside a 7Eleven or someplace similar.

11| Water – actually this is the most important I think. Bring 1 to 2 huge giant refillable water bottles and you’re set. Just cause you’re sitting for a few hours doesn’t mean you can forget to stay hydrated!

12 | Sunscreen – I have this fear as of lately about wrinkles + sunspots + aging in general, and I can remember getting burnt multiple times on my neck and chest while driving during those hours right before sunset when the sun is riiighht in that sweet spot where you just can’t hide from it. Side-note: Growing up I NEVER wore sunscreen because of the sh*t they put into the stuff, so I blame my fear of being in the sun too much now on the fact that I never really protect myself from it when I was younger. I even joked to my mom about buying driving gloves to avoid hand wrinkles the other day (she laughed…then I did, too). Sooo now I lather that good sunscreen all over those vulnerable areas. Or I just wear more protective clothing. This all sounds psycho but you need to think longterm!!