They are calling 2020 the year of the road trip — and we aren’t complaining!
We just took a last-minute summer getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via road trip (100% inspired by this post HERE) and it was the BEST decision we made on this side of Corona.
With COVID restrictions still happening across the United States, I know we are all itching for any sort of adventure and utilizing old school road trips to do so.
Regardless if you want to spend a week in a luxury RV or want to hit the open road with no plans and a tent (does that sound SO thrilling to anyone else?!), there are a few essentials that will just make life on the road easier.
Of course, you should start by packing your car with the true essentials — driver’s license, registration, sunglasses, a killer playlist (a must), water, and of course snacks. But after that, there are apps and tools to keep ready in your car to maximize your road trip for ease and FUN!
Keep an eye on your engine health with this monitor and its real-time alerts. It uses predictive technology to identify any potential issues with your car. Just plug it into your car’s OBD port to ensure you have a safe and fun road trip.
I don’t know about you, but there’s no greater feeling than reading a map while traveling down an open road. While we all have the world at our fingertips thanks to smartphones, sometimes following along on a paper map just adds to your road trip journey. We love large scale version is easy to read and features every state’s map, 350 enlarged city insets, and National Park maps.
Sometimes you just need to pull over and call it a night — this inflatable back seat mattress helps you do just that. With an electric pump, within 2-3 minutes you can transform the backseat of your car into a flat comfortable surface to catch some z’s.
Whether you need a quick fix for a spill or need something to dry off with after a spontaneous dip, a fast-drying towel is a must-have for your road trip. It’s lightweight and ultra-compact so it won’t take up too much space in your car, but has fast-drying capabilities that absorbs 5 times its weight
All the apps in the world can’t beat good old-fashioned memory keeping.
While you can pack this list full of practical items for road trips, there are some things necessary for travel memory keeping as well. Spend your days on the road capturing and writing down your favorite memories, itineraries, and keeping mementos beautifully.
Nothing is worse than an unexpected flat when you’re trying to get somewhere. Jumpstart your car up to 20 times with this dual jump starter and battery charger. Use the USB ports to plug in any phones or tablets for a quick charge.
You never know when you’ll need a first aid kit. This compact portable version will have you covered for any minor incidents. It includes gauze, band-aids, Neosporin, Tylenol, an instant cold pack, cleansing wipes, and gloves so you’ll be set for whatever mishap comes your way.
Resources and Tools
It’s easy to see why this is the #1 rated app for camping — it’s a mobile-friendly tool that helps you craft the perfect adventure so you can have a successful road trip. It has the largest reviewed collection of campgrounds ranging from free campsites to RV resorts to National Parks. (See our ultimate National Park Resource HERE– all the parks open on this side of COVID and what to do once you get there!)
They make it even easier with a downloadable map feature to find campsites on the go if you’re driving through any places with spotty reception.
Unless you’re road tripping with an RV or camper, you’re going to need to find places to rest along the way. Search by state and filter for what kind of camping location you prefer. In populous areas, people often leave helpful reviews and pictures so you know what to expect — if you’re road-tripping on a tight budget, this is the app for you.
To easily seek out the cheapest gas prices along your route, download gas buddy for your next road trip. It allows you to save the maximum amount of money so you can continue on the easiest route and work within a budget. Just type in your starting point and destination and it will calculate the quickest route with all the money-saving stops throughout. It includes a trip cost calculator, a directory of local gas prices, and even an accurate estimate of gas budget for your current make and model.
Really the only app you need as far as mapping out your trip….because what’s a road trip without a detour and the fun stops?!
Roadtrippers helps you discover the most incredible people, places, and experiences worth a detour. It even has a feature that allows you to share and collaborate with friends. There is also live traffic updates and offline maps, which we found crazy helpful as we made our way into the Smoky Mountains.
Are you ready to head out on the road trip of a lifetime, but you’re just missing the vehicle part? Outdoorsy is the tool for you. Just enter your dates, your location, and the site aggregates vans, campers, and RVs to rent. On the other hand, if you have a camper or RV just sitting around you can easily list it and make some money when you’re not using it.
Heading out on a road trip with a group of friends? Splitwise is an easy tool to keep track of a trip’s expenses and divvy budget between your friends. Add any accommodations, rentals, food, and any other spending into the app and it acts as a running tab to split things easily. This is the number one thing I have downloaded for any type of adventure with a group of people so it doesn’t cause a headache at the end of the trip when they ask, “So what do I owe you?”.
To Pass the Time
Hands down our favorite road trip entertainment is audio books, kids or not. Without fail, we are sucked into a story and before we know it 5 hours have been ticked off that 15hour journey!
The Libby app is our favorite audiobook source because it’s free! Libby, by Overdrive, is run through the public libraries, so you can check out as many audio books as your heart desires without paying a dime. Just make sure to download them prior to hitting the road so if you don’t have a hotspot there will be zero interruptions.
….a version you can play with the kids around. Would you Rather is one of our favorite go-to games whether with babes in tow or not. If you’re feeling low on the creativity, we low this app to jump start some fun questions to get some conversation started on the road.
Would you rather wear a snow suit in the desert or a bathing suit in Antartica? Would you rather lose your hands or your feet? So much fun and sure to bring the laughs and pass some time!
If you’ve got little ones in tow, stay tuned for our Road Trip Essentials with KIDS post coming soon!
Is there something you can’t live without when you’re heading out on a road trip? Let us know in the comments below!