Call it coincidence. One of my friend posts her pictures on Facebook of her three week road trip around North India; another friend starts her weekend road trip to Rameshwaram, while I sit and generally glance information about Turo company’s services (from USA) over the internet.
All this transported me back to the time, where I took several road trips with my spouse. Most of them were decided on the spur of the moment. Packing happened in a tizzy. Things flew into the bag in the order it came to mind! Now with two little kids, such last minute planning is a strict no, no! I thought why not put together a list of things that are a must for me?
Traveling by road is fun, provided, you have taken enough efforts to put in your car, all essentials that you might require during the road journey. Else, the experience might turn into, well! ..a nightmare!
Here are the top 10 things; I ensure is a part of my road kit. This is, after you ensure that your car is serviced and is in ship shape; your car tank is full, your documents are in place, the bucket seat is cleaned up for collecting more mess and that you have the basic kit to fix say, a flat tire!
1. Music: I can’t imagine any trip without music! I need a good playlist. So, much before the trip, I load my USB stick with the kind of music I would want to listen to. Mostly, it’s peppy, upbeat or romantic. Choose your pick!
2. Camera: Yes, this comes before snacks. I have to have my Nikon Camera with me while traveling. Am I good photographer? Well, who cares? I like capturing moments and creating stories. And I love reliving them as and when I please.
3. Snacks and drinking water: Forget my two little ones. I get hungry, while on road! Err I get hungry on a train journey too and…well forget it! …..Packing your favourite snacks are a must while traveling. Water – Father of all essentials. Carry it! Small tetra packs of juice and chocolates are a must for me and my kids.
4. Talking about the little ones – I carry everything extra when it comes to them. Extra clothes, extra diaper, nail clipper, socks, napkins and most important something to keep them engaged. If you do not want to be pounded with “have we reached?” question every ten minutes then take the “keeping them engaged” part seriously. My older one loves to draw and colour; so colours, pencils and drawing sheets are her companion; while for the younger one, its toys. We also play games like “I spy with my eye” while on the road.
5. A pen and a scribbling pad: If I need to blog, I need to make notes. If I forget to carry them, then notepad on my phone is useful. The same phone becomes my GPS navigator, if the need arise. You do not want your phone going dead on you. So, do not forget to carry your phone charger!
6. First aid Kit: Apart from the prescribed medicines, I normally carry the general medicines for headache, fever, cold, allergy, motion sickness etc. I also throw in few band aids, an antiseptic cream and lozenges.
7. Some miscellaneous items: Good to have a comforter in the car to snuggle up in, especially on long drives. A cap and sunglass if you decide to stop the car and step out in the sun; a hand towel, a pack of wet wipes; lip balm, small bottle of moisturising lotion (last two items are an absolute must if you are tripping on the mountains); a pocket knife. The experience of cutting those fresh fruits – watermelons / apples/pineapples etc. while on the move and munching on along the drive is amazing. So yes, carry that pocket knife. Once you are done eating, those wet wipes will help you clean off the juicy mess of our face / car bonnet etc.
8. Cash: I feel at ease, if I have some cash on hand for pit-stop snack break / shopping and otherwise. You can never be sure of the availability of an ATM when needed. At some places you might need small change to pay road tax/toll. So, always keep some cash handy!
9. Trash bags – Littering is strict no. If you are in a country where you get fined for littering; then you don’t need a reminder but for the rest, collect trash in bags and dump it when you find a community trash bin. That’s what we do.
10. A list of important phone numbers on a piece of paper. This is, in any case of any kind of emergency. Stash that sheet somewhere in your bag.
Your list might be totally different from mine. Pack what works for you. These days, I start collecting everyt little item I think I will need few days before a trip. I make some room in my wardrobe where all these items go or sometime just throw them in my suitcase. When the time for final packing comes, I already have all my things in place. All I need to do is pack properly. Call it being organised or OCD… it works for me and helps me keep sane before I set out!