Friday, March 20, 2015

My Top 5 Road Trip Essentials

By: Lisa Ng

I'm big into road trips.

I've driven from Toronto to California twice on Route 66 and back to Toronto through Colorado. A few of my other favourite trips have been to the East Coast all the way to PEI and then down to Washington, DC. I was also fortunate to drive Highway 1 along California's gorgeous coastline.

I've learned a couple things from all these road trips, so here are my Top 5 Road Trip Essentials:

1) An Updated GPS - I know what you're all thinking. Why do I need a GPS when I have an iPhone? Well, if you're planning a road trip throught the United States - loading Google maps will use up a TON of data, which doesn't come cheap if you're roaming outside of Canada. Spend $150 on a good GPS, make sure the maps are updated and you'll save in the long run on your cellphone bill.

2) A Gourmet Snack Bag - I never leave on a road trip with a gourmet picnic, a cooler full of cold drinks and a bag or box of gourmet snacks. My road trip snack essentials include two big 1 litre bottles of water - you'll want to stay hydrated in the car. 

I also bring something fizzy like a natural soda or something sweet like coconut water. Because road meals are not always the healthiest I may pack something easy like turkey vegetable apps to keep us going on the road. 

My other snack essentials include a big trip to Whole Foods and loading up on KIND bars, apple slices, grapes, mixed nuts, dried mango slices, terra chips, salsa & chips and hummus and vegetables. You never know where hunger will attack and where in the middle of nowhere you will be.

3) A Well-Curated Playlist - Just when you think you've loaded up enough music - you will run out of music! I think I only loaded about 6 hours on my iPhone during a THREE week road trip across Route 66. So get deep into your iTunes and start making playlists that have a road trip theme or fit with your destination. Start loading whole albums onto your phone.

If you're using a streaming service, download any playlists that you can listen to offline. Trust me, you don't want to be streaming while you're roaming! I brought my laptop with me so I was able to update my playlists as I went.

If you run out of music - we had a hilarious time use the scan button on the radio to find cool local stations to listen to. But good music is a must!

4) Pre-Picked Restaurants - It definitely pays to pick out your restaurants and rest stops ahead of time - especially if there's a one-of-a-kind diner or unique restaurant that can't be missed. I built out a lot of our stops around unique meals and made reservations if necessary to avoid disappointment.

If Paul and I were scrambling to find a great place to eat in an unfamiliar town, I would use Urbanspoon and search for restaurants nearby that had a high rating. It's saved us many times from greasy fast food.

5) Emergency Supplies - On a crazy three-week road trip across Route 66 we kept a few emergency supplies just in case. I didn't go overboard but I kept a thick blanket in the car, a few extra bottles of water, protein bars and a first aid kit. We also made sure we had roadside assistance and all of those numbers handy for the US and Canada.

Are you planning a road trip this summer? What are your essentials?

Lisa Ng is also the Editor-in-Chief of This Beautiful Day, a lifestyle blog for smart women. You can follow her online @helloLisaNg + on Instagram @ThisBeautifulDay.

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