Summer is coming and that means hitting the road with your special person or your family or your best friend. I love a good road trip and I’m days away from taking the first of two this year. I have a few items that I always take with me when we start traveling, whether it’s 6 hours or several days in the car.
I want to save money and also be comfortable when I’m traveling by car, so I like to pack my own food and drinks, as well as items that will help in emergencies (i.e. spare tire, jumper cables). I keep the necessities in my car all the time, and you probably do, too, but here are the things I bring along on road trips.
Everyone has one of those hard, plastic coolers that weighs a ton when full and then takes up the whole back of your car. I hate those for road trips, especially when all your ice melts and you have to struggle to empty it, dry off your stuff, and then drain the water somewhere. I have a smaller collapsible cooler that has a pull-out liner, which it doesn’t look like it’s made anymore, but the company still makes amazing products. The cooler above is a similar one they make. It isn’t too big or two small, has pockets for utensils and things, and can pack down when it’s empty.
I have been downsizing my use of plastic bags and plastic wrap. We use Stasher bags a lot more often for almost everything. I have them in all sizes, so they’re great for things like bobby pins, all the way up to a loaf of banana bread. Stasher isn’t cheap, but they are high-grade silicone that come in a bunch of awesome colors, and they can be frozen, boiled, microwaved, and even put in the oven.
I have some that when I go on trips, I fill mostly with water, then I freeze them, and use them instead of regular ice packs or bags of ice. It’s free and way easier to clean up and they hardly sweat, so your food isn’t all soggy. The seal is very secure, so they aren’t going to leak at all. I flip mine inside out and put them in the dishwasher, too. Get this starter set with a gallon size and stand-up bag. Refill them with food or use them for things like sunscreen and souvenirs.
Collapsible Food Containers
You might notice a pattern with things I enjoy on trips. I have been using Collapse-It containers for years, thanks to MightyNest. These containers are wonderful for all foods and can be stored in less space, because they smash down much smaller. They have a cool vent on the top, which allows you to let steam escape or to let out extra air. Like Stasher, these can go in the oven, the freezer, the microwave, and the dishwasher. They don’t seem to really stain and the seal is really great. Once empty, they don’t need to continue to take up space in your bag.
If you want to make food at your destination, these make that pretty easy, plus they can be used to eat out of in a pinch. I’ve used them to bring back ornaments on a trip, so they wouldn’t get crushed in my bag. I just stuffed them with paper towels around my tissue-wrapped ornaments.
During the pandemic, we did a lot of outdoor get togethers with friends, so I invested in a picnic blanket that folded into it’s own carry bag. I am so glad I did, because it has been a great purchase. It works for grass, dirt, the beach. When you take a road trip, it’s important to stop to stretch your legs. I take that time to enjoy being outside and eating food I’ve brought with us. It’s also nice to have if you bring your kids or dog, just to have a spot to stretch out, where you aren’t sitting on the ground or a dirty bench. It can be used in a pinch as a tablecloth, too. This is a nice one that comes in varying styles and sizes.
Amazon Echo Auto
What’s a road trip without entertainment. Yes, we listen to music, but we also listen to podcasts and audio books. I love my Amazon Alexa at home and I immediately wanted one for my car. I use it to listen to music I don’t have on my phone, as well as to ask questions and directions. Echo Auto works on your phone’s internet service and your car’s bluetooth. Use it to play games, listen to books you have, learn new things, or even “drop in” on houses in your circle that have Alexa to keep everyone updated on where you are.
This next trip I will be trying out a couple other things, including this maybe cool cup holder tray, these faraday bags to keep your electronics safe, and also this phone mount that has been working pretty well for using my GPS around town.
If you have a road trip coming up, you might be interested in some of these items. What are your favorite road trip tips?
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Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!
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