From the end of last year, I started learning how to drive. Because going on road trips have always been pretty high on my list of things to-do in life. I guess I have been on a number of road trips with my family. But they stopped as we started to grow up. But from 2016, I think I have been on plenty of road trips.
It started with the road trip I took with my friends from Delhi to Chakrata. Then road trips from Kolkata to Bakkhali, and Kolkata to Mandarmani in 2017. India-Wales project required us to travel around Wales. While initially the plan had been to take trains and buses, we toured around Wales in car. I didn't think about it so much then. Reflecting back on it, I realize that was perhaps the most elaborate road trip of my life. (And yes, I want to blog about that someday. But today is not that day.)
Instead, today I am going to tell you about the 5 Road Trip Essentials I figured out over the course of many road trips that you need in order to survive any and all road trips - whether it's in your homeland or abroad.
1. GPS and Maps
Personal experience has taught me that Google Maps has 99% chances of bringing you to the right place. But to get to the 1%, it's best to bring along updated maps of the places you would be going to. Preferably one that has places that has stops for food and petrol marked out on them. I remember how when the Famous Five went on road trips, they had everything marked on their maps. (They were always side-tracked into an adventure though.) But I always found it pretty clever. And that was a time before a computer could calculate the best possible route and tell you where to go!
2. Water. Water.
Of course, packing food for the the road is on your list. But you must remember to pack more than enough water. Because while you can go some fair few hours without food - without water, it becomes impossible to survive. You won't be able to do much if you constantly feel like you're dying of thirst. And no one wants to get dehydrated on a road trip now, isn't it? So water is really important!
I don't know about you but I don't really like the music most people seem to love. I have been told that I don't good taste when it comes to music but I also know that to each his own. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and don't let anyone make you feel bad for the choices you make. So while I am all for listening to songs that would be played in the car stereo, I would also be okay with plonking in the headphones and listening to the songs that take you to your happy place. Remember being trapped in a car for hours on end (even with your friends) can move you to a breaking point. Having access to music that will instantly calm you down is important!
In the age of smart phones and instant uploads, we have forgotten what it felt like to take pictures with a camera. Wait for the prints to come back to see how our pictures turned out. While the good news is you can keep taking pictures on your smart phone, find instant results and correct your mistakes...there's something thrilling about taking pictures with your camera (even a digital one). You would have to sit down and transfer the pictures to your laptop/computer - and that's when you get to relive your adventures on the road again! Isn't that a wonderful thing? Rather than instagramming your pictures or putting up a throwback post, long after the trip, when you come across the picture while you were scrolling through your gallery on a boring Sunday afternoon?
5. Sunglasses & Comfy Shoes
And last but not the least, don't forget your sunglasses and to wear comfy shoes. You will be on the road for a long time. Wearing shoes that are fashionable but don't feel comfortable will ruin your trip for you. If you're going down to the beach then remember to take a pair of slippers that you will be wearing down there. Comfort and not fashion is of the essence when you're planning to take a road trip with your friends. I have always screwed up in this department in the past. But not anymore. Shoes now have a place importance in my life.
I am sure you have been reading a lot of articles before your road trip. But the most important thing is to just have fun. Remember you're in the company of people you like (hopefully) and going to a place you have always wanted visit. So, happy journey! 😊