When planned well, road trips can be exhilarating and memorable. But without proper planning, otherwise promising trips can sour into uncomfortable silences and unpleasant car rides. When you embark on a road trip, your essential preparations don’t just include finding the practical tools you need to ensure a safe journey. While these are important, some basic preparations can make any road trip more pleasant too. Although everyone’s level of comfort differs slightly, these key items can make for a less taxing journey.

 

Entertainment Options

 

To help alleviate boredom, update playlists before going on a road trip. To keep things interesting, use the discovery option on streaming services to find new artists. Break up the music routine by listening to podcasts or new audio books.

 

Satisfying Snacks

 

Travelers often rely on gas station provisions and fast food for sustenance. However, packing snacks can save money and eliminate the need to search for a suitable exit to find food. Grapes, carrot sticks, apple slices, sunflower seeds and beef jerky (from a natural food store) make ideal finger foods. For meals to be eaten at a rest stop, bring peanut butter sandwiches, bell pepper strips and hummus, or Greek yogurt with nuts.

 

Refreshments

 

Keep some bottled drinking water in the car to keep hydrated. For those who can’t live without freshly brewed coffee but don’t find themselves near their favorite coffee chain on the road, it can come in handy as well. Use the water to turn a favorite java blend into a taste of home. All that’s needed is a portable stove and coffee maker.

 

Running Shoes

 

When taking driving breaks, it helps to have a pair of running shoes on hand, even when just stopping at a rest area. Going for a quick jog exercises the leg muscles and breaks up the driving routine. The running shoes will also come in handy when going for sightseeing outings or hikes.

 

Portable Toiletries

 

Unless the road trip leads to comfortable accommodations at the end of the day, keeping fresh and clean can be a challenge. Pack a travel toothbrush with toothpaste holder and wet wipes to freshen up after meals on the road. Additionally, having dry shampoo on hand can do wonders for travel-stressed hair.

 

Basic Camping Gear

 

Prepare for an unexpected night stop by packing basic camping gear. An air sleeping pad and a sleeping bag hood pillow take up little space but can create big comfort when needed. A rechargeable headlamp and solar lantern provide light without having to rely on a car’s battery.