A couple of months ago, I took a road trip to New Zealand’s Southern Alps to visit some friends. Believe it or not, I plan for things like this more than the average guy. I’m always paranoid that I’m going to forget something, and I didn’t want to detour along the way, so I sat down to write out a list. It worked as planned, so I thought I would share my packing list in case others find it useful.
USB phone charger
I alternate between Google Maps and Waze on road trips, depending on how good the coverage is. Using my iPhone constantly means that I absolutely must have a USB charger with me. Otherwise, I run the risk of getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. As a bonus, that means I don’t have to worry about running my battery down if I check email or Instagram when I stop for lunch.
I wouldn’t be the Smart Music Explorer if I dared to set out on a road trip without a music playlist. I can make do with the radio for an hour or so, but when the stations start to get fuzzy, I head straight for my music list. Sometimes I pop on my headphones; other times I just sing along to the car system at full volume. In case you’re curious, this trip featured U2, The Killers, and Daft Punk—I like being eclectic.
A blanket might sound like an odd choice, but I really do like to be as prepared as possible, so I brought it along with my emergency kit. There was already snow on the ground during my trip, and I didn’t want to take the chance of getting stuck on the side of the road and being too cold. Better safe than sorry. Plus, it meant that I knew I would be comfortable when I arrived at my friends’ house because I had my own blanket.
Travel size cooler
I try not to stop any more than necessary on trips and I like to save money, so a travel cooler is the perfect item for me to bring. It keeps my drinks and my sandwiches cold so I can have them whenever I want and I don’t have to stop for fast food.
I’m very particular about my car. After all, it was quite an expense, so I like to keep it as nice as I can. On a road trip, it’s easy to collect garbage and other things in the backseat and trunk, so I bought the best handheld vacuum I could find to clean up. It was perfect to handle the crumbs.
A garbage bag takes up minimal room and is great to have on-hand when you arrive at your destination. Since a vacuum only handles the little things, also having a garbage bag available will make sure no receipts, wrappers, or other items are left behind.