This post was last updated on July 1st, 2014
We can’t believe it’s already been over three weeks since we returned from our awesome (albeit short) road trip through British Columbia. The trip was a tantalizing reminder of just how much we love the thrill of the open road—and how we seriously need to start planning another similar adventure soon!
Whenever we take a road trip, we have a few traditions we follow. We always wait until the gas is nearly empty before going in search of a gas station. We typically don’t travel with any ‘smart devices’, meaning we actually have to stop and ask real people for directions when we get lost. And every time we cross a border we stop the car, put the camera on timer, and run to get a picture with whatever ‘Welcome to _____’ sign we’ve just passed.
There are also a few things we never travel without—whether it’s on a road trip or halfway across the world. To be honest, there’s probably way too much stuffthat we never travel without; our backs would be oh-so-happy if we gave our bags a slim down. But even if we did downsize our lives that are already squished into two large backpacks, there are a few things we know we could never go without.
So when Enterprise asked us to share our #OpenRoadEssentials, it didn’t take us long to come up with a list. We’ve spared you the obvious necessities, like deodorant and a camera, in favor of some essentials with a bit more oomph:
I tried getting along in my yoga practice with the hotel towel on the floor number for the longest time, but now I never go anywhere without my lightweight Manduka yoga mat. It’s a little awkward to pack, but it keeps me practicing regularly. Which is a good thing, since I’ll be participating in a yoga teacher-training course in just a few months! If you’re ever stuck sleeping in your car, a yoga mat also makes a great impromptu pillow.
Notebook, Pen, and Travel Inspiration
For those long drives in the middle of nowhere, a bit of travel inspiration and a good notepad to write down our musings in are an absolute must. And also because you never know when a good idea will hit!
Travel Credit Cards
We always use our travel credit cards to make any purchase. You have to pay for gas anyway—why not let that spent money go towards a free flight to Europe? We utilize a variety of credit cards that earn us free hotel stays and flights. You can learn all about it in this blog post we wrote.
It’s impossible to take a selfie with a giant California sign. Rather than trying to balance our camera on precipitous rooftops and ledges while we run into the photo, we now use the GorillaPod to help us out. Dan loves this travel tripod, both for its flexibility and compactness. Probably not the best tripod to take with you on a professional photography gig, but an absolute must for a road trip.
Did you know you can do virtually anything with coconut oil? We’re talking lotion, leave-in hair conditioner, shaving cream, make-up remover, lip balm, toothpaste, antibacterial ointment, energy booster—and that’s just the start. The only problem is that it melts, so if you’re on a summer road trip, keep it next to the A/C!
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Simply because we hate noise pollution. Jammin’ to our tunes on the radio? Sure thing. Listening to cars honk or babies cry? We’re gonna need some headphones to drown that out. Our current noise canceling headphones do the trick just fine, but we have these Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones on our wish list.
LifeStraw Water Filter
Because you just never know when your car is going to break down in the middle of nowhere and leave you stranded for days. Okay. Even if you’re probably not going to need a water purifier on a road trip, we always travel with this little LifeStraw just in case. It’s so small we don’t even remember it’s in our bag most of the time, and we’re always throwing ourselves into unplanned adventures. We did actually use our water purifiers once when we were cycling through Vietnam. A different kind of road trip, but still.
If the road trip is any longer than a week, then the Scrubba is coming along. We use this thing all the time. While it doesn’t take all the work out of hand-washing our clothes, it does make the process so much more enjoyable. You can read our full review of the product here.
Dan says he would even pack a sarong if he was road trippin’ it with a bunch of dudes. Similarly to coconut oil, there are about a bazillion different ways to use a sarong. Think beach towel (or any towel for that matter), cover-up for religious spaces, blanket for a nap in the car, or scarf for a quick accessory. Drape a sarong on a tree for instant shade; gather the corners for a laundry pouch; create a sheet at a sketchy hotel.
So those are our road trip essentials, but now it’s time to share the best part of the post: the contest! The folks over at Enterprise are hosting a competition for fans to win a road trip for 2 of their own choice (valued at £1000). All you have to do to enter is take a photo of your own road trip necessities and then upload the photo and mention Enterprise on Twitter (@UKEnterprise) or Instagram (@enterpriseuk) using the hashtag #OpenRoadEssentials. For more details, check out the complete competition details here. What better way to end the summer than as the winner of a road trip?
What are your road trip (or travel) essentials? Anything not so obvious you would add to the list?
We were compensated for writing this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.