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25 Essentials For the Perfect Summer Road Trip

If you’re looking for a chance to explore the world or to have fun with your friends, look no further than a summer road trip. A summer road trip will give you the journey of a lifetime. The experience of traveling and adventuring with your friends will bring you even closer together, while the thrill of the freedom of an open road will be exhilarating. But in order to make your road trip the best it can be, make sure you have these essentials!


1. Snacks


Don’t let your friends get hangry! Bring all kinds of snacks with you. Candy will give you that burst of energy to keep you energized, while granola bars or nuts will fuel you on the long road. Make sure to stock up on all kinds of snacks before you begin your journey!

2. Water bottles


Staying cooped up in a car for so long can mean heat and dryness, so water is absolutely essential. Plus, with so many hours out on the open road, you can never be sure when you’ll next have another opportunity to pick up water, so make sure that you always have some extra bottles.

3. Playlists


Nothing says road trip like shouting the words to your favorite song out the window with your best friends. With the wind streaming through your hair. you’ll feel absolutely carefree. Build your playlists for every mood and get ready for the road trip of a lifetime.

4. Chewing Gum


When there’s not much else to do in the car besides drift in and out of sleep, you’ll want a refresher, like some minty gum. Or, if you’ve been designated the driver for a couple hours of the trip, you might want to chew some gum as a distraction tactic to avoid falling asleep.

5. First Aid Kit


You want to be prepared for anything that happens. Pack band-aids, medication or your inhaler. Always expect the unexpected.

6. Car Insurance/ Roadside Assistance


Not only will you want to expect the unexpected among you and your friends, but you’ll also prepare for anything that may happen to your car. Have some insurance or some form of roadside assistance on speed dial in case anything happens.

7. AC


Summer means spending time at the beach and sun tanning, but if you’re spending a majority of your days sitting in a car, it can also mean sweatiness and uncomfortable stickiness. Make sure your car has good working AC to avoid being cooped up in a musty, hot car.

8. Cell Phone Chargers


You cell phone will be crucial in the road trip, so you’ll want to make sure you keep it fully charged. Your cell phone holds entertainment, your ability to communicate to people back home and can give you access to a GPS to find touristy locations.

9. Paper Maps


You never know when you might lose cell service! Have those paper maps on standby to avoid getting lost in the middle of nowhere.

10. Flashlight


Wandering an open road in the middle of the night is a frightening prospect, so make sure you have a flashlight to combat the darkness.

11. Backpack or Bag


When you finally have a chance to get out of that car and explore the world, you’ll want a big enough bag that you can keep all of your belongings in one place.

12. Blanket/pillow


Spending so many hours on the road will mean you have a chance to catch up on lost sleep when it’s not your turn to drive. Bring a blanket and pillow with you to get comfortable as you drift off in the backseat.

13. Change of Shoes


While getting out and exploring the world, your shoes may get dirty or muddy, so bring a change of shoes to avoid the discomfort of filthy shoes. Plus, if you want to get comfortable while sitting in the car, you can grab a pair of slippers!

14. Entertainment


When you can’t sleep, or when you finally get sick of that cell phone, some sort of entertainment might be helpful for you. Bring a book to read, or card games to play with your friends as you pass your hours in the car.

15. Sunscreen


Sunscreen is protocol for any summer day, but especially when you’ll be out exploring or even when you’re cooped up inside the car, you’ll want sunscreen as a form of protection from that relentless sun.

16. Chapstick


Bring chapstick to combat dry lips!

17. Hand sanitizer


Road trips are typically seen as messy, grimy endeavors, but they don’t have to be! Before digging into your meals or your snacks, make sure to sanitize your hands!

18. Hair Ties


Yes, keeping the windows open to feel the wind through your hair is such a freeing and thrilling experience, but the messy and tangled knots the wind will leave you with? Not so much. Bring hair ties to keep your hair out of the way!

19. Bug spray


Sun’s out, bugs out! Unfortunately, summer is often marked by the relentless mosquitoes and other bugs who like to bite. Avoid the excruciating itchiness of bug bites by bringing bug spray with you.

20. Jacket


Layer up! While it can be hot in the day, it might get pretty cool at night, so grab a jacket just to be safe.

21. Sunglasses


While driving, your sunglasses can prevent the sun from damaging your eyes.

22. Car Freshener


Being filled with sweaty people and spilled snacks will not improve the air quality of your vehicle, so bring some car freshener to freshen it up!

23. Cash


Although people tend to rely more heavily on credit cards or Venmo, it’s a good idea to bring some spare cash on these long trips in the case of emergencies. Plus, with parking tolls all over the place, cash can come in handy.

24. Umbrella


An umbrella can protect you from the rain, or double as a parasol for rainy weather. As your road trip takes you to different places and you encounter different climates, the umbrella may come in handy as it can help in any type of weather.

25. Your Best Friends!


Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun with your best friends and take lots of pictures! A road trip is all about having an adventure and making memories, so make sure to do just that with the ones you love.

These items will ensure you have the time of your life with your friends. Some can account for your comfort, while others will keep you entertained during the long drives. So go out there, explore the world and have some amazing adventures!

Kalysa was the 2020-21 Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent for the UCLA chapter of Her Campus. She was also previously a Senior Editor and Feature Writer for the chapter. On the rare occasion she's not busy studying for school or writing for Her Campus, you'll probably find her indulging in tiramisu or reading (and re-reading) her favorite novels. 
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