I leave for New Orleans on Thursday, which I can hardly fathom. I am very excited. But there’s also a lot to do. It’s been a while since I had an epic adventure of this magnitude. (It will also be my longest solo road trip.) I’ve really been looking forward to it, especially with everything that’s happened so far this spring.
Of course, any road trip requires certain necessities for success, especially the following:
1) Killer playlists. I’ll probably change it up with a couple of audiobooks and long podcasts but drives like this are all about the music. Music to keep you awake, to warble along to, to get you pumped, to stay calm in bad traffic or when you’re lost. Because of my destination, there will be no small amount of blues and jazz. And I’ll try to keep my listens of “House of the Rising Sun” to a reasonable minimum. Maybe.
2) Caffeine. Yeah, adequate sleep is important for good driving but sometimes you just get road drowsy and need outside help. My go-to when I was traveling back and forth from grad school was Monster Energy but given that these drinks actually taste like they’ll give you cancer, I’m going to stick to some friendlier options.
3) Snacks. These are best bought in advance. High energy stuff like trail mix is always a good bet. And I’m also a fan of car-friendly fruits and veggies like baby carrots and apples.
4) Maps. I know it’s the age of the smart phone and GPS but I’ve had both punk out on me during various trips so it’s helpful to a) know your route b) be able to get un-lost without the assistance of technology.
5) Spontaneity. It’s not enough to just drive to and from a destination on a bunch of monotonous highways. You have to be willing to get off the interstate every so often. (I found Stonewall Jackson’s tomb this way. It is craaaazy remote. Horror movie remote. It was awesome.)
6) Breaks. Even if you’re not going off on random side trips (although you should), it’s good to get out of the car every three hours or so to stretch your legs. Don’t just buy gas and hop right back in.
7) Way stations. Yes, if you don’t know anyone in the area, you can always stay in a hotel/motel/campground but crashing with people you know or who know people you know is infinitely better. Stop and see friends you haven’t encountered in a while. Meet someone awesome and new. Always be a courteous guest (and bring wine) but don’t be afraid to ask to stay somewhere.
What are your requirements for a successful road trip? Top playlist tunes?