What do you take on the road?

Posted: September 23, 2016 in Personal, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s Friday and the alarm will be sounding very early for my 13-hour trip to Philadelphia, with a side stop in Akron, Ohio to take on a chair.  To maximize the possibility of a great trip, there are certain things I have to have.

© janet m. webb 2016

My I-Pass/EZ Pass is essentail, cutting the cost of the always-rising tolls in half in Illinois and by unknown amounts in Ohio and Pennsylvania, to say nothing of the ease of just driving through the toll plazas (through the lanes, of course, not through the booths themselves!)

After that, everything else is for comfort a/o fun.  I have three or four books on CD, to while away the hours and miles as I enjoy the scenery (and try to ignore the perfect photo ops that I can’t take while on the interstate!)  I have two travel mugs of tea, the first with a few ice cubes added so I can drink it before waiting an hour or more for it to cool slightly.  Water bottles for when the tea is gone.  Snacks:  popcorn from Aldi or Trader Joe’s, nuts for protein, a small cooler which will probably have apples, grapes, red pepper slices, cheese, and Trader Joe’s nut/dark chocolate/sea salt bars (so they don’t melt.)  Gum to clean my teeth!  All the food is put where I can reach it without looking, keeping my eyes on the road and one hand on the wheel. From my pre-marriage days, when I dated a man who sailed, I have a large canvas tote that snacks, travel silverware/cutting board/etc., and all sorts of the things go into and is located on the floor of the van in back of the front console, where I can easily reach it.  Extra water bottle go there, too, and for every day use, a workout jacket for going into overly air-conditioned places.

I do have a GPS which, as our daughter has a new address in Philly, I’ll actually use at the very end, although I’m pretty sure I could get there without it.  I always have an emergency bag, although it’s geared more to winter:  emergency crank radio, old sleeping bag, flashlight, winter cap and other clothes.  In winter I add a small shovel with extendable handle, ice scraper, and more winter clothes.

One last item I always have in the center console is a small, fat notebook, perfect for jotting down thoughts or observations.  However, since I do this while keeping the hand holding the notebook on the steering wheel and my eyes ahead 99% of the time, I can’t always decipher the chicken scratches that pass for writing.

A road trip is always cause for excitement for me.  How about you?  When you travel by car, what do you always carry with you and wouldn’t dream of leaving home without?  Or what’s the most unusual thing you always take (like my popcorn)?  I’ll have time to read all about it over the weekend or in the bathroom of the rest stop, so ‘fess up!!


  1. Sue says:

    …..and the camera?

  2. Suzanne says:

    I love road trips too. You certainly sound prepared. Have a good time.

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    Wow – I thought I didn’t travel light 😉

    hmmm – I don’t think I tend to take anything unusual with me. For me it’s usually just quiet time in the car alone in my own head.
    On one 8 hour drive to my home town, I tried to spend the entire time seeing the world around me through the eyes of 16-year-old me … as if young me was suddenly in the car with me. What would puzzle and amaze her? It was a fascinating ride.

    Hope you enjoy your time in Philly 🙂

  4. Dan Antion says:

    When on a road trip, someone has to have an extra key to my car. Someone else, not me.

  5. I use the microphone on my phone, and text or email myself. Text is easier. Just keep it set to your tel number (or email address, or don’t even bother entering the address)) and pick up the phone, hit the mike, and talk away. Of course, like your scribble, you will get some funky interpretations of words that the mike thinks you’ve said – but that can be very funny, enlightening, and a little easier to decipher than the the chicken scratch.
    Enjoy, Randy

  6. When we lived in Colorado we kept a small bag of kitty litter in the trunk during Winter. If it was too icy to get out of a parking space, a handful under the tires gave enough traction to ease out of the space. Have a safe trip, Janet.

  7. Laura says:

    I don’t really like to drive to so I am happy that my husband drives and I will sit and knit something small like a hat. We also take lots of snacks like home made oatmeal cookies. Have a fun trip.

  8. Just an aside here, decades ago, when we traveled the Illinois tollroads, I remember asking my dad why we had to pay. He told me that when they were first being marketed by the state for construction funding, citizens understood that the tolls were temporary. Once the construction had been paid for, there were other sources for maintenance. I guess not.

    I now drive the lousy and unsafe Bay Area roads. Maybe it’s because they are my lousy and unsafe (and familiar) roads, but I still prefer them to the Illinois tollroads.

    Safe travels.

    • Bruce, that’s the way it works with almost all toll roads. Once they’re paid for, the government doesn’t want to lose the money and figures they can easily spend it elsewhere. So not only do the tolls not go away, they eventually increase.


  9. #1 for this directionally challenged traveler is my Garmin GPS, Sally, an old fashioned map, and a Mapquest printout. Hope you had a great visit. 🙂

    • Short but very good, Judy. Thanks. I actually used the Garmin this trip as our daughter’s in a new apartment and it took me a different way from what I would have used. I like real maps, though, too, because that way I can get an idea of what everything looks like and where things are in relation to each other, rather than just blindly going where the GPS says.

      Are you back now?

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