Your car, the company you keep, your destination or season; neither matter nor influence your experience. Road trips are more spiritual than sermons from the wisest prophets.
It isn’t often easy to be ready for this gruelling yet oddly satisfying way of starting your holiday. There are seasoned travellers who will be more than happy to agree here with me that there is a need for readiness before you take the first step, or in this case, shift to the right gear.
Once you get a hang of it, it is easy as eating a pie (not baking one, ‘coz thats tough). There are a few things that need to be decided upon:
- The car for your journey
- Your destination
- People in your car
- What to most definitely pack no matter what.
It is advisable to get your car serviced and checked before you begin. A car that is given 5 stars from the car service doctor; a clean health chit is a sign of a great, stress-free journey. It’ll take a maximum of half an hour to get your car kit ready not including your trip to the gas station and car service station.
There are a few things you need to tell your car service technician to most definitely look into:
The tires – Rotation and wheel balancing,
Engine fluids – front and rear windshield wiper fluids, brake fluid
Brakes and Gears,
After you get your car back and you test drive your chariot, you start with your personal car list:
- Full tank of fuel
- Puncture repair kit
- Air pressure kit
- Fuel cleaner (in case of diesel vehicles)
- Driving license and car insurance papers
- Lots of change for Toll taxes and road taxes
- Cleaning cloth and cleaning spray bottle
- A bottle of water (just in case)
- A car dustbin
- Emergency numbers – car helpline
Now that your car is geared to go go go, chart out your route. A few questions to ask yourself, make note of and decide.
Would you prefer the longer, more scenic, shorter route?
Where will you be taking the turns?
Which are the important towns you’ll be passing through?
Where are the bypasses that you will be either on or forgoing.
Pit stops at pre-decided approximate time? Towns they are going to be at.
Google maps will be your best friend here. Make sure you select the preferred route and take note of time to distances at your preferred stops. Share your location with someone trustworthy.
Also check weather apps to ascertain average temperatures and weather conditions. This is usually more fun for kids, if you are travelling with them. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share all important tasks with your co-passengers, almost like a team building exercise. The person riding shot gun can play the role of your navigator and be given the task of routes and stops.
Your itinerary, your goal for your holiday, the place you will be staying at is all personal and curated to your taste. Here, I wish you all the fun.
Catering to co-passengers
Happy passengers are energy and mood boosters, you as a driver and navigator are just as responsible for the up-beat flow throughout the journey. Carry a lot of tuck, comfort food. Here are a few essentials:
Travelling with young adults and adults
- Music playlist and downloaded videos
- Chargers for all the screens
- Good 4G connection
- Portable and charged battery pack (another word????)
Travelling with kids
- Music and videos (downloaded)
- Well charged screens
- A few toys
- A few books
- Cushy cushions and a light blanket or two
Travelling with pets
- a few toys (ensure they aren’t squeaky ones, trust me)
- Water and food bowls
- Pet food
- Cushy bed or a mat
- Extra leash and a collar
- Lots of water to keep hydrated and cool
Essentials – Checklist
The most important essentials that you can keep in your car for your trip. There will be patches where urbanisation, like we are used to, will be far away. You could brave it out there but in case you prefer to be safe, here are a few things that have been broken into categories.
Hygiene and health
- Sun glasses – preferably Polaroid lens
- Sun screen lotion
- Wet wipes/ tissues
- Hand sanitisers
- Toilet seat spray
- Loo roll/ tissues
- Hand/ face towels
- Soap/ liquid soap
- Mosquito repellent
- Medical kit – first aid supplies and a few OTC drugs like an anti-histamine, wide spectrum antibiotics, cough and cold medicines, antibiotics for gastro infections (TZ variety), anti acidity pills, nausea , motion sickness , constipation and diarrhoea relievers,
- Chips and biscuits (something sweet, something savoury)
- Juices /soft drinks
- Tea/coffee (if you prefer, carry sachets of pre mix)
- A small ziplock bag of sugar and salt
- A few candies and toffees
- Cheese cubes ( especially if you travelling with kids )
- Pre-packed sandwiches or paranthas (not very important)
- Light blanket /throw
- Sun shades for windows
- Emergency bag of clothes – one set for each person travelling
- A light jacket ( depending where you are going)
- An umbrella or a rain coat
- Newspapers and cleaning cloth
- Hand towels ( cannot reiterate on the necessity of this )
- An ice box ( depending on where you are traveling )
Now you bags are packed and you are so ready to go. A few bags tucked away strategically in your car and you are ready for an adventure. A bonding experience, a relationship strengthener, therapeutic conversations amidst laughs and giggles groans and sighs, variety of sights and sounds to enrich your life experiences. A Road trip is your chicken soup for the soul.