Planning adventures with your best pals this year? Getting behind the wheel, gathering your squad and heading out to explore the open road is a rite of passage. Especially when the sun starts to shine. But before you hit go on the sat nav and set off on the journey of a lifetime, take a moment to check you’ve got everything you need.
Whether it’s an epic road trip spanning a week or more, or simply a day touring around one of the UK’s stunning national parks, packing your car with all the must-haves (and we’re including your friends here) will make sure you make the most of every road trip.
We take a look at some of the essential items for every friends’ adventure on the open road to make sure you always leave home ready to make it a road trip to remember.
Your go-to car kit: what to pack
If you’re only heading out for a day with friends, chances are you probably haven’t even thought about packing for the trip. But there’s plenty you need to make sure you’re prepped for on the road ahead.
Our checklist for nailing any road trip includes:
• Phone charger and phone holder
• Change of clothes
• Emergency kit
• Water and snacks
• Blankets and cushions
• Sanitiser and wipes
Phone charger and phone holder
Unless your car has a built-in sat nav, you’re probably going to rely on your smartphone, or each other, for directions. To make it a journey to remember, you’re also going to need your favourite singalong tunes, podcasts and other apps. So before setting off, make sure you fix up your hands-free phone holder. Oh, and remember to pack a charger too. Running out of battery is the worst.
These days, there’s an app for everything. So make sure your phone is loaded up with the best apps for fun and functionality.
What3words is an essential for any road trip. If you break down, or get tangled in a web of navigational nightmares, this app can help you find your bearings. It divides the world into a whopping 57 trillion squares (3m x 3m), with each square having three words assigned to it. If you ever get lost, those three random words will help emergency services or breakdown recovery find you in no time.
Apps for safety are super important, but don’t forget to bring the fun too. Before planning your route, download some apps to ramp up the fun factor with games and activities aplenty. You might want to download a karaoke app for the ultimate road trip singalong session, go head to head with Guess the Song games or try out some quiz apps for squads who love a bit of trivia. But remember, only use these apps if you’re a passenger, not while driving. Safety first!
Change of clothes
Going on an adventure should be all about going with the flow, but you need to prepare for the unexpected. You might decide to try a surfing lesson or go for a wild swim, for example. But getting back in your car after the fun in wet clothes is enough to kill a good vibe.
Packing a change of clothes doesn’t kill the spontaneity – it actually lets you make spur-of-the-moment decisions without regretting it later on. Perfect for those last-minute road trips with your mates.
How can you keep your cool if you don’t have your shades? Stay focused, avoid the glare and remain as cool as a cucumber, by making sure you have your favourite pair of sunnies with you.
Safety first! Compile an emergency kit and tuck it away in your boot for those moments you can’t plan for. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Think first aid kit, spare tyre, warning triangle, jump leads, torch and high-vis. If your road trip just happens to take you glamping, the torch and high-vis will help you find your way after night falls, too. Win-win!
Water and snacks
Do you ever get hangry? Us too. Avoid the potential for drama in the car by making sure you have a stash of snacks and water before you head out on your road trip. Hopefully this won’t happen, but if you break down or have to stop, having food and water available should keep you going while you wait for assistance.
Blankets and cushions
Driving your pals to the coast to enjoy a sunset at the beach is a fabulous idea, but no one’s going to have fun if they’re cold and miserable. Pop some snuggly blankets and a couple of cushions in the boot and you’ll always be prepared for those impulsive plans – whether it’s a picnic or a drive-in cinema. And your Insta snaps will look on point too!
Sanitiser and wipes
Road trips mean snacking on the go and stopping at service stations. Whether you eat a punnet full of strawberries or have to use a petrol pump for a refill, it’s a good idea to have wipes and sanitiser available to freshen you up for the next leg of your journey.
We’ve covered everything you should pack to make sure your journey is comfy and fun – but what about pre-journey checks? The last thing you want is to be out on the road and break down before the fun even starts. So before you set off – especially if it’s going to be a longer trip – there are a few things you should check. Here’s a quick list of things to look over before you hit the road:
• Oil level
• Engine coolant
• Tyre pressure and tread depth
• Screen wash
Hopefully our guide has given you all the inspo you need to gather your go-to car kit, so grab your keys and collect your friends for Insta-worthy adventures. Slay every journey, choose between our rolling monthly or annual car insurance plans.
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