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Road Trip Sanity Essentials

Road Trip Sanity Essentials

When I’m asked about a fun summer escape that’s easy on the finances, the first thing that comes to mind is…(all together now)…road trip! But, as affordable as this travel option can be, just hearing those two words strung together seems to conjure up images that have even my most rugged readers responding, “hmmm…any other ideas?”

What to Do?

So, besides bringing along a large dose of patience (Dramamine’s good, too), what else can you take to maintain your sanity when sitting in the car for hours at a time? Here’s a list of road trip must-haves that’ll have you hittin’ the road like a pro!

What to Wear: Focus on Mix n’ Match & Layers

Wearing super comfy clothing is key, of course. But I also suggest packing light, to avoid having the car so stuffed with bags that passengers are squashed in the back seat like a bunch of sardines. Bring just some basics that you can mix & match and layer, and be sure to stick to durable clothing that’s easy to wash. For great rugged, washable and comfy basics at affordable prices, check out Land’s End and American Eagle Outfitters. Be sure to use these coupons and deals, too, and save even more.

Fuel for the Road: Pack Healthy, Minimal-Mess Snacks

A great way to avoid relying on restaurant stops and fast food fare is to bring along a small cooler (a collapsible one is even better!) and fill it with sandwiches, water, fresh fruits and veggies, protein bars, etc. Stick to things that keep crumbs to a minimum and won’t melt in the heat.

Check out Graze, Taldepot and Nature Box for some convenient snack boxes and snack ideas that are sure to quiet the rumbling stomachs of even your grouchiest road-trippers. Be sure to use these snacks coupons, too!

Clean-Up Crew: Keep Car Stocked with Cleaning Supplies

Spending hours in the car can lead to sticky fingers, stale breath and the feeling that you (or they) really, really need a shower. So, to keep the mess (and stink) to a minimum, be sure to stock the car with plenty of baby wipes, hand sanitizer, mint strips, chewing gum and car air fresheners. Stain remover pens, a stash of napkins, and a trash bag (or three) are always good to have on hand, too. Walgreens and Target are both great places to find these little essentials, and they always offer coupons to save you a little extra cash.

Boredom Busters – Games, Music, Books & More

A road trip can be the perfect opportunity to unplug and spend quality time bonding over fun road games. 21 Questions and I Spy are always favorites for kids, and on adult-only trips, you can get a bit more …ahem…racy with Would You Rather? and Never Have I Ever. But, let’s face it, even the most entertaining games will eventually get tiresome, leaving passengers (and drivers) pleading for a fierce round of the Quiet Game.

That’s when you know it’s time to call in tech support. A great way to pass the time in the car without driving yourselves nuts is with music and audiobooks. Tablets are also great tech tools for car travel, especially for kids. If you download your child’s favorite books and movies before you leave, you won’t need a WiFi connection. Be sure to use these coupons for Audible, Apple Store, and Best Buy.


While you may be the world’s most prepared road-tripper, you aren’t perfect. It’s inevitable that you’re going to forget some thing(s) that you wish you hadn’t. Several of these frequently forgotten few are relatively easy to pick up on the road, but others can cause panicked pleas to turn back, even after hours on the road.

Here are a few items that often fall into the forgettable category:


Band aids/First Aid kit

Bug spray

Sunburn lotion

SPF lip balm

Prescription medications

Portable chargers and cords


Extra batteries

Spare set of keys

Extra contact lenses/prescription glasses

So, my rugged (and not-so-rugged) road trippers, what I have given to you here are some road trip essentials that’re sure to keep you sane (relatively) on your next road trip. Now you’re ready to get packed, load up the car and hit the road. Happy, and safe travels!