A summer road trip is an iconic, bucket-list experience, but it’s also travel that can go either way — it might be a hugely fun bonding experience or a claustrophobic relationship-killer. (Stop the damn car and let me out. Now.)
Up until now, the predictor for success had mostly to do with a traveler’s tolerance for discomfort and stretches of severe boredom. But there’s no need to suffer riding shotgun just because the GPS says a destination is 50 miles beyond your breaking point.
Road trips can be comfortable, even lavish, adventures.
How? Prepare with the right mindset and pack for the journey you really want before gassing up.
Consider these seven paths to road tripping zen, along with a curated list of suggested gear to make sure your travels are memorable for all the right reasons.
Start with style: This is where the upgrade begins. Why duffel it? You can leave the days of digging through a mass of clothes, shoes and iPhone chargers behind. Durable but stylish luggage, like The Luxury Collection’s Globe-Trotter cases with leather trim, gold hardware and linen lining, will serve as a constant reminder that this is your vacation and you deserve to treat yourself well.
Take comfort seriously: A pillow and blanket are a necessity. Really. Pack them. You will get sleepy, and your trip mates will disagree on temperature. But forget anything with holes or pills. Make sure that pillow and blanket are awesome. Like feather & down and first-class awesome.
Feed more than cravings: Depending on your constitution, Wawa will suffice for a few (dozen) meals. But everyone will benefit from the occasional pit stop that goes beyond plastic forks. Imagine takeout al fresco on a beautiful evening, spread on an Egyptian cotton picnic blanket and spooned off actual dishes — unbreakable but beautiful dishes. It will taste Michelin-star delicious.
Personal space is bigger than you think: Even the roomiest SUV can feel pretty jammed after hours together. That’s when you’ll need an outlet. A real outlet and an auditory one. But there’s no need to just tune out. You can use the downtime to keep exploring by bringing a travel-inspired playlist filled with music from around the world. You’ll return to your group with a whole new perspective.
Spontaneity takes foresight: Make sure you’re ready to embrace the best detours. A cool stream? A nearby waterfall? A moonlight lake? An unlocked country club pool? Have a big, soft towel and a tote — a super-stylish one, of course — for the unexpected.
Be ready for intriguing invitations: Who knows what — or who — you’ll meet along the way. Best to have a stash at the ready that goes beyond air freshener. A simple but sumptuous travel kit can take you wherever you decide to go.
Indulge in recovery: Eventually the road will come to an end, and you’ll be ready for some creature comforts. Easy-to-stash balms (think yoga in a jar) can ease aches and bring on restorative sleep. Yes, the road can lead to om.
ALSO READ: The World’s Best Road Trips