10 Things You Will Need For Your Summer Road Trip
Sure, gas is fast approaching $5 a gallon. Sure, most people can’t afford to travel by foot these days, much less car. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t hit the road—and nothing else—making sure to peruse the following checklist of trip essentials first.
1. Passengers with Good Taste (Read: “Your Taste”) in Music
Good music is crucial for a long road trip. It keeps your spirits up. It energizes the group. It prevents conversation only for you to learn that your ex slept with everybody in the car, including the derelict you picked up two miles back. Of course, not just any music will do. That’s why it’s important you go through everyone’s iPod, erasing the songs you don’t like not only from their playlists but also their computer hard drives. Better yet, use the 2-10 hour trip to introduce your passengers to your newfound love of karaoke, including your all-vocal mash-up of Lady Antebellum and the Insane Clown Posse.
2. 80-Pounds of Candy and an Egg
Road trip food isn’t about eating healthy. It’s about eating enough sugar to give you the energy to punch a hole through your own car and outrun all vehicles on the expressway if the mood should strike. To scream “WHO NEEDS SLEEP?!” at your own reflection as you drive through both Texas and an airfield of Harrier jets. To laugh maniacally at anything—clouds, your fingernails, that cop shooting at you. Alas, once you eat all the sugar your body will crash hard and you’ll need protein. That’s when you eat the egg. Raw. Of course, by then you’ll have also crashed deep in the desert and will be dead by morning, so why not try anything once.
3. A List of Forbidden Conversation Topics
It’s hard to avoid an unpleasant conversation when you’re stuck in a car. (Unless you simply roll out the driver’s door and watch as the rest of your group heads straight for an unsuspecting children’s carnival.) That’s why it’s important to present a list of forbidden car conversation topics, including “My erratic driving,” “My numerous crashes” and “My chronic narcolepsy behind the wheel.” Better yet, give your passengers a list of topics they can freely discuss, including “How much fun we’re going to have,” “How no one seems to be chipping in for gas” and “How if we stop at one more Shoney’s I’m gonna shove my head into the broccoli and cheese soup vat until bubbles stop coming up.”
4. A Voting System
The more people in the car the more difficult it is to agree on when to stop, where to eat and whose fault it was you drove two states in the wrong direction. That’s why you should take a nod from the U.S. federal government and have the front and back row each elect a representative to voice their needs (should there be a third row of seats just tell them they’re too far away to be heard). Then have the two representatives debate, but not before a lengthy campaign season as they meet and greet with people in other cars. By the time it comes to actually voting you’ll either have already reached your destination or killed each other in frustration.
5. A Street Racer Persona
Part of the fun of a road trip is the unexpected scenic routes, often taken at 180 mph in a Toyota Sienna minivan against the yakuza mob or through the streets of Rio even though you were initially headed to Maryland for clam chowder. So you’ll want to adopt a mean “street racer” identity that will strike fear into your competition as you defiantly place your Frosty in your cup holder and softly gun the engine so as not to awake any sleepy passengers. Favorite tough guy personas include “Vengeful Con,” “Vengeful Ex-Con” and “Han Solo.”
6. A Horror Story
Nothing passes the time on a road trip like an exciting story. And no story draws your fellow passengers in like a good ol’ horror tale. Make the story particularly effective by naming every one of the victims after someone in the car and constantly referring to the serial killer as “me,” “I” or “sitting right next to you.” Don’t forget to mention every grisly detail of the killings, pausing long often to wonder aloud if you brought enough duct tape or corpse bags. Should your group become so alarmed that they abandon you at a rest stop as cops swarm your bathroom stall, just remember that the anger you feel inside is what horror sequels are for.
7. A Destination
You’d think this would be at the top of the list. But you’d be surprised how often people get so excited about a road trip that they just pack and head off, only to discover six hours later that no one knows where they’re going. At that point you have three options: 1). Head back home, realizing you got so caught up in the moment you never told your family, boss or parole officer you were leaving. 2). Break out he iPhones and choose the nearest destination, firmly believing that anyone can have a blast in Gilbert, Arizona. 3) Be filled with utter shame about your trip failure and just leave, never to return to your car, your friends or your insulin you accidentally left in the glove compartment.
8. Plenty of Sofa Cushions
Eventually no matter how many songs you sing, how many stories you tell, boredom will set in. And that’s when it’s time for the people in the backseat to build a fort out of sofa cushions. Better yet, since you’re moving, build a sofa tank, complete with a rotating turret (pillow), main gun (water bazooka) and secondary machine guns (hurled gumballs). Naturally, the people in the front seat will want to join in, thereby blocking any view of the front windshield. But this can be remedied with a sub-like periscope (toilet paper roll) or simply pulling off the road and forgetting about the trip all together as everyone giggles in their pajamas and hurls gum at one another.
9. One Deep, Dark Secret
A road trip is a time for people to open up, to share. You can make it even more fun by having one deep, dark secret that you allude to but refuse to reveal. This will cause your friends to constantly pester you for more information, resulting in a sort of “20 Questions” where instead of asking “Animal, vegetable or mineral?” they ask, “Jail time or alien abduction?” Over the course of the ride let a few more details slip out, always following it with “I’ve said too much.” Then, just as you reach your destination, you share your secret, followed by an hour of stunned silence, no eye contact for the entire vacation and everyone taking separate cars home.
10. A “Plan B”
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, a road trip simply does not work out. That’s when it’s time to reveal your “Plan B”—your alternate vacation plan—to your fellow riders, usually by cell phone as you drive back home alone in the middle of the night. It may not be the nicest thing you can do, but for crying out loud, these people built a sofa tank in your car and booed your mash-up karaoke solos, so to hell with all of them.
What are some other things you might need for your next road trip? Let's discuss below!