After returning from a three week road trip, I thought about what helped to make the trip comfortable and what I would change for our next trip. Hope this helps to make your travels smooth and enjoyable.
Car Check over the car and complete any maintenance required. Make sure there is a spare tire and tools needed to change a flat if necessary. We have a travel assistance membership that we could have called when we had a flat had Joe not be able to change it himself. That is if there was cell service which was unavailable quite a lot in the mountains and desert areas.
National Park Pass If you are 62 you can buy a Senior National Park Pass. It costs $10.00 and is good for your lifetime. You and 3 other adults in your car can get into any National Park with your pass. This is the deal of the century, folks. Buy it at the first park you visit. Ask for the free rear view mirror pass holder. If no one is at the park to check your pass, you need to leave it displayed in your car for a ranger to see.
National Parks Passport For about $10.00 you can buy a Passport Book in most gift shop areas in the Information Center at each park. It gives information about the parks in each region of the U.S. There are also pages where you can stamp your book with a stamp specific to the park you are visiting. There’s a date stamp as well. It’s just for fun and a bonus record of your travels.
Blog I had my daughter help me set up this blog. I knew from experience that I needed help remembering all the great things I did on a trip. Each night I looked over the notes I had jotted down in my journal along with any pamphlets we picked up at the sites visited and wrote about it while it was fresh in my mind. Adding the photos I had taken was a bonus. This also was a great way for our daughters to keep up with our escapades since cell service was not always available.
Books I used a 2016 calendar book to jot my notes into whenever we got into the car. Again, it is surprising how much you forget when you are doing awesome things every day. I also kept this National Geographic National Parks book in the car so I could preview what we could see at each place.
Backseat On the backseat we kept a cooler with water and pop. We kept a bag with maps and the binoculars. There was also a container with snacks, coffee supplies, gum, hard candy, plasticware, napkins and wipes. I got this fancy one at JoAnn Fabrics but have used a plastic container in the past.
Medical/Supplies Luckily, we did not need anything other than ibuprofen but I packed supplies we might need such as band aides, bug spray, suntan lotion, heating pads, etc. I know there are stores everywhere but the parks are huge and I like to be prepared. Besides, this is a small bag and took up little room in the trunk.
Purses I left my regular purses at home. I used either the Eddie Bauer one shoulder backpack if we were going to hike and climb a lot or the black Bellhop backpack-like purse if it was an easier day. Both could fit my Mini I Pad, phone, glasses, wallet and more into separate compartments.
Stove Last idea for today is the small Coleman propane stove I bought at Target for about $20.00. The propane cartridge was a couple dollars. It comes in a plastic carrying case and worked great the couple times we needed it. We heated up water to make instant coffee several times because we love coffee! We also warmed up a can of soup in Yosemite for lunch because Yosemite is huge and there are more picnic areas than restaurants.
Stay tuned for more trip tips.