Never been on a road trip? I have just one advice for you: PLAN ONE IMMEDIATELY! It will provide you with a nice break filled with great memories and fresh experiences to cherish for life. On the other hand, if you truly want to have a terrific time, you need to plan and prepare well. To help you with that, here’s our checklist of the road trip essentials that you will be grateful to have arranged for, beforehand:
First off, The Absolute Unavoidables
1. The Documents
Which are your driver’s license, car’s registration and manual, insurance and emergency contact numbers, a map hard copy (optional). Ensure that these are updated and valid.
2. Car Gear
The tool kit, spare tires, a small bottle of car washing liquid and cleaning cloths, air freshener, sun shade, fuel backup (only if you have a safe way to store it), torch/flashlight, spare set of keys, gadget chargers, money (change for the toll tax), water. Also, check that your car is in good shape BEFORE leaving!
3. First-Aid Kit
Including things such as antiseptic/Dettol, Polyfax ointment, band-aids/Saniplast/bandages for minor cuts and scrapes, cortisone cream for insect bites, Mospel (insect-repellent), pain relieving spray, any prescription medicines you need, as well as basics like pain relievers, antacids and remedies for motion sickness. I also like to have Ispaghol, Jauhar Joshanda, Strepsils, Muccaine syrup and Hajmola for any quick minor health disorder fixes.
4. The Gadgets
Cell phones (with GPS, balance, important contacts, useful travel apps such as Google Maps), Camera (with extra battery), laptop (optional, for watching movies, playing games), power banks.
Plan out your budget beforehand but always, always keep extra cash with you.
Secondly, The Comfort Essentials
1. The Apparel
Very comfortable, loose and weather-friendly clothes (prefer comfort over style, for once) are mandatory. So are suitable shoes (light sneakers with a back up of sandals or slippers) and sunglasses. You could also keep warm clothes e.g. jackets/shawls (for those who feel uncomfortable in the car temperature which others find okay), umbrellas (great as a shield against the sun or the rain, and also for picture-posing!) and caps/hats/scarves (for times when you feel like covering your head).
2. The Slumber Vitals
Take tents (if it is a long, adventure-filled trip), sleeping bags/Plastic or Jute mats/Chatai (great for spreading just about anywhere; doesn’t get dirty or wet easily) and insect repellant sprays/coils. It is also advisable to pack a bed sheet and blankets if your cleanliness obsession doesn’t let you relax on those belonging to the m/hotels. Other useful things are pillows/cushions (great for a little nap in the car or for additional comfort on the seat during the ride) and spare pillow cases. (HACK ALERT: Pillow cases are to be spread over any surface/pillow before lying down in case you don’t have the space to carry pillows. This is a useful hack for preventing an ugly acne breakout!)
3. The Personal Care Stuff
Toiletries (Choices May Vary Due to Personal Taste)
A compact kit/bag for storing everything. Useful toiletries include hand sanitizers (great for a little snack time while on the go), hand wash (much better than a regular soap as it is way less messy), cleansing face wash, shampoo and conditioner/hair oil and bathing soap/liquid body wash.
The must-haves include capped toothbrush and toothpaste; although a mouthwash/dental floss/tooth picks will also come in handy. Other essentials are shaving kit, sanitary napkins, cotton buds/Q-tips, travel/cleansing/baby wipes (as they are less harsh and safer for all skin types), laundry stain remover spray, tissues/paper towels, viscose towels/washcloths (because this material is lightweight and great at both absorbing and drying up), zip lock plastic bags as trash bags and a nice, clean lota! (Not kidding! You never know when you might need one of your own, even while travelling in Pakistan, as some highway toilets may only have dirty plastic bottles instead!)
Compact make up bag/pouch and small travel bottles instead of the original containers are better. Keep multi-use cosmetic products (pick your most favourite ones only), lip balms, lighter BB/CC creams or just concealers instead of foundations. You could even go all natural and save yourself from the stress of makeup removal! Don’t forget to pack deodorants/perfumes/mists and face and body moisturizers that are preferably with sunscreens. (HACK ALERT: Coconut oil is a great natural substitute for the regular moisturizer because it can also be used as a make-up remover, hair conditioner [it restores protein] and pre/post-shave lubricant!)
And Lastly, The Food And The Snacks
You will need:
- Lots of mineral water and almond milk/juices/coconut water/fizzy drinks (if you are not too health conscious), tea/coffee/green tea. You could take a small cooler if you want some of your drinks to be cold.
- Some fun snacks such as samosas, pakoras, granola bars, hummus wraps, salads/salad rolls, cupcakes/muffins/brownies/donuts. You could also include the common favourites such as biscuits/cookies, fruits, dry fruits, chips/crackers/cereals and chocolate/chocolate derivatives. It is also a great idea to pack some homemade food like potato cutlets, chicken nuggets and Shami kababs.
- During a long trip, you could even cook for yourself. If you can manage it and if you don’t always want to eat exclusively at the highway restaurants, it is a great idea to have some utensils/kitchenware (such as an electric kettle) and some canned/storable food items which are easy to use such as tinned fish/sausages, certain varieties of rice/lentils, dips etc. You could also carry a camping gas cylinder with you (do take all the necessary precautions, though).
Dress according to the area and don’t stop just about anywhere (a quick research before leaving will tell you which areas are not safe enough for a stopover, specially at night), never trust strangers with your belongings (no matter how friendly or helpful they might appear), it is better to have more than one driver and all drivers should rest/nap, drive responsibly and avoid cell phones during driving.
Liquids are relatively difficult to carry than solids so avoid them as much as possible and try your best to conserve space and weight.
Cater To Your Additional Needs:
Keep some prayer/meditation/exercise equipment such as yoga and prayer mats, pocket prayer books and recordings, reading and listening material, a diary/notebook, a tool box consisting of things like a knife, nail cutter/filer, scissor, screw driver, a little portable sewing kit and safety pins (for a quick fix for a wardrobe malfunction).
Never put deodorants/air fresheners/medicines/beauty products exposed to the sun and sharp objects in places where they are likely to come out loose and hurt somebody.
Above all, try to keep things simple and stay relaxed so that you can enjoy each moment to the fullest!