What to Bring on a Road Trip

The spontaneity and excitement of a road trip is unparalleled by any other. And with the vacation time round the corner, a few weeks of fun on the open, wide roads, can be an experience of a lifetime. Having said that, road trips can be a nightmare if not properly planned. You obviously do not want to be lost in some godforsaken place, in freezing temperatures, eating refried beans and cheese burritos. So, for all those who want to make their trip a fulfilling and fun experience, make a checklist for the road trip.

This should include a checking of your vehicle, preparing for emergencies, stocking in on your entertainment needs, and getting your navigational tools in place. Oh, and I forgot the most important part of the road trip planning process, i.e stocking up the food and the drinks for the trip. I know this may go against the spirit of a spontaneous road trip, but believe me it will save you lots of hassles on the road, not to mention a significant amount of money.

Things to Bring on a Road Trip
The obvious thumb rule when packing for a road trip, is that ‘less is more’. So instead of stockpiling a whole lot of things into your car, make a checklist of what you need on the trip. This ensures that nothing is forgotten in a last minute hurry.

Luggage Sets: Select the smallest duffel bag or a backpack that you can find, and try to fit in the stuff that you need for the journey into it. Leave behind the big suitcases, as there are few things as unpleasant as having to haul a giant suitcase around when traveling. For a long journey, pack your clean clothes into small plastic bags and throw in a large laundry bag for the soon-to-be dirty clothes. Also make sure to pack a pair of comfortable sandals and a good pair of hiking shoes for the journey.

Music: What is a good road trip without great music so whether you are in a car, van, or an RV, stock up the CDs for a long journey. Sometimes the ready-made playlists and albums can get quite boring. A great idea is to use an iPod and just borrow songs from the people you visit. Please do not count on the radio, unless you want to be stuck with bad twangy pop and Christian radio.

Camera: This is an essential for all those people, who are not quite so eloquent with words. Describing the fun you had on your great adventure journey can be easy if you have loads of pictures. Well, you do not have to be a pro to get the right shots. With a simple point and shoot digital camera, you can get some great pictures and show them to your grandchildren, when you are really old.

A GPS Navigation System: Say goodbye to your travel maps. GPS navigation systems with built-in maps, are an ideal way of making the chances of your getting lost from slim to nil. It not only shows you where you are on the map, but also provides real-time updates of your location. In addition, they offer automatic route-planning, and turn-by-turn directions, making it virtually impossible to get lost.

Cash or Credit: Well, if you are going to use it, you also have to pay for it. You can carry cash or if you are just wary of carrying a wad of dollars, just stick with the plastic money. Then there are the handy traveler’s checks, that can be purchased at travel agencies, like AAA and through American Express.

Food: Believe me, life is much simpler without those greasy burgers and the gas station pretzels, so be wise and pack in your food. Keep a stock of healthy road trip snacks and other dry food, in a separate bag, and use a large cooler for juice, soda, and water. You can also keep meat, fruit, and raw veggies in the cooler. Remember to get a garbage bag for all the trash.

First Aid Kit: An essential for all long journeys, first aid kits can be bought or made. Simply put your antiseptics, ointments, bandages, and aspirins in a plastic bag. Personally, I like to carry a hand cleanser and a sunscreen along with it.

A Journal: Ok, this is not really indispensable, but carrying a journal allows you to pen down your thoughts. It is great for people wanting to memorize the little details of their journey.

In addition to this, you can find a list of things that you can also take along with you. A host of other stuff for your entertainment needs, like a portable DVD player, a supply of books and magazines, portable board games, or a laptop are some great trip accessories. The most important thing is to travel light, so that you can enjoy and have a relaxing, fun trip, without having to bother about the pile of stuff lying in your car.

What to Wear on a Cruise

The mention of a cruise, paints a picture of one enjoying a lazy holiday, sunbathing by the side of the pool of a luxurious cruise. However, for those who have actually gone though the brochures of various cruises, with a serious intent of going on one, will realize that a cruise vacation is not all about lying in your swimwear soaking up the sun.

Cruising can be a very glamorous way of holidaying, especially if it is a large liner that you are eying. Whether big or small, every cruise has an evening or two, where one has to be in formal wear. Other than that, one can be casually or formally dressed. Know the dress code for the day, and following it elegantly.

Cruise Wear

After one has gone through the brochures of the various cruises, and finally decided on a cruise that suits the budget and taste, the next daunting task is to decide what to wear. Cruise wear falls under three categories – formal, informal, and casual. Let us understand what each of these categories mean.

  • Formal: Formal evenings can be a treat for the eyes. This calls for both, men and women to flaunt their good taste in dressing. Women could wear an elegant evening gown or cocktail dress. For men, a dark suit and a tie, with formal shoes is the best attire. Women could save the most flattering jewelry and heels for this night.
  • Informal: The dress code for most of the evenings on cruise ships is informal. Men could wear a collared shirt and a jacket, maybe a sports jacket. In some ships, men might have to wear a tie too. It is best to refer to the ship’s document to understand the dress code. Women could dress up nattily in a pant outfit or dressier clothes. Most liners have replaced the term informal with the term ‘resort casual attire’ which is more formal than casual but still does not require men to wear a coat and tie.
  • Casual: Casual wear is meant for comfort. This is the occasion one can be dressed in the most relaxed way. Swimwear is expected when one is by the pool or on the beach during the day. If one is planning to take a tour of the local markets along the shore, or venture further into the mainland, a pair of shorts coupled with polo style shirts or tee shirts and a pair of comfortable sandals is the best attire. In the evenings, men could wear slacks topped with polo or sports shirts, whereas women could wear a comfortable pant outfit, tops and skirts or any sporty dress.

Accessories

If you are on a cruise vacation, you are definitely going to spend a lot of time out in the sun. There is no better occasion than while on a cruise trip to bring out your beautiful wide brimmed hats. Don’t get the plain ones. Pick the ones with beads or flowers.

Cruise trips are also a good time to wear your jewelry. With some clever selection of bangles, necklaces and earrings, women could surely jazz up their light outfits during casual wear, without going overboard with these accessories.

As far as footwear is concerned, while you could pack in a pair of smart heels (for women) and formal shoes (for men) for the formal evening wear, a pair of tennis shoes or walking shoes is a must. When on a cruise, one may have to climb separate decks to access various amenities on the ship. Whether one is just walking on the deck or climbing up the stairs, a pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes are very comfortable.

What to Pack for Backpacking Trips

Packing on a Budget

If you are planning a long backpacking trip in Europe, South America, or elsewhere, you have probably started to think about what to pack. Usually, backpacking trips involve a lot of travel by bus, train, or even hitchhiking, and getting from one place to another can often mean getting as close as possible and then walking the rest of the way. The reason for this is that backpackers are traveling on a budget and usually don’t want to rent a car or hire a taxi to take them everywhere they need to go. Traveling on a budget means packing light, and when preparing for a backpacking trip this can be one of the most challenging tasks.

Half the Clothes, Twice the Money

A handy rule of thumb for all types of travel is to bring half as many clothes as you think you need and twice as much money as you think you need. Unless you have a natural talent for packing light and being thrifty, it is probably a good idea to follow this advice. For almost all backpackers, from beginners to seasoned veterans, money is the first thing that runs out and excess clothing ends up being a burden. You can wash clothes on the road, whether in laundry facilities, bathroom sinks, or a local (clean) creek, but it’s much more difficult to come by extra money in a pinch.

Empty Space

Once you’ve cut the clothes you plan to pack in half, you will probably notice that you have a little bit of extra room in your backpack. Although it might be tempting to fill your pack to the gills before you leave for your trip, consider leaving a little bit of empty space. There are two reasons that this is a good idea. First, as you travel, you are likely to pick up a few new things. Even if you are not the sort of person who collects souvenirs, you may be given gifts by fellow travelers, you may acquire new books to read on the road, and you may realize that you’ve forgotten to pack something crucial and choose to acquire it as you go. If you find that you already have enough space in your backpack for these new acquisitions, you will thank yourself.

Packing in a Hurry

The second reason to leave a little extra room in your pack is that, on the road, you often don’t have time or energy to keep unpacking and repacking in the most efficient possible way. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably tried several different packing configurations already, just out of excitement for your trip. Although it’s good to work packing strategies out in advance, there will surely be some days when you just want to throw everything in the pack haphazardly and hit the road. Having a little bit of extra space in your backpack will give you the flexibility to repack in a hurry if you need to.

Odds and Ends

Every seasoned traveler has a certain number of things they think are indispensable for backpacking trips. The only way to discover what your unique must-have items are is to travel yourself and find out what you keep needing or wanting over and over again. If you are new to backpacking, you will probably hear some packing suggestions that don’t make any sense at all to you. It’s okay if you don’t see why 30 rubber bands could come in handy on the road, but don’t shun all these suggestions automatically. Consider packing some things you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, and you may be surprised at what you end up using. If you don’t find a use for them, you can always get rid of them later.

In addition to lots of rubber bands (useful for everything!), here are some suggestions for useful, multi-purpose items that you can pack without wasting too much space: plastic bags of various sizes, a padlock (this is a must if you plan to stay in hostels), a deck of playing cards, a sewing kit, a knife, a travel towel, a small flashlight, and a small pad of notepaper. Other backpacking and travel websites can be consulted for more comprehensive lists of suggestions, but with these items in your pack, there is not much you won’t be able to handle!