A cornerstone of Maxim and I's relationship is road trips. And by cornerstone, I mean that they've been markers in big parts of our life and have always held some of our most special memories.
One of my favorite memories? "Kidnapping" Maxim and taking him on a road trip with no map, no destination in mind. We drove south through skyline drive and kept going until we hit South of the Border. It was late. The tacky neon signs all lit up, but the parking lot empty. The giant gift shops were uncomfortably bright like the hallways of a hospital. But we loved it. We kept driving south, deciding to cut over to the coast and find a hotel. We ended up lost down a dirt road that seemed endless. We lost signal (and therefore Google Maps), and decide to keep driving until we hit a dead end. We eventually popped out right by the coast next to Myrtle Beach — it was the middle of off-season. Deciding this was our destination, we hopped onto Hotel Tonight to find the cheapest room available.
We spent the next 36 hours playing a tournament of mini-golf, asking locals where to go, what to eat. Upon embarking on our return journey, we continued to find attractions to get lost with. I forced Maxim to turn off for selfies with "The World's Largest Crab," and, feeling peckish, I found a local (but famous), family owned snow cone stand — literally just on the side of a very busy road. We had piña colada cones with bananas.
It was a fabulous adventure, mostly because it was spontaneous and had no set agenda and focused on us getting lost and exploring places we might not have stopped at otherwise.
Long story short, over the trips, we've developed a sort of "unspoken rules of the road trip" and totally swear by them. But I want to hear your rules, your stories, too. So scroll down, read, reflect and let me know how your rules differ.
There will always be coffee
I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory. Coffee is life — especially when you're doing full-day road trips. Maxim and I love grabbing the mini chameleon cold brew iced coffees because they're super easy to bring with us wherever we go.
But hydration is key
I usually have two or three water bottles plus a BIG bottle of coconut water.
Silence is golden (sometimes)
Early in our relationship, during our first road trip, Maxim and I discussed talking vs. not talking all the time. I felt weird because I just wanted to be silent and read and stare out the window. Don't be silly, he said, that's totally chill. Sometimes, silence is golden. And when I'm in a silent mood and Maxim isn't, I bring along these amazing bluetooth headphones from Sudio Sweden to listen to white noise while Maxim listens to a podcast.
Maxim and I always have a plastic bag for trash, band-aids, toilet paper + paper towels. But I also use GasBuddy, an app that tells you where gas stations (and other amenities) are near-by. It's awesome, because if we see that there's not going to be a bathroom for a long stretch, we'll make sure to do a bathroom break ASAP.
Biggest lesson: Always have napkins or paper towels. You never know what's going to happen.
Comfort rules for any trip over 4 hours
This is definitely more for me and for Maxim. If we have an end destination, I'll bring clothes to change into. Otherwise, I'm usually in running leggings, a tank and a big, comfy hoodie (I just bought this one from KJP and I'm OBSESSED). I always bring layers, socks, a pillow + blanket since you never know. OH — and slides so that you're not fiddling with shoes at gas stations.
Also: no makeup. It's a big one for me. On long road trips, I just let my face chill for the day and rock some mirrored shades (my current faves).
Beware of the hanger
Easily one of the most important road trip rules (for us, at least). I'm one of those people that gets hangry real fast. And when I get hangry, I get picky and judge-y and it's kind of a slippery slope. WHICH IS WHY we always have a big repository (usually my Madewell tote) of snacks that will be good for long hauls. Though you can eat vegan at virtually any gas station, it's always safe to have stuff with you. But we always try to stop for real meals — lettuce-wrapped burgers, quinoa salad with kale, etc.
Some of my faves:
- almonds and (unsalted) mixed nuts
- popcorn — particularly skinny pop
- chex mix
- veggie chips + apple chips
- brami beans (don't knock 'em til you try 'em)
- vegan jerky
- oreos (for that sweet tooth)
- dried edamame
- sugar snap peas crisps
Shotgun is DJ — unless their playlist sucks
So when there's only two of you in the car, it might kind of hard to decide whether their playlist sucks or not. But still. Make sure everyone is on the same page about music tastes and vibes. The best playlists — in my opinion — is one that can be turned down and be used as background music, but also blasted when a great jam comes on. DJ should be in charge of making sure that music is playing, that the tech around it is working and that music is not interrupted by insta notifications of phone calls (oops).
When in doubt, get the GPS out
Honestly, though, I swear by using a TomTom or built-in navigational system when on road trips — NOT an iPhone. I'm always busy using my phone for music, making an epic instagram story, texting, snapping selfies, etc. Plus, if you're anything like me, you're terrible at giving directions. Side story: I'm infamous for telling people "go LEFT RIGHT here," leaving the driver bewildered. Or I'll vaguely gesture, Miranda Priestley style, assuming the drivers knows that I mean, "Bear right for half a mile, then turn left at the light." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
ALWAYS go to the roadside attraction
I mean, isn't it obvious? If you're going on a road trip, the best thing to do is stop at those weird roadside attractions, or the random fruit stand and chat the farmer owner. I always make sure to budget in TONS of time for this — I use two apps when we're on the road too. Roadside America has tons and tons of roadside attractions, their location and rating for how worthy it is. It's like yelp for road trips. And if you're a big planner, check out Roadtrippers. It lets you pre-plan your road trip, download it, share it, use in conjunction with Google Maps, etc.
So there you have it. Honestly, though. Do you agree? What should we add? Let me know in the comments below