Edit ModuleShow Tags

Road-Tripping Must-Haves


Published:

Commuting over 60 miles round-trip to middle and high school made me incredibly comfortable with driving. Add in regular four-hour trips to my mom's hometown, six hours to visit relatives in Milwaukee, and the occasional vacation drive even farther, and road trips are basically ingrained in me now. (Twice one summer I drove from Minnesota to Columbus, Ohio—once alone! No problem. Bring on the open roads!)

The trick to a successful road trip is being prepared. Here are my top five must-haves:

1. Mood Music

Music is an obvious option, but key in on "mood." Variety is key to work your way through a long journey. Often I'll listen to a little mellow Enya or classical as a journey begins, because I either want to think about my work day or plot the fun weekend ahead. It's the lack of distraction that's really desired. Then there's music as an activity, where I want to really sing along with the artists. And of course, if traveling with others, a variety of options is good based on many tastes.

2. Mental Stimulation

Music can only get you so far, though. I like books on CD for really long trips (a recent great find being "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. What drama, and great voices doing the reading! It's a play, with your own imagination as the set).  And podcasts captivate too. You kill time and learn something! Recommendation: "Stuff You Should Know" podcasts from Howstuffworks.com, available on iTunes for download. They spend about 30 minutes examining a particular issue, explaining the history behind it, and how it works.

Don't forget the kids: Movies are nice, but kid-friendly apps can often distract even better, and teach a thing or too, if not dexterity. Try apps from Toca Boca, Duck Duck Moose, Night & Day Studios, loudcrow and Thump Makes Games.

3. Sustenance.

Again, obvious, but keep in mind: Food can distract! Sunflower seeds are always a nice no-hands "task." But overall, think easy (tricky packaging bad!) and little-to-no mess (do you really want cheesy Dorito-or-Cheeto fingers all over your driving wheel?). Also, something warm and cold to drink is nice, based on season, mood, and level of awakeness!

4. Security.

Phone chargers. First Aid kits. AAA. Maps! They may sound old school, but are absolutely essential and worth lugging in your trunk year-round for the one and only time you need it. Plus, Internet can be spotty once outside the metro. Be prepared.

5. Time.

In the end, rushing isn't fun. And we all know life is full of surprises...and flat tires. A trip is always bound to go better if you're not rushed. Take the pressure off and work in extra time than it takes. Then you can make an extra stop, stretch your legs, or even pull over for quick snooze if your eyelids are getting too heavy.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags