- Insider’s reporters have driven a combined 24,800 miles across the UK, Scotland, and England.
- They have compiled a list of the most important items they never travel without.
- From a good quality camera to a car phone holder, here they all are.
Road trips are certainly a lot of fun — if you do them the right.
But depending on the route and distance, or whether you are the driver or passenger, they can also be tiring. One thing that can also impact the quality of your trip is what you pack, which is why Insider’s lifestyle reporters have compiled a list of the most important items they’ll never travel without.
Our reporters have driven a combined 24,800 miles in a range of destinations in the US, Scotland, and England.
From a good quality camera to a car phone holder, here are the best items they’d recommend to make your next road trip the smoothest one yet.
From the Southwest to the Northeast, Joey Hadden has traveled more than 20,000 miles on road trips around the US.
Hadden has always been prone to motion sickness, but even if you’re not, driving through the mountains could make you feel queasy. So she recommends packing the non-drowsy version of Dramamine.
Although you should talk to a healthcare professional before taking it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that Dramamine as well as Benadryl are commonly used for motion sickness, though both are also known for causing drowsiness.
If you need caffeine to stay alert on the road like Hadden, she recommends packing Mio Energy, a flavorful boost to add to water, instead of coffee because it keeps her hydrated.
When you’re driving on open roads, you never know when you’ll lose service, so she always downloads playlists and podcasts to keep herself entertained.
Insider’s senior lifestyle reporter Mikhaila Friel has traveled around 1,000 miles on various road trips across the UK, including a seven-hour journey from her home in Glasgow, Scotland, to London, England.
She recently embarked on a shorter, three-hour journey from Glasgow to Kilberry on the west coast of Scotland with a group of friends.
While not all road trips are scenic, Friel found that there were endless photo opportunities during this particular trip. The group frequently stopped at beautiful hill ranges to take photos, but Friel realized she forgot to bring her camera (which was better quality than her Samsung phone camera).
Luckily, one of her friends brought his Google Pixel phone and captured some fantastic, high-quality images during the group’s pit stops.
It was a reminder that pit stops don’t have to be rushed; if you do your research on where to go they can provide an opportunity to capture some magical moments during your trip. After that experience, Friel vowed to always remember her camera.
On the drive back to Glasgow from Killbery, Friel and her friends got stuck in a major traffic jam that ended up adding a further three hours to their trip, making the drive home a total of six hours.
Friel and the other passengers in the car passed the time by playing card games on their phones, which they had been inspired to download after playing cards earlier in their trip.
It made the waiting more bearable, and the experience taught Friel that you should always come prepared with games or a fun activity to pass the time in case you ever end up driving for longer than initially expected. (Friel only recommends you do this if you aren’t the driver, of course.)
Two years ago, Humphries embarked on a solo drive from New York City to her new home in Denver, Colorado. The 1,800-mile route involved 26 hours of driving, which she did over the course of three days.
While Humphries said she would typically opt for a Snickers bar or basic pretzels on a drive, she went into her grocery store on the hunt for snacks that would hopefully help her stay alert.
She landed on spicy foods like Flaming Hot Cheetos, Takis, and Trader Joe’s Spicy Mochi Rice Nuggets. She knew foods with a kick would help jolt her if she started feeling any bit of exhaustion.
Humphries also picked snacks like sunflower seeds that required some effort to eat. These snacks kept her alert and prevented Humphries from mindlessly eating for hours on end.
While Humphries said that leggings are her typical go-to outfit for short car rides, she strategically wore pairs of flowy pants on her cross-country drive.
She noted that leggings often dig into her legs and can feel constricting after wearing them for hours on end. Meanwhile, flowy pants with an elastic waistband are both comfortable and adaptable to different temperatures.
So whether it’s a long-haul flight or a 1,000-mile drive, flowy pants are a staple.
Over the past year, Noyen has gone on several solo road trips, including to an abandoned ghost town in Dorset three hours away from London, and to a tiny cabin in the woods of South Downs National Park.
As a self-identified nervous driver who can get flustered by voice directions on apps like Google Maps, one of the handiest items that Noyen has invested in for long solo journey’s by car is a phone holder that conveniently sticks to the front car window in front of the steering wheel.
It may look a little nerdy, but having the phone continuously visible throughout a drive helped Noyen stay safe and navigate confidently while following directions by herself.