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The leaves are falling—and so are gas prices! Seize the moment and enjoy a beautiful fall foliage road trip. Whether it’s an afternoon drive to admire the scenery or a multi-day trip that covers hundreds of miles, there are some items which are simply essential to making your trip safer, more comfortable, and more pleasant.
Kicking back in the RoadTrip Rocker™ to enjoy the breathtaking foliage. Photo: PNW Happy Hikers.
Every road trip needs snacks—it’s a fact! When spending most of your time in the car, you’ll want to prioritize mess-free and non-perishable snacks that are easy to eat with one hand. Luckily, there are plenty of options in this category: think pretzels, nuts, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, jerky, and fresh or dried fruit. Aside from being satisfying to munch on, these can give you a boost of energy for an impromptu hike, if the opportunity arises.
Most experienced road-trippers will tell you that while it’s great to choose healthy snacks, you should also have a few of your favorite treats stashed away just in case morale starts to dip. Whether it’s gummy bears, a candy bar, or that fruity cereal you’re nostalgic for, a little treat can make a big impact during a long trip.
Food and drink can take up a surprising amount of space in the car, so look for ways to simplify what you pack. For instance, your autumn road trip might not require a bulky cooler, thanks to the lower temperatures. But if you’re planning an Oktoberfest-inspired beer and cheese picnic, a smaller cooler or insulated bag will probably be adequate. Likewise, you can never have too much water, but a case of bottled water takes up valuable trunk space. Bring your own reusable water bottle (we love the classic Hydra line from ORCA) to save space while preventing plastic waste.
Of course, the ultimate goal of a fall foliage road trip is to enjoy the changing of the leaves and the crisp, cool weather while it lasts—it’s a yearly ritual which helps us make the most of the season. While you’re gazing out the car windows, you may also want to have an audiobook, podcasts, or road trip music playlist lined up to listen to. If you have children along on the trip, plan on a few travel games they can play—a road trip scavenger hunt is one that both kids and adults can get into.
To document your trip, you may also want to bring along a good camera. While you could take pictures right from the car, better photo opportunities can be found by pulling over and getting out of the car. This also gives you a chance to stretch your legs with a spontaneous hike or nature walk! Make sure you’re prepared to step out of the car by wearing or packing a few lightweight layers (a fleece jacket is a versatile option) and sturdy hiking shoes, as well as a poncho or rain jacket, umbrella, sunglasses, scarf, mittens, and warm hat. Autumn weather can be unpredictable—so your best bet is to be prepared for it all. You may also want to bring a lightweight daypack to keep your hands free for any adventures, as well as a pair of binoculars to help you get a better look at wildlife you may encounter.
Even if a hike isn’t on your agenda, make time to stop and appreciate the scenery. We think this is best done in the comfort of an outdoor rocker like the RoadTrip Rocker™. The smooth rocking motion makes it perfect for enjoying a beautiful view, taking a relaxing break from driving, or just for having a snack. It also folds compactly and slips into the included carry bag, so you can easily tuck it on the backseat floor or slide it in the trunk when it’s time to hit the road again.
It’s a beautiful sight—the RoadTrip Rocker™, that is! Photo: PNW Happy Hikers.
Of course, don’t forget the true essentials that should remain in your car year-round. These include an emergency car kit (flares, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.) and an emergency first aid kit (aspirin, bandages, etc.). Even if your vehicle is short on space, these important items should remain accessible in the trunk, as they could mean the difference between a small hiccup and a major fiasco on your trip.
Sure, your car is probably pretty comfortable—but is it cozy? Because this is an autumn road trip, where the weather might get gloomy from time to time, it’s extra important to make the car your “happy place.” Start by making sure the car stays clean, since a sticky steering wheel and cupholders full of crumbs can instantly kill those good-time road trip vibes. Stock up on napkins, wet wipes, and trash bags, plus hand sanitizer and mints or gum, which can help you feel fresher in between pit stops.
You should also have chargers for all electronic devices, as well as a sturdy mount for your cell phone, if you’ll be using it for GPS. For longer trips, a travel neck pillow can make passengers more comfortable; earplugs and an eye mask can be helpful if you need to catch up on sleep while not driving. A few blankets are also great to have on hand—they can make the car more comfortable (especially for that “always cold” person), and are useful to have outside as well.
And while not really an “essential,” we definitely recommend investing in some organizing gear to help control the chaos in your car. Backseat organizers can keep important items at hand, prevent liquids from spilling, and even hold the kids’ tablets. In the trunk, organizing caddies, packing cubes, or even just some simple storage bins can prevent you from having to unpack the entire vehicle just to find something.
The rocking motion of the RoadTrip Rocker™ helps your body relax after a day behind the wheel.