Wherever you are, live, dwell or visit – it’s likely that the location makes a perfect candidate for a road trip. Here I share tips to prepare and organise for your next road adventure…
Wherever you are, live, dwell or visit – it’s likely that the location makes a perfect candidate for a road trip. Experience the true character of the country by exploring its roads. Road trips are particularly eye opening as it really showcases the landscape, the neighbourhoods and allows you to experience the ‘sense’ of the place.
Living in the Philippines, upon hearing the word “road”, one cringes considering the awful traffic that cripples the city of Manila, but – and it took me a long while to realise the truth of this – the Philippines is so rich in culture, tradition and land that it would be such a pity not to hop in a car, and explore my diverse country.
Recently, I travelled to the mountain province of Ifugao in the Northern region of Luzon of the Philippines. Upon spending five days straight travelling around by car during the day and staying in modest accommodations during the night, I picked up a few tricks. Mind you, most of these have been realised from my personal experience, all of which weren’t exactly pleasant. Take for instance, my experience of noticing a strange sound coming from one of my tires and later discovering a piece of metal lodged deep in my tire. And having to, in the rain, on my fourth day travelling, change a tire for the first time in my life (in a pencil skirt and off shoulder top of all things). Glamorous. So I’m sharing my advice so you don’t have to (or can avoid) these unpleasant but memorable happenings. (Your welcome).
Below are my tips for organising and preparing a few key things will ensure a comfortable drive, without the hiccups, that allows you to turn all your attention to the beautiful mountain side views and to make your trip, a trip to remember for all the right reasons…
Equip your Car:
A few items can help to equip your car for comfort and safety. Make sure that your car has been services, has all manuals, road assistance contacts, a spare tire and a first aid kit on hand. As I mentioned earlier, upon driving over a particularly rough patch of road that was still under construction, a piece of metal became lodged in my car’s tire. We were passing through relatively rural country but luckily we had everything we needed to solve the issue. (Phew.) You don’t want to be caught in a sticky situation so its always (always!) good to be prepared…just incase!
Trash bags are a must for keeping your car clean. Also a good air freshner is great for freshening up the cabin of your car, especially when you don’t want the smell of lunch to linger forever. I love opening the windows while driving, especially through scenic country where the roads are windy. For those who are prone to dizziness the fresh air helps and having the window open makes you feel more present in the scene, rather than a spectator watching through a barrier (like tv).
I’m particularly prone to lower back soreness from sitting for too long so to avoid achy muscles, I pack a towel, roll it and use it as a lumbar support. Win! Plus the accommodations I stayed in Ifugao as they are basic, did not have complimentary towels – so its a good idea to bring your own and save the cost. A pillow and blanket are your best friends when the z’s come-a-knocking so its a great idea to pack them too. To do a little bit for the environment, pack a large water bottle to keep in the cabin of the car along with a large gallon in the boot. This way you can just refill as you go and save yourself (and the planet) from buying multiple, individual plastic bottles. Tip: You can also freeze your wattle bottle the night before to have a large ice block to cool your water.
Pack Your Snacks:
Many of us fall into the pitfalls of convenience food while travelling where lack of variety and healthy options force us to eat food that may cause us to not feel our best during the drive. I recommend packing your own cooler and snacks to avoid eating fast food. Some of my favourite snack options are: homemade hummus with homemade pita bread and veggie sticks, trail mix, fruit, tea & a thermos of hot water, sandwiches and dark chocolate. Tip: Frozen water bottles make great ice blocks to keep your cooler cold! Cold water and cold food equals a happy traveller.
Cash over Credit:
Don’t rely on there being a convenient atm in the rural parts of the country. Cash is best when travelling to the provinces as most have very basic systems that run on cash alone. Having enough cash on hand for all your costs such as accommodation, gas, food & activities will avoid the unsavoury situation of unusable credit cards. Be sure to keep it in a safe place! It’s also a good idea to have a little extra as emergency money, stored safely and inconspicuously in your car.
Load Your Phone:
Navigation apps are a must when travelling, the two I used were Waze and Google Maps. Along with your selection of games, load up you favourite music or create a playlist for yourself on Spotify. A great playlist makes the road trip. Soundcloud also has great 1-2hr long mixes of house and acoustic music thats great for filling the car with great tunes. Unfortunately, you’ll be stuck if your phone dies so a power source is a must. Instead of a power bank, buy a cheap car charger that plugs straight into your car and accepts all usb devices.
Don’t Rely on those Bars:
My cellular signal dropped out quite a bit from my phone (thank goodness your route stays active on google maps and waze even if the signal is nowhere to be found). But to be safe, make an out an outline of your route beforehand to save yourself from a potential nightmare of getting lost.
Keep the tunes playing:
In the case that your cellular data does give up and music services like radio and Spotify aren’t available, its always a good idea to have a playlist on your phone. When travelling with others, its great to have a variety of genres to suit everyones taste. Below is my favourite playlist of music right now:
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF / JESS GLYNNE
(NOTE: THE ENTIRE JESS GLYNNE ALBUM IS A MUST HAVE)
ONCE IN A WHILE / TIMEFLIES
WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE / ADELE
MINE / BEYONCE
LUSH LIFE / ZARA LARSON
LOOKIN 4 MYSELF / USHER
SHE’S SO MEAN / MATCHBOX 20
WHITE WALLS / MACKLEMORE
DIRTY HARRY / GRACE
BEEN YOU / JUSTIN BEIBER
GHOST / ELLA HENDERSON
KNOCKS YOU DOWN / KERI HILSON
BONES / THE KILLERS
BROOKLYN BABY / LANA DEL REY
HOLD BACK THE RIVER / JAMES BAY
HOLLOW /TORI KELLY
STRIP / JESSIE J
THAT GIRL / JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Above all, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Despite its long hours, road tripping offers something that flights don’t – the opportunity to be interactive with your surroundings. You can stop whenever you like, whenever you please, feel the wind in your face, sing along to the radio and wave at passerby-ers. Enjoy every moment. Happy road tripping!