Road trip season might start in summer, but in our family it continues through fall. Piling into the car to flee to the beach or mountains continues and — added to that — are day trips and overnights to catch festivals, as well as journeys near and far to visit family and friends. Over the years, I’ve devised the below methods for making those hours confined to the car a little less uncomfortable and a lot more luxurious.
1) Instead of packing the same old, boring cold cut sandwiches and chips, visit your favorite gourmet sandwich shop, such as La Boulangerie on Magazine Street, for something more delectable. You’ll be hard pressed to wait until lunch to tuck into ham and Swiss folded into a sliced, freshly baked baguette or a scrumptious panini. Both travel well in a cooler. Muffulettas from your favorite place to grab one are also a great choice and highly shareable. Pro-tip: Avoid choosing po' boys, because while delicious, they can be quite messy. Bring along fresh fruit, sliced and snack bag-sized veggies and a few bottles or cans of your favorite beverages and you have a veritable picnic on wheels. Or, plan a stop in a scenic area for an actual picnic.
2) Cloth napkins, moist wipes and hand sanitizer, tissues and a few small trash bags will help keep the passengers and the car clean and tidy. (If you are traveling with your cat and missed this post, give it a read for a few of my favorite finds that have made our trips with Mr. Percy a lot easier.)
3) Be sure to pack a few car-friendly games and entertainments if you are traveling with children. Card games, travel versions of Scrabble and a favorite book are all good choices and might keep the electronic device usage at bay for at least a few minutes at a time.
4) Create fun and peppy play lists in a variety of genres.
5) Put a couple of throw blankets, plush pillows and sleep masks in the car for slightly more comfortable napping. The blankets also come in handy for passengers who are sensitive to chilly air conditioning.
Happy — and as lavish as you wish — trails to you for this last hurrah of summer, and as we enter into fall.
Do you think road trips are the work of the devil or do you have tips to share for ways to make road travel easier and more deluxe? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share.
(Note: An earlier version of this post published on June 4, 2014.)