Health | Wellness | Yoga | Chicago

Road Trip Essentials

What’s on your bucket list this summer? I bet a road trip is one of them! I don’t know about you guys but often times I say I want to go on a road trip and then I never get around to it… here’s your motivation to plan one and go! There’s so many cool places you can go to via car and if you’re prepared, the only expenses are gas and food stops!


This past weekend, I road tripped to Manchester, Tennessee. It was an unexpected road trip and I made the trip to go pick up one of my friends, but I definitely made the best of it. Hopefully, I’ll make the time to go on another (shorter) road trip this summer. For my road trip to Tennessee, we were in the car for a total of 17 hours and we only stopped for food one time, which meant I definitely had to come prepared in terms of what I was going to bring.


This post also serves as an overview about products that I’m loving lately!


You can never have too many snacks!



I would argue that the most important thing to bring on a road trip are good snacks, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m the kind of person that gets pretty crabby when I’m hungry, so when hunger strikes on the highway I need food in order to be pleasant to the other patrons in the car. Also, depending on if you are familiar with the route you’re taking or not, you never know what kind of food places are going to be accessible on the way. Often times the restaurants that are available off of the highway are fast food and unhealthy choices.


My snack bag that I actually brought in the car (a small lululemon bag serves as the perfect lunch box) had about ten times the amount of snacks shown in the picture above, but these were some of the best!


Fruit: The first thing I was sure to bring was fresh fruit. Apple are easy because they don’t need to be refrigerated. I also brought a TON of pre-cut fresh fruit like pineapple, berries, mango, and fresh cherries from Whole Foods and stored it in a small cooler.


Cookies:  Duh! Simple Mills Ready-to-Eat Cookies are the best snack ever, but beware, you WILL finish the whole box in like, two hours. If you aren’t aware of the Simple Mills brand, you’re missing out. Their cookies are gluten free, vegan, paleo, and delicious with clean, simple ingredients. I brought the cinnamon one’s on my road trip because Whole Foods was all out of my favorite kind: Toasted Pecan.


Bars: they’re your best friend on a road trip, but there are SO many misleading and unhealthy “granola” or protein bars out there that you have to be careful. Really, the only brands of bars I will eat are LaraBar, RX Bar, and Primal Kitchen Collagen Bars. The Cashew cookie is my favorite of the LaraBars because the fruity ones are too sweet. For RX Bars, they’re all amazing and very filling, but my favorite one is probably Maple Sea Salt. For the Primal Kitchen bars, I like all of the kinds! What’s so special about the Primal Kitchen bars? They have collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue from cows and fish. It might sound weird, but the benefits are ASTOUNDING including improved immune system function, and improved strength in hair skin, and nails. Collagen is also extremely filling which makes for a great bar to take on the go.


Jerky: Is it really a road trip if you don’t have beef jerky? Epic Bars are the best  (paleo) “beef” jerky out there. The company as a whole is amazingly ethical when it comes to how they treat the animals that they harvest and all of the animals are grass-fed. They have beef, chicken, bison, and other varieties. These jerky’s are a great way to incorporate protein and meat on your road trip without needing a cooler.


Nuts: I could never go a day without nut butter! Which is why I brought little squeeze packets of Arisana Almond butter and Cashew Butter on the road. These on-the-go packets are awesome for putting on bars, fruit, granola, or even just eating by themselves. Plain nuts by themselves or any kind of trail mix also serve as an awesome snack.


Dessert: I also HAD to bring a Coconut Secret bar just in case I was in the mood for dessert. It’s literally just coconut butter covered in dark chocolate, but they’re my latest obsession (especially the mint one). They’re paleo, vegan, low glycemic, etc. I kept it in the cooler because I like to eat them cold!


Stay hydrated!


Drinks are one of the most important things to bring on a road trip because it is SO important to stay hydrated, and so easy to get dehydrated in the car. You’re breathing in stale air for hours on end and a lot of people also experience car sickness which can really be a bummer. I’m convinced that a lot of people wouldn’t get car sick if they stayed more hydrated in the car! Yes, maybe you have to stop for more bathroom breaks, but I would take pit stops over feeling sick any day.




Water: This is a super obvious one, bring TONS of water, I would even say bring a whole case of water and pop a couple in the cooler at a time. You also don’t even need to put them in the cooler, just have a bottle of water next to you at all times and drink up! For this road trip, I decided to bring a giant bottle of Alkaline Water from Whole Foods (another one of my latest obsessions). Why Alkaline water? Alkaline water is different from tap water because it’s less acidic. It has a pH of 9.5, meaning that it has a lower concentration of hydrogen ions (regular water has a pH of 7). One of the benefits of alkaline water is that it soothes acid reflux which can be very helpful if you tend to get nauseous on long car rides. Another benefit is that it increases oxygen levels which leads to improved energy and metabolism. Extra energy is something I’m always searching for when I’m laying in the backseat with a headache.


Juice?: Juice isn’t the best thing to bring on a road trip because it is very sugary which can be dehydrating. However, WTRMLN WTR is AMAZING. It’s basically cold-pressed “watermelon juice” but the only ingredients are watermelon, and lemon juice. Watermelons are made up of mostly water anyways and are EXTREMELY hydrating fruits. This drink also has no water added so you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. I’m not sure which stores carry it but I got mine at Whole Foods.


Kombucha: I can’t go more than a couple days without kombucha so I had to bring some on the trip. I chose the GT’s Kombucha Gingerade. Ginger settles the stomach, so I decided to bring it along just in case my stomach started getting upset. I also brought kombucha because I needed to bring a source of caffeine just in case I had to drive through the night.


Caffeine: Rebbl drinks are one of my favorite products lately for so many reasons. The ingredients are on point, and some of them contain (anti-stress) adaptogens. (See post about adaptogens/recipe). Again, I needed a source of caffeine and I do not drink coffee, so I decided to bring along a Matcha and Coconut milk drink. Rebbl also has coffee drinks, or chocolatey drinks with added protein which would both be great for road tripping as well.


Must Have Toiletries

If you’re making a long road trip, I’m sure you’ll have a separate suitcase full of all of your clothes and toiletries, but these are some things that I suggest keeping accessible and near you in the car.


Concealer: If you can, I would suggest going makeup free on a road trip because you don’t want to clog your pores with makeup for long period of time. However, I have moderately bad acne, so I don’t feel comfortable wearing no makeup at all. This NU Evolution Camouflage Cream is the BEST. It’s great for covering problem areas and it’s completely non toxic. Just in case your makeup rubs off in the car, this is great to have on hand.


Contacts: If you wear contacts or glasses, it’s always a really good idea to wear your glasses in the car. However, if you’d rather wear contacts, I always keep an extra pair right in my bag because sometimes I like to take a nap in the car and we all know the struggles of sleeping with contacts in.


Deodorant: being in the car for long periods of time can mean than you develop a not so great odor. Be prepared and respectful to others in the car and bring some deodorant! When I switched to non-toxic beauty, I tested several deodorants and Primally Pure Sensitive Lavender Deodorant was my favorite. It honestly lasts the entire day and it smells amazing.


Oils: If you can, bring all of your essential oils on the trip! They all have so many amazing and unique benefits. I chose to bring my two Roll-on oils from Wolfbait in Logan Square, Chicago (a really cool, unique shop; worth checking out). I brought the Lavender one so that I could use it as a perfume or as a stress reliever (by inhaling it through the nose). I also brought the peppermint roll-on in case I was experiencing any pain. Peppermint oil is an amazing natural pain reliever for any injuries or cramps.


Meds: It’s always good to have some medicine on hand just in case somebody gets hurt or sick. Personally, I am very against taking medications such as Advil or Asprin, but I do bring some Advil on any road trip for emergency situations or for others. One of my new favorite products are the Bulletproof Coconut Charcoal pills. The bottle says Gas Relief on it, but it is amazing for settling your stomach if you ate something that upset your stomach or made you bloated. These are so important on a road trip because you never know where you’ll be stopping for food and it may be unsettling; I know my stomach starts to act up when I’m travelling or when I eat at new places.



Entertain Yourself!


Electronics: Obviously you’ll have your phone to entertain you, but staring at your phone for hours on end can be harmful for the eyes and brain. Speaking of phones, I HIGHLY recommend bringing several car chargers for you phone because somehow, there’s never enough to go around.


Books: Personally, reading in the car for long periods of time gives me headaches, but I can read for short periods of time in the car. You also never know where you might have to stop and rest, and if you’re bored you can always crack open a book. Two of my favorite books right now are Fat For Fuel by Dr. Joseph Mercola (my fave doc out there) and The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (one of my favorite comedians). Fat for Fuel is a great read for when I am in the reasearch-y mood, and the Schumer book is hilarious and honestly just a great form of entertainment for when I’m in more of a chilled out mood.


Podcasts: Ever since I got into podcasts, I HAVE to listen to them almost everytime I’m in the car. They’re so entertaining and they make time go by very quickly. 8 hours in the car is only 8 podcast episodes! I am very very new to podcasts as of right now, but I do have a couple favorites. Actually Adultish is an awesome podcast because it’s so diverse. Christina from Addicted to Lovely is the host and she talks about everything from everyday college girl problems to serious topics about health regarding body image, eating disorders, and food. She’s also had some awesome guests. (I’m not just saying this because I intern for the podcast, it’s genuinely my favorite one). Another awesome podcast that I recently discovered is Jordan Younger’s The Balanced Blonde // Soul on Fire Podcast. Jordan is one of the coolest yogi’s out there and she also has some very awesome guests. If you’re in the mood for some brain food, Bulletproof Radio by Dave Asprey (an extremely knowledgable human) is my favorite podcast regarding health and diet information and I always learn new and fascinating information while I’m listening.


Music: Obviously, listening to music on your road trip is a much, don’t forget an aux chord by the way! I use Spotify to listen to my music, and making playlists in advance is always a good idea. I like to listen to mostly chill songs on the road, but then I always have to throw in some rap to wake me up! Checkout my “long drives & feeling good” playlist below! (you could also give me a follow while you’re at it! My username is: SammyConrad545)



Sleep: If you’re tired, rest your eyes! The cornfields will still be there when you wake up. I always nap on road trips when it’s not my turn to be driving and the route isn’t exactly scenic. Don’t forget your pillow and a blanket though! I suggest bringing multiple pillows because nothing is worse than trying to fall asleep with your head on the hard window. I also suggest a blanket because somehow, everyone can’t agree on a temperature in the car, and it’ll make for a more comfortable nap.



Where should I go?


If you’re new to road tripping, there’s some super close spots that are super fun to go to that take less than  a day.


The Indiana Dunes

The dunes are one of my favorite places to be. Whether you want to go hiking in the dunes or lay out in the sun, it makes for a great day trip and if you come prepared, you’ll have all your snacks and drinks ready for the beach as well.


Starved Rock

If you love to hike and haven’t checked out Starved Rock, you definitely should. There are so many options for which trails you want to hike on and every time I go there I always find a new place to go exploring. You could easily make it there and back in half a day, depending on how long you want to hike.


If anyone has any ideas for any other places to road trip to, PLEASE comment! I’m always looking for new places to see and explore. Road tripping much farther distances can also be really fun and much more convenient than flying. I’ve road tripped to Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and a couple other places as well. If you have the time, make your next adventure a road trip!


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