Living on the Road


Brennen Durka
December 9th, 2021

Living On The Road: A Checklist For Road Trip Enthusiasts

Very few things in life can compare to the thrill that comes from embarking on a road trip. The unadulterated feeling of sunshine washing over you, hair whipping wildly with an assault from the wind, and the sense of calm that can only be derived from taking on the open road is unmatched.

For others, the advantages garnered from a few road trips just aren't enough, so they opt instead to pack their homes, mount their RVs, and live life from one zip code to the next. No more are people being tied to archaic tradition laid out by society to dictate when and how they live.

But like everything else in life, before you undertake your subsequent open road adventure, preparation is paramount. Nothing stands truer than the adage "If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail," and this applies tenfold to road tripping or living on the road.

Before you map all the sunsets and national parks you intend to witness, you need a checklist that covers your essentials and those of your vehicle. After all, you can only truly have a great time when you take all the necessary steps to maintain safety. Nothing turns a roundtrip from frolicking to despair as quickly as circumstances that effective planning could easily avoid.

The Ultimate Road Trip Checklist

For You

  • Clothes - Now, while this may be an obvious no-brainer, many road trippers still fall prey to ineffective pacing. As a rule of thumb, don't pack for where you are, but instead, for all the possible places you may end up. Weather is fickle, and temperatures can change on a whim, so it's prudent to pack a wide variety of clothing items. Light, airy, comfortable clothing for more humid temperatures. Thicker insulated clothing for the colder weather. Additionally, you never know when you will come upon a glistening body of water beckoning you to take a dip, so always have a swimsuit or trunks. Comfort is key. For those taking on the road permanently, it is crucial to pack only those wardrobe items that are absolutely necessary. Space is limited, so pack all your necessities that can adapt to the different weather conditions at all times of the year.

  • Money - Again, another obvious inclusion. However, even the most seasoned roadster can forget that cards are not always accepted as you traverse the more rural areas. For safety reasons, however, it is recommended that you limit the amount of physical cash you travel with, so you don’t attract unsavory attention. Keep cards on hand with an average amount of money.

  • Prescriptions/medications -Whether it's a seasonal trip or the transition to mobile living, having medications and prescriptions on hand is absolutely vital. Keeping track of when to fulfill prescriptions and ensuring you take measures to stock up just in case you end up somewhere with limited resources. Always store medications in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. And always keep them in an easily accessible location.

  • Furniture/Bedding - Obviously, traditional furniture is not an option when you're living on the road. But as time progressed, the offerings for mobile furniture have significantly improved. Pick furniture that is foldable, multipurpose, and easy to use. When it comes to bedding, that really depends on the vehicle you have. Basic RVs don't have much variety in the bedding department. They come pretty standard. But as the dollar sign clubs, so does the luxuriousness. If your trip is economical as most road trips are, then focus on bringing comfortable throws and blankets. These are easy to transport and multifaceted.

  • Electronics – Be sure to pack chargers, power banks, and spare batteries. You can never have too many power sources when on the road. If you do vital tasks such as banking online, having a guaranteed power source is a must. While living on a whim provides endless moments of spontaneity, you need the comfort of familiarity some days. So, remember to pack your favorite small electronics along with their chargers. Tablets, headphones, cameras, board games, and anything else that will ramp up the fun along the way.

  • Essentials - Of Course, it's not an outdoor adventure unless you pack your cooking utensils and toiletries. Also, don't forget to purchase additional toiletries, even if you are out. In fact, don't wait until you are out. The minute they reach the halfway mark, it's time for a top-up.

For Your Vehicle

  • Spares - you can never have too many spare tires or spare parts. But with space, a hot commodity, at least ensure you have a decent spare tire.

  • Jumper cables/car battery chargers - Car batteries can prematurely age. If you checked your battery before heading out and are aware it's not in the most impeccable shape, then don't leave your jumper cables or battery charger.

  • Lubricants - Like you, your transportation/roving hoe needs to stay hydrated. So don't forget or skip on the lubricants. It may seem simple, but a vehicle running low on necessary fuels can quickly escalate into a severe problem.

  • Gas - Towns can become far and few the deeper you get into the rural areas, so never be caught without a backup jug of gas.

Items To Put in Self Storage

Road trips, even the lengthy ones, still require proper planning of how to manage what's left back at home.

If you have decided that a stagnant four-walls just isn't for you, you may be tempted to throw up that ‘Garage Sale' sign. But before you do that, pause. Even if you are selling the house, great furniture is an investment in itself, so why not consider self-storage? Additionally, you may want to set down roots again at some point, and putting a few choice items in self-storage wouldn't hurt.

Whether it's a permanent or extended trip, you will still need to store essential items safely. Here is a list of all the items you should put in self-storage before you travel:

  • Major furniture and appliances - Without a doubt, put these in self-storage, especially if you intend on living on the road. Circumstances change, so don't leave yourself without a backup plan. Also, if you have no one to house sit and fear the elements while you're on a road trip, it's wise to consider self-storage seriously.

  • Jewelry/Valuables - Your expensive trinkets can easily get lots or continuously be misplaced in a cramped RV. Furthermore, leaving them at home is an easy target for any burglars who realize you're away. So, to be safe, store them in a self-storage unit. This also includes pricey technological devices and electronics.

  • Vehicles - You won't be using it, but that doesn't mean you should leave it open to thieves or the elements. Your best bet is self-storage.

  • Paintings/Photographs - These items can easily be ruined by spills, moisture, and other haphazard happenings. Breathe in the new sights and smells, and confidently know your artwork and pictures are safe and sound in a climate-controlled self-storage unit.

  • Important Personal Documents - It is always advised that your crucial documents are always kept in a safe space. Being on the road requires so much logistics that records can unwittingly get lost. If you're on a trip, any freak accident can happen back at your home, destroying personal documents. So don't pass up on the opportunity to access self-storage.

Personal Documents Not To Bring on A Road Trip

As stated above, taking your personal documents on the open road is not recommended. Most importantly, you won't ever need to use any of these documents on the road.

  • Birth or marriage certificate

  • Land or property titles

  • Check book

  • Bank statements

  • Social security card

  • Don't travel with all of your credit cards

Documents To Always Have on Your Person

While it's crucial to not travel with certain documents, it's even more important to always have the necessary documents with you when traveling. To be on the safe side, always keep the following documents on you or in close reach.

  • Up-to-date identification - While the driver's license will suffice for the driver, all other age-appropriate individuals present must have a valid ID.

  • Driver's license - It is illegal to operate any motor vehicle without a valid driver's license. If you won't always be driving, all other substitute drivers must also possess a valid driver's license.

  • Vehicle fitness - A fitness certificate is as much for your safety as it is a legality. This ensures that the vehicle you and your passengers are deemed safe for the roadways. Driving without this also poses legal ramifications.

  • Vehicle registration - Driving without proof of registration is illegal. If the vehicle is rented, this and other related accompanying documents should be left in the vehicle.

  • Auto insurance - It's always best to be on the safe side. Insurance protects you, your passengers, and other motorists. It is also illegal to be caught driving without proof of insurance.

  • Car Manual - Cars can have issues at any time without any warning. Try always to keep the vehicle manual safe and accessible.

So, there you have it, the ultimate checklist for those who need to spread their wings on the open road.

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