Fall is here which means all of the wonderful things we love about summer are about to disappear. No more sitting by the pool in the afternoons. No more bike rides to work without worrying about the weather. But with the fall, comes a different kind of fun. One of my favorite fall activities is to pack up the car and hit the road. Fall is the best time to explore the country by car, foot, or bike. Stopping by state and National Parks during the cooler season gives you a glimpse into an autumnal paradise. Changing leaves, shifting landscapes. Fall is a time of great beauty. And there’s no better way to experience it than a good old fashioned road trip.

Before you hit the road, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed the right gear. Rest assured, I’m not rookie to this American tradition. Read on for my go-to tips on how to pack the right essentials for your fall road trip!

Packing for your trip

  1. Back to Basics

Nothing new here, but no road trip is complete without a few of the basics. These include a detailed map, a flashlight, and a warm blanket stowed into your car. No matter how good your GPS may be on your phone or your vehicle, one sudden loss of power and you’ll be thankful for that trusty Rand McNally in your trunk. The same goes for the flashlight and blanket. Emergencies do happen. And when you’re far from home, you’ll want to have the basics covered.

  1. Pack a Gourmet Cooler

What better way to travel across the country when you’ve got a cooler stocked with your favorite and healthy snacks? It may be tempting to stop at fast food places along the way, but you’ll only regret the choice. My idea of a well-stocked cooler? A good selection of ready-to-eat veggies, grapes, a block of your favorite cheese, and a bar of dark chocolate. Other ideas may include a baguette and sliced ham for a rustic sandwich whenever you feel the urge to fuel up!

  1. Music Up!

Nothing screams a road trip than a carefully curated playlist. Whether you’ve got the Stones on repeat or you’ve queued up the latest audio book on your list, prepare this item before your departure so you’ll be entertained throughout those boring stretches along the way.

  1. Your Pillow, a Car Charger, and one of these Cool Cameras

Okay. So technically all of the items listed above are not essentials of a road trip. But they certainly make the ride and the stay a lot easier. First, your pillow. When you’re sleeping in a tent or a hotel, you’ll be grateful for the comfort of your pillow each night. Don’t leave without this bit of home. Second, a car charger. Whether this charges your phone, your ipad or your laptop, investing in a charger on the go can make your trip a lot less stressful. I’m a fan of this model which allows you to charge any device, easily. Finally, I’m a fan of many cameras but this Fujifilm option is incredibly fun. Perfect for snapping a quick photo for your wallet or your desk. Instant cameras may have already seen their hey day, but I don’t mind revisiting memory lane for this one.