There really is nothing like hitting the open road and there really is no reason why girls can’t do it on their own – or with a good friend (company is always good and it is safer) or with a group of girlfriends (the more the merrier – and the more giggly). Many years ago I embarked on a road trip across America with a good gal pal of mine and it was the best four weeks of our life. Many wild tales could be told (including getting pulled over for speeding by a cop in Utah who had followed us for miles as we had the Utah Rock Station playing so loud we didn’t hear the siren), but that is for another day.
In preparation for that trip I bought a wonderful little book called The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road by Cameron Tuttle and it has never left my car since. It’s filled with so many useful and humorous tips, I feel I really need to share them with any girl who feels the need to go road tripping, but thinks it may not be a good idea for whatever reasons. Some are tips we found really helpful on the road, some are from personal experience and many have been tried and tested.
In part one we’ll cover the basics, like when you should go and what to take (and what not to take) and basic weaponry.
It’s time to go on a road trip when…
- A walk to the corner store for milk is an exciting outing.
- You know you should hit the gym, but feel too fat to go.
- You are about to have a birthday that is going to require you to lie about your age forever.
- You start recycling your old boyfriends.
- You start putting all your books and CD’s into alphabetical order.
- Everyone at your local mall knows your name.
- You pull up a chair in front of the microwave to make dinner.
- The only things in your freezer are a bottle of vodka and a box of fish fingers.
- You work on weekends just to keep busy.
- Your favourite sleeping companion is your dog.
- Someone calls you Ma’am or Tannie.
- You start locking the bathroom door even though you live alone.
- Your email account is more active than your social life.
- All your friends are married with children and the only friends you have left are in Gossip Girl.
- You start thinking it might be fun to have a baby.
- You start sponge-painting every room in the house or decoupaging every box you find.
- You hit the snooze button 10 times before getting up to go to work and find it’s actually Saturday.
What to pack for a road trip…
- Driver’s licence
- Credit card that ‘s not maxed out.
- Mobile phone with emergency numbers and a reliable friend on speed dial.
- A selection of your favourite music that you know all the words to.
- Swiss army knife (with bottle opener and corkscrew)
- Sunblock (for right arm)
- Spare tyre
- Jack (not a man, the type used for flat tyres)
- Jumper cables
- Hat or bandanna
- Water (for you and the car)
- Clothes (spare underwear negotiable)
- Basic toiletries
- First Aid kit
- Map book (although getting lost is half the fun)
- Sense of adventure and sense of humour.
What not to pack for a road trip…
- Make up
- Hair dryer
- Calorie counting booklet
- Employee ID
- Photo of boyfriend
- Children (small things get easily lost)
- Bad attitude and inhibitions.
Other things you may want to pack…
Apart from the obvious, they can be blown up and used as a pillow and make a useful storage facility for ketchup or dispensable soap. Can also be used as a snakebite tourniquet.
Can be used as earplugs (and noseplugs if a bathroom smells really bad) as well as toilet paper in desperate situations. The bag can also be used as a pillow.
Great for cooling off in a hot car and for waking up your road tripping partner. Also good for shooting down insects in the car or squirting at rude motorists.
A road tripping essential – Repair cracked engine hose, tow a car, nose strip to remove blackheads and fix broken sunglasses.
Toothpaste (paste, not gel)
Spread on nose as sunblock substitute, rub on cuts and sores or bites instead of Calamine Lotion, make fierce warpaint and glue your favourite souvenirs to the dashboard. Also good for brushing teeth and fresh breath of course.
Useful as a clothes line and can be used to tie up unruly passengers or create a dividing line in the car during territory feuds. Also good as a quick roadside workout if you feeling tired and about to fall asleep at the wheel.
Useful weapons you already own…
Apart from being sensible and keeping doors locked and winding up windows in shady areas (if you get lost in an unknown town, you can bet you going to end up at the worst end), here are some items that can be turned into weaponry if the need arises:
Metal nail file: Sharp stab to the windpipe for a breathtaking effect.
Lighter and aerosol can: Because bringing along a blowtorch just isn’t practical.
High heeled shoes: Punctures are not limited to tyres.
Car keys: A fist with a few sharp points sticking out can be most effective.
Pen or pencil: Another great stabbing tool.
Your knee: Hard and fast with no regrets.
Gas: A well-timed toxic whopper is bound to clear the room.
Now that we have that covered, in part two you can find out how to cook under the hood and some fun games to play along the way. Later on we’ll learn about car troubleshooting and basic roadside emergencies (a girl must be prepared), how to take a bath or shower without a bath or a shower and the power of peeing. How to make money if you run out of cash (no short skirts required), how to know you really are road tripping and ways to come up with a rocking road tripping alias will also be highlighted.