Summer is prime time for road trips, and to ensure they’re more fun than frantic, you’re best suited to enter with a strategy. To prep for your time behind the wheel, consult our list of nonnegotiables—ones we swore by for a recent trip to the desert in our Chevy Cruze—which cover all the basics. Ladies, start your engines.
Get Your Gang
Rule #1 is obvious—bring a co-pilot. Choose a friend you can envision spending hours on end with—someone you can converse with freely but also feel comfortable with in moments of silence. Before you hit the road, do a quick scan through all your luggage to ensure key items are present and always stow a thick, comfortable blanket in the trunk in case of emergency.
Create an epic playlist ahead of time that'll get you in the mood for wherever you're going. Fill it with songs you're currently listening to and albums you've been meaning to stream, plus a healthy mix of upbeat, singalong jams to keep you motivated through a long, boring stretch of pavement. Make sure you pack all the proper cords or a backup charger to power your phones and electronics—it's important to stay connected throughout your trip.
Avoid "hanger" at all costs—your passengers will thank you. Pack a bag full of healthy, high-protein snacks like nuts and energy bars that'll keep you going. Resist the temptation to stop for greasy fast food, which will only leave you feeling sluggish.
Make The Most Of It
While getting to your destination might be the end goal, it doesn't mean you can't have some fun along the way. Play a ridiculous game to pass the time—"Would You Rather" and "21 Questions" are failsafe options. Furthermore, do research on the route you plan to take and see if there are any notable stops or pull-offs throughout. Taking a couple 10-20 minute breaks to pick up a touristy souvenir or snap a cool photo (do it for the Insta!) is a nice way to stretch your legs and experience new things.
Keep It Comfy
Don't get caught on a long drive wearing an uncomfortable outfit. For summertime trips, opt for a pragmatic, roomy pullover and trusty pair of cutoffs. Finish with slides for easy on-and-off access between barefoot driving and routine stops, and of course bring along your favorite sunnies.