Hello Panda! Did you know it’s road trip season? June can have the weddings, graduation parties, and family reunions, July is for the open road. Whether you’re driving or flying, camping, or lounging by the hotel pool, a few days off to enjoy the summer sunshine does our aching, still-half- numb-from-the-six-month-Midwest-winter bodies good. I just got back from a wonderful one myself and will be dedicating the next few posts to travel gifts and goodies.
Earplugs and Aspirin and Tea! Oh My!: Travel Survival Kit
Friends and family members embarking on their adventure by car will find a travel survival kit handy. First find a smallish box or bag to fill. I found this little luggage number at a thrift store for a whopping $2.00.
Then fill the box with the little things people often need for trips. Extra Q-tips, Pepto Bismol, aspirin, bug spray, and tampons are always a good start but it will depend on what type of road trip it is (for ex: extra matches if they’re going on a camping trip). If you can’t afford to pack all new shiny-tiny bottles of shampoo and body wash, look around your house. You’ve got to have an extra roll of toilet paper, some ibuprofen samples, a roll of unused Tums, and a tea bag* hiding somewhere. Get creative.
NOTE: If you’ve got band members in your life, this gift is super useful but make sure your kit takes up as little space as possible. That foul-smelling van doesn’t have a square of space to spare for your be-dazzled shoebox, they need that room for groupies. So skip the fancy presentation and throw it in a plastic bag decorated with permanent marker.
*: tea bags are great if road trippers are stopping at various gas stations, they can just use the hot water from the coffee machine and if they catch the attendant on a good day, they won’t be charged for it.
Cost: cost me around $8 because I bought new Imodium and aspirin (road trip essentials). This gift can get expensive but, especially if you’re a girl, you’ve got brand new tiny lotions and chapsticks gathering dust from years of stocking stuffers and people who didn’t know what else to get you.
Time: 2-3 hours including the time you spend picking stuff up at the store
After you’ve stuck in the little necessities, make some tokens of your affection for them to take along with them. You could make a mixed tape of music for them to listen to, check out some audiobooks from the library for them to take along, or nestle some homemade snackies between the Gas-X and the heartburn medication. One of my favorite things to make is an “I’ll Miss You” envelope:
I’ll Miss You Envelope:
Get an envelope. If you don’t have one, steal one from your mailroom. Next, get an old magazine and cut out funny pictures. Cut out at least one for each day the road-dog in your life will be gone. Then glue construction or notebook paper to the back of these pictures and wait for it to dry. Get a pen. If you don’t have one, steal one from your office secretary.
On the back of each picture, mark the day the person is supposed to read it and write something hilarious and/or sincere that you want the person to read. For example: “Day 7: Are you annoyed with your carmate yet? Seriously, how many bathroom trips do they need?” or “Day 2: Today I miss your face and your over-easy eggs but not your snoring.”.
Again, your pictures and your encouraging words will depend on the trip. If your BFF is going to Hollywood, get an old tabloid and cut out pictures of celebrities, then write absurd quotes from them on the back. If your cousin is going camping, find an old encyclopedia of forest animals and cut out the ones that look like they probably have rabies. Then write different tactics for escaping wild beasts on the back (Grizzlies: Play Dead; Black bears: Bang pots). You know your friends and you know what will make them smile so write something that they will look forward to reading every day of their trip.
Cost: for me, $0 as I had old magazines, glue, and scissors lying around; shouldn’t cost more than $8 including supplies
Time: 1 hour