Road Trip Essentials

So you’ve decided to incarcerate yourself in a small metal object with one more other humans for hours on end, great, you’re in for a good time. But let’s say you’re trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as “legally” possible. In that case, you’re going to need some additional equipment.

 

(Disclaimer: Guys don’t speed. Don’t go on a Cannonball Run. Don’t watch the movie The Gumball Rally. It’s illegal, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible.)

Radar Detector

First things first, you’re going to need a radar detector. Radar detectors are a perfect example of “you get what you pay for”. A big box store Belltronic’s or Cobra unit is just never going to compete with a high-end Escort or Valentine unit. Depending on how fast you catapulting down the highway, if it saves you from one ticket than it has already paid for itself. More modern units use directional arrows to tell you where a threat is coming from and use a GPS to show what the speed limit is on the road you are currently on. Additionally, both Valentine and Escort have iOS / Android apps that transmit speed limits, speed traps, false alarms and more.

iPad Mini

Something I never thought I would recommend until I actually used one, an iPad Mini. One of these with a data connection is an invaluable tool on a road trip. With a proper mount, it makes a perfect GPS as its larger screen is easier to glance. Traffic apps like Waze are amplified on the iPad too as you’ll be able to see obstacles and threats even farther ahead. Finally, the iPad can interact with the radar detector to really paint a picture of what is waiting a few miles up the road. Speeding may not be advised but, it helps to be prepared.

Sunglasses

Part of feeling good is looking good….and it might help when / if you get pulled over.

Power Inverter

It’s easy enough to charge a cellphone or power your radar detector off of a 12v cigarette outlet but when you’re carrying laptops, cameras, iPads and other larger devices you are going to need more power. A small power adaptor will allow you to charge bigger battery pack and devices. A 400w unit should be sufficient but be realistic with your needs. A 400w will charge most devices but, you’re not going to run an air mattress pump off of it.

12v Splitters

A cigarette lighter splitter is a cheap way to keep everyone happy. If everyone can charge their phones simultaneously than you can run a GPS and let your passengers be on Instagram when you’re sick and tired of talking to each other.

EZ-Pass, Fast Pass, Sun Pass, Etc.

Depending on which states you’re traveling through you’re going to want a highway toll pass. They save time and allow you to forget how much you’re paying the state to swerve around their potholes. The North East primarily uses EZ Pass which is linked to a transponder whereas Florida uses a tag that is linked to your license plate. These can typically be picked up ahead of time online or at highway rest stops. Check out local laws. It’s worth noting that on a cross country drive, tolls only become an issue when you get to the East.

DSLR or Film Camera

Your iPhone 7 may have dual lenses but it’s never going to compete with a dedicated camera. If you’re going somewhere worth making an epic drive for that you should make sure you some photos of the entire experience. If you have a laptop or iPad with you than you can even edit the photos to kill time on the highway. Arguably the most important reasons to bring a camera are that better photos get more traffic and if there isn’t evidence on social media, did it actually happen?

Turo – A Better Way to Rent a Car

In the past year I’ve done stints in Baltimore, LA and Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, all three of these have required a rental car at one time or another and being a dedicated car guy at my core, nothing depresses me quite like a wheezy Toyota Camry or equivalent. Lucky for us there is an app out there that can bring salvation to those of us who like a bit more passion and style in the rides.

Turo is a recent addition to the app world and is essentially AirBNB for cars. People can list their personal vehicles on Turo for rent and then app takes care of the rest. Turo provides insurance, protects both parties and makes for an amicable experience. Like AirBNB, some hosts are more accommodating than others and Turo helps you find those that are willing to meet you at the airport for pick up and drop off. The best part is that not only do people list some fantastic cars but they do so at a reasonable price. These are just two of the Turo cars that I’ve used in the past year:

BMW 328i Convertible

Since I was in LA for a week a drop top was an absolute necessity. I rented this awesome 328i convertible and was able to enjoy California that much more when I wasn’t stuck at work. The owner was extremely easy to work with. He dropped the car off to me outside of baggage claim and met me at the terminal to take it back before my flight. Total cost for 7 days: $470 or $67 per day. As BMW fanboy I was pretty satisfied.

Porsche Boxster S

Baltimore’s close proximity to DC means that sometimes I’m required to go between them. A few weeks back my Tacoma was down for repair and my 325i was still waiting on parts leaving me with no car. Since trains end up being ~$70 one way, I knew there had to be a better option. There was. And for $150 I had a 6 speed Boxster S to play with for three days. In this case I took an Uber about 6 miles outside of the city to pick the car up and when I arrived the owner pulled it out of the garage, tossed me the keys said “please don’t wreck it”
and went inside. He didn’t even check to see if knew how a clutch worked.

In conclusion if you need a rental car and want a bit more thrill for not a lot more money, give Turo a shot. If you’re really trying to make it interesting, combine Turo with AirBNB for business for a very unique traveling experience.