Travel + Leisure

I’ve Road Tripped Solo on 3 Continents — Here’s What I Always Keep in My Car for a Safe, Comfortable Drive

From personal safety devices to a comfy back cushion.

By Kristy Alpert

A road trip was a novelty when I was growing up. As the daughter of an airline pilot, we typically used our standby privileges for family vacations. That’s why, when the time did come for a family road trip, it was a big. stinking. deal. The middle seat came out of the minivan, CDs were burned (tracks ranging from Celine Dion to the Fugees), and snack prep began months before we’d ever leave our garage. I fell in love early on with the freedom that came from being on the open road — so much so that I even wrote a children’s book about it — and as an adult, I have taken nearly any chance I can get to venture out on the road … even if it’s on my own.

None of my friends were as interested as I was in exploring Eastern Europe, so I flew into Vilnius and rented a car to drive solo through Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, stopping along the way whenever something caught my interest. I’ve traversed American national parks, Albanian mountain roads, Texas highways, and French country roads, all alone. 

Spending so much time with myself forced me to learn me; what excites me, what doesn’t, and what I gravitate to when no one else is guiding my influence. It’s also taught me what is essential for a solo traveler on the road, whether it’s a safety lock for my hotel in the middle of nowhere Missouri, a car seat cushion to keep my back pain-free, or a comfy pair of shoes that can slip on and off easily between gas station stops. Read on for my required road trip essentials, most of which are available at Amazon. 

Solo Road Trip Writer Image

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