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Packing to please

Meredith Purcell

March 13, 2008 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Spring break plans and dreams of summer getaways are some of the things helping most people get through their late-winter work weeks. With so many places to go and so many ways of getting there, certain items are mandatory to make this year’s excursion a success. Vox has outlined necessities to guarantee that travel time is not as stressful as the rest of your life. But know this first: The fanny pack is not — and will never be — included in any of these lists.

Emergency travel pack for car road trips
With good weather approaching, nothing seems more appropriate than a spontaneous midday trip via the road less traveled to a place less visited. Getting your friend with a Jeep Wrangler to agree to a top-free excursion is a No. 1 priority. For the best cross-country experience, participants shouldn’t forget certain car ride essentials. Safety first!
• Flashlight in the event of nighttime breakdowns
• Car jack for flat tire fixes
• Atlas for the traditional navigator or a GPS system for the cartograph-phobic
• Jumper cables for the careless driver who left the headlights on during a three-hour pit stop
• AAA Premier Membership in case road trippers don’t know how to properly use a car jack

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Airplane travel pack
Whether you choose to leave from Kansas City, St. Louis or Columbia, plane rides usually entail going somewhere new and experiencing something different. But let’s be honest, flying is usually only enjoyable for billionaires or heiresses. The actual flight is not exactly pleasurable due to quarters with no sympathy for personal space, flight attendants with cursory mannerisms and a cabin full of strangers just as irritable and uncomfortable as you are. Be sure to include these items to keep the discomfort to a minimum.
• Fully charged iPod with a “Chillax” playlist or something comparable in case of a crying baby, middle school travel group or foghorn snorer
• Neck pillow — better to look ridiculous than have neck cramps for the trip’s entirety
• Chewing gum to help curb inevitable ear popping with altitude changes
• Wrap or blazer for temperature changes (Warning: avoid the blankets — they’ve been drooled on)
• $3 bottle of water from terminal, lip balm, moisturizer and Airborne to combat germ-ridden air

Bus travel pack
Although not the most popular means of travel, bus rides are a good alternative for the lackadaisical traveler not concerned with getting anywhere too quickly. If you like truck stops with McDonald’s and free-ranging trash rolling around at your feet, book that Greyhound now. Because travel time is at a maximum and rural scenery is abundant, consider these to get the most out of your bus tour.
• Crossword puzzles, word searches or Sudoku; if those cause car sickness, pack a considerable amount of Dramamine instead
• A good rapport with the driver by means of a complimentary can of Coke or bag of Funyuns in case of disputes between fellow bus travelers
• Purell hand sanitizer and Evian Mineral Water Spray to reduce that scrubby travel feeling sure to set in after the third hour of the trip
• An acquaintance that also enjoys the license plate game

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