If you still can't tell by the scorching heat outside, it's summer already. It's time to round the gang up, find a suitable ride and embark on an epic road trip to wherever. But before you turn the key in the ignition, you might want to make sure you've ticked each item off our long-drive checklist. Because an ill-planned voyage can turn to disaster faster than a Bugatti Chiron at full speed.
1. A proper playlist. You'll definitely need the E'heads' "Overdrive" in there. "Drive" by Incubus, too. Other essential picks include "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, "Interstate Love Song" by the Stone Temple Pilots, and "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman. In the end this will all boil down to personal preference (but avoid Air Supply at all costs). Just remember to keep it balanced between lively and mellow. And yes, we know we're getting old.
2. Nourishment. What's a road trip without snacks? Aside from the usual potato chips and a selection of caffeinated energy drinks, try to bring a cooler containing actual sustenance—bread, spreads and some fruits. Avoid open liquid containers and smelly food products as these can ruin your car's interior. Opt for bottles and cans instead.
3. Capable accomplices. Choose your road trip buddies wisely. At the very least, you'll need an adept navigator, a DJ with passable taste in music, a decent photographer, and a spare driver. Do avoid individuals who are unreasonably stingy with their budget, the workaholic chasing deadlines from a laptop, and that dick who always manages to take up half the luggage capacity.
4. A map, compass tool, and familiarity navigating by celestial bodies. Those last two bits are a joke. But yeah, bring a paper map and knowledge of how to read one. You'll have to do without GPS more often than you think, and over great distances, one wrong turn can make or break a road trip.
5. Comfortable driving shoes. Put aside those Havaianas slippers and boots, because you're going to want to wear something comfy that doesn't snag on the pedals. Go for light, thin-soled, round-heeled and breathable footwear. Loafers will do. It'll lessen the drain of long distance drives and will give you a more natural feel for the pedals.
6. Sunglasses. Chances are the sun's going to be in your face a lot over an extended road trip. A pair of shades will lessen the strain on your eyes and allow you to stay behind the wheel for longer periods. You won't need a pair of Ray-Bans or advanced lenses—just bring something to keep the sun out.
7. Be prepared for emergencies. Pack extra cash and a first aid kit—bandages, ointments, essential meds. Have a list of contacts and emergency numbers around the area you're headed to, not just on your phone but on paper as well. Also, don't forget to inform someone back home if you plan to deviate from a set route or game plan. You'll never know what can happen on the road.
8. A good camera and someone who knows how to shoot. For the most part, phone cameras will get the job done. But if you're after images with a little more weight than the usual selfie or groufie, pack a camera with a real lens. Go for epic shots. Hell, bring a drone if you can. Just make sure someone in your group knows how to operate one. The last thing you want is to have to scour an uncharted hillside for a missing drone.
9. Basic checks. Make sure your vehicle's vital fluids are topped up and you're running on the correct tire pressure. Speaking of tires, always set out with your spare and the equipment needed to change them. Bring jumper cables, a spare key if you have one, and even a jerrycan in case you run out of fuel. Long story short, make sure you embark on your journey prepared.
10. A sense of adventure. Or you could opt to disregard everything we've suggested and just head out right now. Some of the best road trips are the spontaneous ones. Besides, getting lost builds character. What's the worst that can happen? Just make sure you still have the opportunity to ask "but did you die?" when you get back.