Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

USA in Review: Most Useful stuff to have on a Road Trip

I've been putting off this blog entry for a long time because I was kept making excuses about needing to take pictures of all these items as I explain their usefulness. Well, the wife finally prodded me enough to get this entry up.

First, let's get the maths out of the way. Each item we have used is given a score based on the following formula:

(T/W) + (CF) + (H/T)


T = Amount of time spent using the item
W = Weight of item
C = Cost of alternate item
F = Frequency of purchase of alternate item
H = Happy thoughts

Got it? Good.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are our 10 most useful stuff to bring along on a road trip like ours!

1. A Road Atlas

Some thoughtful friends had actually bought us a GPS as a going-away present. Unfortunately, buying a map of the USA to install on the GPS was hopelessly time-consuming while we were still in Singapore. And when we arrived to the USA, every shop we went to did not stock the USA maps because they were selling GPS units with the maps already pre-installed.

The next best option was this road atlas that my ex-colleague, Maggie, gave to me the moment she heard that I was planning a USA road trip. It's been so well used that the cover has come off. Highways are well marked, and there are detailed road maps for each of the major cities as well. Because Yi Lin got so attached to this atlas, my nickname for her became Atlas Girl!

2. Clothesline

We bought this clothesline from a camping shop. It's basically a rubberised rope with velcro fasteners at both ends.

The weave is perfect enough for us to stick in those hangers that you see so often in hotels nowadays. You know, those that are secured to the closet bar, but you can still remove the hanger frame?

It can also be used as a whip, if you ever have any use for a whip during a road trip.

3. Travel spoon, fork and chopsticks set

This was a thoughtful gift to the wife from her colleague, Yean Pin. It's a simple enough gift, but it scored really well on the T, W and H values.

Imagine you were driving from point A to point B, and you decide to make a grocery run. These Ben & Jerry ice-cream tubs somehow find their way into your shopping even though you are nowhere near your destination yet. You have no choice but to consume the ice-cream immediately before it melts. And that is when the spoon will help send you over the moooooooon!

4. Laptop covers/bags

The wife found these in Popular Bookstore for about $10 each. These cases help protect our white Macbooks from the dust and grime of a road trip. In addition to that, you can unfasten handles to carry it around as a laptop bag. This is excellent for getting through airport security without the hassle of pulling our your laptop from your hand-carry.

5. GoFlex Tupperwear

Tupperware used to be a big thing with my family, because I had 2 aunts who were agents. But I suppose that Tupperware is so durable that your leads will run out faster than any required repurchases.

Anyway, these are special Tupperware in the sense that if not in use, you can flatten them to about the shape of a frisbee. Great for all the leftover biscuits, and great for picnics. This has not been listed as one of the uses, but we have been using this to cook instant noodles too!

6. Electric kettle

Surprisingly, we did not think of buying an electric kettle until halfway through our trip, when we were in Denver. Don't make our mistake. A gallon of water costs about a dollar, and can last us for one day. At USD 15, this kettle is totally outperforming in the return of investment column.

This little kettle is neither short nor stout (but it is fairly easily packed). There's a handle, and there's a spout. When the water's boiling, you'll hear a click but not a shout. But once it's boiled, you can tip it over and pour the water out.

7. RoadTrip

If there was an Autobot counterpart to Soundwave, I think RoadTrip would be it. Well, that's if Blaster (from Transformers G1) didn't exist.

We had purchased this about the time that we first bought a car and found that Singapore radio shows over the weekends are boooooooriiiiiiing. We've since brought it along with us to Western Australia and New Zealand for driving trips.

This little baby charges your iPod and streams music via a radio channel that your car radio can receive. Without it, there would be no sing-alongs whenever I drive. And this sing-alongs keep me awake. Easily adds about 2 hours to the amount of time I can drive without feeling fatigue. Power up!

8. Portable Hard Disks

About a week or two before we left Singapore, there was an IT Show. Or PC Show. Or was it Comex? Whatever, they are all the same anyway. Point I am trying to make is that my dear sister correctly thought that with a one year trip, there are going to be tons of photos that we would want to keep. And back up. So she made a trip down to IT Show/PC Show/Comex and bought these for us. That must have been a painful trip - all you bargain hunters know what I mean. Anyway, this was great, because I had visited the same show with the same idea, but bought portable hard disks that were not compatible with our Macs. Duh.

9. Bank access tokens

There are no pictures here for security reasons. But with all banks practicing 2-factor authentication in Singapore, we really didn't want to incur SMS charges everytime we needed to diddle with our bank accounts. So it's a good thing that these tokens for our banks work well overseas. Whew.

10. Someone you love

Someone who doesn't mind your snoring or drooling. Someone who can talk, joke or just be quiet with. Someone you can hanky panky with. Someone you can admire from afar or up close. Someone to feed you, be a DJ and a navigator when you drive. Someone to cuddle up to at night. That's the best of all.

But that doesn't mean you can just survive on love though. Be a bit more realistic can? :)


Yeepster said...

Great tips! Please do follow-up on most useless stuff on road trip.

Dannie said...

Hey Yeepster,

Some of the useless stuff have already been sent back with the in-laws, and others have been thrown away or traded away.

But I guess the most useless in USA (fyi) was toilet paper. All the restrooms we went to were well-stocked. Even those rest stops along the Interstate Highways!

We traded the toilet paper for instant noodles with my cousin in Pittsburgh (http://danyilin.blogspot.com/2009/05/pittsburgh.html)

Forever Living

Forever Living
Read about the products, then contact our wellness sponsor!
Related Posts with Thumbnails