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These folks live in vans: here’s their list for ultimate road trip essentials


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With Memorial Day weekend upon us, it’s the perfect time for a road trip. 

Fox News Digital previously spoke with several people who live in renovated vans and travel around the country about their essential road trip items and tips, which are perfect for the unofficial first weekend of summer.

Jasmine Wilson moved into her renovated van full time on Dec. 1, 2020, with her dog Ice, and her goal is to visit every national park in the U.S. By last fall, she and Ice had visited about 15 national parks. 

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Wilson told Fox News Digital that her best advice to people going on road trips is to be aware of their surroundings and to enjoy the experience, adding that she’s “trying to live in the moment more.” 

She also advised road trippers to be super prepared. She prioritizes safety items and snacks so she doesn’t have to stop. 

Jasmine Wilson moved into her renovated van full time on Dec. 1, 2020, with her dog Ice, and her goal is to visit every national park in the U.S.

Jasmine Wilson moved into her renovated van full time on Dec. 1, 2020, with her dog Ice, and her goal is to visit every national park in the U.S.
(Courtesy of Jasmine Wilson)

“It’s better to have more than you need than not enough,” Wilson said. “I feel like there’s a limit to where you overpack, but it’s always better to be more prepared.”

She added: “I’ve never let my gas go under half because… you never know when you’ll see another [gas station].”

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Meanwhile, Will and Kristin Watson – along with their daughter Roam, 3, and their pitbull Rush – have been traveling in their renovated bus since April 2019

Kristin told Fox News Digital that the most important part of a road trip is the plan – and the expectation that things will likely change. 

“They say it’s not an adventure until everything starts to go wrong,” Kristin told Fox. 

Will and Kristin Watson – along with their daughter Roam, who turns 3 this month, and their pitbull Rush – have been traveling in their renovated bus since April 2019.

Will and Kristin Watson – along with their daughter Roam, who turns 3 this month, and their pitbull Rush – have been traveling in their renovated bus since April 2019.
(Courtesy of Will and Kristin Watson)

“We pick a goal and then just go with the flow,” she added. “That’s how we get to where our goal destination is at. Because you can find lots of cool things along the way that you might not have even known about.”

Meanwhile, Will said road tripping is all about enjoying “the little things along the way.”

“It’s the little stops and the little memories and little things that you can do along the way to getting to the main destination that makes the journey better,” Will said. 

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Here are some “essential” items for road trips, according to Wilson and the Watsons. 

Snacks and water

Both Wilson and the Watsons said they always have snacks with them. 

“Snacks are a must-have,” Kristin said. 

The Watsons said they usually keep cutie oranges on hand because they don’t have to be refrigerated and they’re healthy. They also recommended keeping water handy.

“As you change altitude or elevation, it’s good to just have water on you and stay hydrated,” Will said. 

Kristin specifically recommended water bottles that have filters in them, so it’s easier to get water from any sink. 

The Watsons' renovated bus – which they named Juan.

The Watsons’ renovated bus – which they named Juan.
(Courtesy of Will and Kristin Watson)

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Cooler

Wilson said one of her favorite items in her van is a cooler. Specifically, Wilson has an Icybreeze cooler, which also works as an air conditioner. The cooler runs off a battery and has a vent, which blows out cold air. Wilson said her dog Ice loves it. 

“My dog literally just sits in front of it and keeps cool all day,” Wilson said. 

Roadside assistance

At the top of the Watsons’ list of essential items was roadside assistance, in case of an emergency like a flat tire or running out of gas. 

Kristin said: “It’s just a nice layer of protection to have and you can get it for RV’s or for cars.” 

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Safety items

As someone who travels alone, Wilson said having items for self-protection – like mace spray – and emergency situations – like multitools – is key.

Wilson's renovated van.

Wilson’s renovated van.
(Courtesy of Jasmine Wilson)

“The main two things are being aware of your surroundings and having those safety things within reach,” Wilson said. 

Roadtrippers app

The Watsons told Fox News Digital they use the Roadtrippers app to help them plan their journeys. Kristin said they usually pick an “ultimate destination” and the app will help them find other fun and interesting things to do along the way – and it tells them how long they have to drive to get to those spots.

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Entertainment kits

The Watsons also recommended keeping entertainment on hand, both for adults and kids. Kristin said she and Will listen to audiobooks, podcasts or good playlists while they drive. 

Meanwhile, they have toys for Roam to play with before they turn to reading her books or giving her coloring books. 

“As a last resort, she has an iPad and we’ll let her watch that if she’s way too fussy and nothing else works,” Kristin said. 

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Dash cam rearview mirror

Because Wilson’s van doesn’t have a back window or a rearview mirror, Wilson bought a dash cam rearview mirror, which can also serve as a back-up camera for cars that don’t have that function. 

“It’s been super essential,” Wilson said.



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