Road Trip Essentials: What to take with you on your travels!

If there is anything I’ve discovered from Covid-19 is that I love road trips. It’s made me appreciate where I am a lot more and especially just how much there is to do in the UK. When people tell you to visit England, they aren’t lying. There are just so many beautiful places in the UK which are so worth the journey, but when you go on the journey you need to be prepared!

This post is based for those who don’t have some super savvy RV or camper van to go road tripping in and have to go in their Renault Cleo to do 17 hours of driving (plot twist, that’s Brad and I!). We drove the South West coast of the UK staying in multiple Airbnbs, which you can view here, and driving along in Brad Renault Cleo. The OLD Renault Cleo too, and it was great!

When you’re travelling with a person like me who had a bladder the size of a pea and also struggles to sleep, did I mention I’m also a top worrier with my anxiety hitting extortionate levels when I feel the situation is out of my control, so I like to be prepared when we are doing things like this!

I am really glad we did the trip because it felt liberating after so long being inside. Of course we took all the necessary precautions and in doing so this also added a few extra essentials to our trip! So see the list below on what I feel are the best Road Trip essentials!


Our Road Trip Essentials

Covid-19 Essentials to start with:

  • Mask(s).
  • Disinfectant.
  • Correct paperwork if you are exempt from mask wearing.

General Essentials

  • Books! Lots of good books for the journey! Or a Kindle!
  • Your phone, of course! Or not! Depends how disconnected you want to be whilst away!
  • Your purse/wallet, ID and card.
  • If you like to film your adventures like I do, a Go Pro, memory card and external hard drive.
  • Torch (ESSENTIAL this one).
  • Chargers for every electrical appliance you are taking with you.
  • A Notepad.
  • A print out of your Airbnb or hotel bookings just in case!
  • Drinks flask.
  • A cool bag for food if you take any perishables with you.

Car Essentials:

  • Phone Charger.
  • Plug Adapters.
  • Neck Pillow & An Actual Pillow.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sat Nav (Or your phone in these modern days).
  • Phone Holder.
  • Aux Cable & Aux Adapter!

Clothing Essentials:

  • Underwear (I mean you can’t forget that, unless you’re a nudist, then you do you!).
  • Shoes and extra socks for all weather. E.G Walking boots, flip flops.
  • Backpacks!
  • Swimming Costumes & Trunks
  • Towels
  • Jeans & Trousers
  • ‘Going Out’ Wear, Anything from dresses to skirts, blouses to shirts, whatever you feel comfortable in!
  • Summer Dresses are always a must (weather permitting).
  • A Coast, Cardigan, Hoodie, all of the above. I always tend to bring an extra coat with me just in case the car breaks down and you’re stuck on the side of the road, got to keep warm!
  • A smaller bag instead of your backpacks! If you head out for some food you need a nice handbag or clutch bag to take with you.

Comfy Essentials:

  • Blanket, a KEY essential especially if your road trip involves any form of camping. Maybe even a duvet.
  • Slipper socks & Slippers.
  • Winter Coat (as above) to keep you nice and warm!
  • Fluffy PJ’s are always a vibe.

Product Essentials:

  • Deodorant.
  • Moisturiser.
  • For the ladies: Tampons, Pads etc.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Hairbrush.
  • Make up.
  • Compact Mirror.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner and Dry Shampoo (a must).

I also headed to twitter to ask my fellow bloggers if they were going on a road trip (in a Pre Covid-19 world) and they could bring 1 Essential item, what would it be?

Here are some of the responses below!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 7 – Bath, Stonehenge, Home

The dreaded last day of the road trip, it definitely had a downward feeling about it. I wish we could’ve been going for a little bit longer and seen a little bit more!

So after spending a nice relaxed morning we decided to head for some breakfast which was included in our stay at the Pig and Fiddle. Breakfast was SO tasty, so well cooked and beautifully presented. It tasted absolutely amazing and perfect kick starter for the day ahead!

We had some time to explore Bath so decided to go for a wonder and see the beautiful sandstone bridge that is Pulteney Bridge and the water running underneath! We walked over the bridge as well! We also had a look at the parade gardens and definitely had a look at the beautiful Bath Abbey as well. Bath has some of the most beautiful architecture of any English city I have seen so far. Just absolutely breath-taking.

Once we had had a small exploration walk around we decided to go for a pint at The Boater which boasted the largest beer garden in Bath city centre! It was a lovely day so we had some refresher drinks before we packed the car up and headed onto our last stop of the whole trip! Sad times!

Last on the agenda once the car was all packed up, was heading to Stonehenge!

Now I’d always wanted to go to Stonehenge so I am so glad we managed to go when we did, it was nice and warm as well! When we arrived, because you have to pre book tickets, we got all check in at the ticket desk and received our welcome packs. I believe the tickets, of the top of my head, were £24 per person. Now personally, I felt it really honesty wasn’t worth this price. But to see and help British heritage some things have to be to be done in the name of tourism!

Once we headed through we had a look at some of the history behind Stonehenge, they had huts which they believe those who created Stonehenge lived in and also a demonstration of how they believe they moved the stones to where they are now. It was really interesting. Once we had brushed up on our history it was time to go to THE Stonehenge. One thing they forgot to mention? THE WALK.

Easily a mile and a half and took us a good half hour 40 minutes especially in the heat. You could have gotten the shuttle bus to and from the stones but with Covid-19 so prominent then and the social distancing on the bus it would have been quicker for you to walk. So that’s exactly what we did and my god it was so LONG. Although halfway you do learn about the surrounding areas and how the people who created Stonehenge also adapted farmland, I just couldn’t get over the distance you had to walk! Only when you get there to continue to walk around it! But that was fine because once we were there it was really nice and so cool to be up close to something so historical! Then the dreaded walk back, which went fairly quickly!


We arrived back at the car and realised this was it. It was our last part of the trip before we headed home. It was a sad moment as we drove past Stonehenge (as you can see it clearly from the road as well!) and realised it was back to normality, or as normal as it could be right now.

I’d never done something like this before and since doing this I’ve had road trip fever, to the point that I’m looking to go to Iceland and road trip all of Route 1 around the country. It also made me realise that there is SO MUCH in this beautiful country to see, you just have to get up and get going! We definitely want to do this again, so many great and fun memories, all the things we’ve experienced and the friends we’ve seen, next time I want to go up north and explore Scotland and the highlands, especially John O’Groates! The most Northern part of the UK! This is on experience I don’t think the two of us will ever forget.

Here is to ‘Visiting England’ as they say and making more of my home country!

Thank you so much for reading my road trip series, if you’d like to check out the Video head to the link here! 🙂

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 4 – St Ives, Lands End & Newquay

We woke up refreshed andready to go for another day of exploring the South West coast!

Waking up In the Hobbit Homes was really cool and very refreshing. You stepped straight outside into the fresh air so it was nice to have a cuppa and enjoy the fresh morning weather! Once we had walked down to the washrooms, had a shower and freshened up check out was at 10 so we got sorted and headed out to explore St Ives! The washrooms were also really clean and fresh. Although it would have been nice to see someone cleaning it straight after we had used it for other guests we also understand in todays climate that might not be possible!

So we jumped in the car and drive the 10 minute drive into the centre of St Ives. The first mistake we made was driving. Parking is really very limited so if possible park at the top of the hill on your way into St Ives. The walk back up might be painful but not as painful as trying to find parking in the centre because it isn’t really plausible on a busy summers day.

St Ives from the off was so beautiful, the blue water and the beautiful beaches and harbour. It was low tide so all the boats were resting on the sand in the harbour as we waded through the masses of people who had finally escaped after the coronavirus lockdown. Admittedly this was the only location out of the many that we visited where I didn’t feel Covid safe walking through the streets. Usually when we were outdoors I’d keep my mask off but when we were walking through I felt incredibly uncomfortable especially being basically shoulder to shoulder and popped my mask on until we had reached the other side of the harbour. All the restaurants were open and it was Ice creams galore! I love all the stone buildings and the cobbled streets. I imagine in winter its the cosiest town of them all.

We wandered across to Smeaton Pier and followed the coastal pathway along the seafront around to the piece of land known as ‘The Island’. To get there we walked past Bamaluz beach and also Porthgwidden beach to finally make our way up to St Ives head, situated on The Island, and also to take a nosey at St Nicholas Chapel too! It was a really lovely walk with beautiful views of St Ives beaches and the harbour. We then finished off with a picture overlooking Porthmeor Beach and a walk back through the cobbled streets of St Ives (trying not to buy even MORE fudge from some of the delicious shops) and up the dreaded hill to the car!

Next up on the agenda was to drive across from St Ives to Lands End! I was really excited for this as I’m from Lowestoft (although no longer residing there now) and Lowestoft holds the landmark on our coast for the Most Easterly Point of the UK! So Complete opposite sides of the country which is pretty fun. So I was very excited when we arrived.

We paid the £7 parking fee which is basically your entry fee and then headed down to the entrance! When you arrive there are so many facilities I really didn’t expect. I was expecting to arrive to the lands end landmark post, the flag and that was really about it. I was shocked to find children’s amusements and also multiple food stalls and places for drinks! There is even a hotel and place for you to stay if you wanted too! It was good as I was hungry so had a portion of nachos for the price of a small London Flat. It was massively overpriced but I guess its the tourist attractions that do that to you!

We wandered past the stalls after some food and headed down to look at the actual Lands End landmark, unfortunately again you had to pay for a picture in front of it. But we didn’t do that and just took a pretty good picture from the other side of the line and our own pictures as we walked down the slope towards the first and last house! It was cool to see the first and last post box and the first and last house, the first and last flagpole and the Lands End viewpoint. I never imaged I’d be that far South West in my entire life. Now all I want to do is go to the most Northern and Southern point! It would have made sense really to go to the most Southern point whilst at Lands End as it was just an hours drive away! Highlight of Lands end was definitely the proposal we saw by the Lands End sign, so nice that even the bad weather didn’t bring the mood down for such a special occasion!

Next location on the adventure for the next two days, the longest we will have spent anywhere on the trip, was Newquay! Now I was so excited to go to Newquay so I could teach Brad how to surf! The drive from Lands End to Newquay was only an hour or so and was really easy.

We arrived at our Airbnb and it was absolutely beautifully decorated and so cosy. We had everything we needed from a coffee machine, bathroom with a shower next door to the room with towels, a TV, a place to put our sandy things from the beach, the COMFIEST double, wardrobe space, Wi-Fi and a TV to relax and watch when we weren’t out exploring. It was like an upside down house, Kylie the host lived upstairs and the room ad bathroom was downstairs. During these Covid times she kept the bathroom sparkling clean also which was amazing. The best part about this Airbnb though? I went to the toilet at 6am and was greeted in an open kitchen door to A HOUSE RABBIT. I must have missed this part on the listing as it definitely states she’s in there but I was so pleasantly surprised, what a great way to wake up! She was super cute!

As we arrived quite late in the evening we decided to walk into Newquay and find some food. Unfortunately at this point the Help out to Eat out scheme had just started and we didn’t even think to book, everywhere was SO busy. We manged to find a table on the main high street at a place called Lost Brewing Co. On a complete whim and reluctantly we went inside and I am so glad we did, it was so good we went back the following day for drinks before our meal elsewhere. Not only do they brew their own beers and sell them here but the food was amazing. I had Halloumi fries, Battered prawns, Chicken strips and some fries as well for finger food as I was just so hungry and couldn’t make my mind up but they are actually super popular for their burgers as well!

All in all another successful day, we headed back to the Airbnb shortly after so we could get some good nights sleep ready for a day full of surfing the next day!

SW Coastal Road Trip Day 2 – Durdle Door, Exeter & Torquay

After an awesome first night in Bournemouth Brad and I were up early (which makes a nice change) and ready for our next adventure to Durdle Door, Exeter and Torquay all in one day!

We decided to get some food once we had arrived at Durdle Door so skipped out on breakfast to get on the road. It took us about an hour to get to Durdle Door from Bournemouth and once we arrived it was already getting busy! We paid the £5 car parking fee for 4 hours and headed down the big cliff to see the sights! Before you make your way down the cliff there is a cute little ice cream shop and a pasty van so we made note of those to make sure we grabbed some food once we made it back up to the top again.

Fun fact: Durdle Door is part of what is known as the Jurassic Coast! What is this? 96 Miles of English Heritage Protected Coastline!

Top tip. DON’T WEAR FLIP FLOPS. The views are beautiful and its really pleasant but the pathway down in white gravel and I nearly fell down multiple times I had to hold onto Brad basically all the way because the one time I let go I fully nearly stacked it. Once we made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach we were in awe. On the left was Man O War Beach and further down from that was St Oswalds Beach. The water was beautifully blue and clear we could’ve been in another country! Then to our right was the monument itself, the beautiful Durdle Door and beach! We headed down the steps to the stoney beach to get a closer look. The waves were crashing and we took a seat right on the shoreline to enjoy the sun. We then headed up the beach to enjoy and sit in the small caves in the cliffs too.

Finally we grew an appetite and it was back up the hill (which was a struggle in the heat and flip fops) and onto the next part of our journey. NOT BEFORE a pasty and a sausage roll overlooking the Jurassic Coastline.

Then it was my turn to drive the 2 hour Journey to Exeter. Unfortunately for us Exeter was not what we expected and we didn’t find all that much to do. We headed over and saw the cathedral in all its glory which was an absolutely phenomenal piece of architecture.

Once we had seen the cathedral the town centre was pretty quiet so we decided to head to a riverside pub for a light snack and a pint (or a cup of tea if you’re me). We walked towards the River Exe and walked past what is known as and what is left of the old Medieval Exe Bridge which has been around for centuries. It was really cool to see the last remains of this piece of old historic architecture! We then walked along the river until we arrived at The Mill on the Exe pub and sat by the river to enjoy our pit stop!

Then it was back to the car for the rest of the drive to Torquay to see my beautiful friend Tasmin! Tasmin lives in Torquay so it would have been SO RUDE to no pop in. To top it off she also did us a huge favour, saving us a fair whack of money on accommodation, and let us stay with her as a bonus. I’ll always be thankful as this also meant we got to spend more time together and it had already been 11 months since I last saw her at our graduation. The Journey from Exeter took us 40 minutes which was really nice and short! When we arrived in Torquay we had a dinner booked to get ready for!

Once we were ready it was into Torquay Harbour for a meal at Twenty 1! This restaurant overlooked the harbour and the 4 of us enjoyed beautiful sunset views, great food and drinks and even better company. We laughed all night and caught up with everything possible, it was such a lovely evening with friends and I was so grateful to be able to do this.

For dinner I think we ordered the whole menu. I had the Chicken and Chorizo flatbread pizza as well as the Tempura Halloumi and the Cheesy Garlic Bread (because no meal is complete without cheesy garlic bread). Another brilliantly priced meal as well with a good vibes atmosphere and great cocktails!

We walked home along the harbour back to Tas’ house well and truly full of food for a final late night cup of tea and bed ready for Tas to show us around Berry Head, Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor the next day! Another successful travelling day completed!

South West Coastal Road Trip Day 1 – Bournemouth

Hopped on the plane at LAX…

Im joking, we got in the car in Cambridgeshire and started off on our 7 day adventure! We popped our Bournemouth Airbnb destination in on Google Maps and were off! The first half of the journey apparently only taking us 2 and a half hours. Naturally the route to Bournemouth took us down the M25. If you’re from the UK you know this instantly as the M25 Car park. You’d be spot on, after one food stop on the way post M25 we arrived in Bournemouth 4 and a half hours after we left. Just a touch longer than it should have taken but we didn’t mind.

Once we drove under the bridge that said ‘Welcome to Bournemouth’ all of our travel grumbles had well and truly gone away.

Our Airbnb was in Winton which is just outside of Bournemouth. Only a 10 minute Uber from the beach and centre of Bournemouth too which was really helpful! The Uber only cost us £8 as well which was super cheap! We had a shared bathroom but it was beautifully clean and the room was also cosy and had everything we needed I.E a double bed, bedside table and a wardrobe that we didn’t use because we didn’t even unpack really! We paid £38 for one nigh and between the two of us this was such a brilliant price. It meant we could spend more money out and about.

I’ll be posting a link to where we stayed in a later post on which Airbnb’s we stayed in on our trip so you also have the opportunity to stay in these too!

We arrived at Bournemouth beach and as soon as we got out of the taxi we whipped our masks off (as you can’t get an Uber without a mask due to Covid) and breathed in the sea air! It was absolutely rammed on the beach, luckily we hadn’t planned to go in today. Bournemouth beach is huge and beautiful. Bournemouth was actually one of my university choices when I was doing journalism. Once I decided to change my course I was sad that Tourism and Hospitality etc wasn’t an option anymore, so it was good to be able to visit a place I could’ve spent 3 years of my life!

We paid the £1.30 each for Bournemouth pier admission and made our way down to the end. There was a restaurant and the end and also a beautiful butterfly mural on the way down to the left of the pier. Of course I had to get a picture! As we got to the end of the pier it was awesome to see a zip wire that went from the end of the pier to the beach! It was £25 but because we already had the Eden Project Hangloose Zip Wire booked for later on in the week we settled for some cocktails at Key West Bar and Grill and watched everyone fly over our heads instead!

After a few cocktails and the temperature drastically cooling down we decided to walk along the promenade of the beach for a while and then head to find some food. The beach huts were all really cute and there were plenty of amusement arcades right on the seafront. There was even a boujie bar on the sand with deck chairs and seafood. It was super fancy and we were not dressed for the occasion so decided to head into Bournemouth for dinner at a recommendation called 60 Million Postcards.

Originally as we hadn’t booked we got tired away, they told us to try again later so we headed to Backyard Bar which was in the car park of a bar/hotel called 1812. We definitely weren’t dressed for this place either but they let us in for some drinks because money is money! After making some friends and drinking more cocktails we tried to head back to 60 Million Postcards and we were in luck! We got a table for 2 sat outside and the food was INCREDIBLE.

I had a couple of gin cocktails and Brad enjoyed a couple of beers, but the food was absolutely something else. The two of us were taken by the Chicken Katsu Burger so we both decided to have this. We both also ordered Skin on Fries to have with this and they didn’t do Onion Rings (my personal favourite) but they did do some Spicy Battered Onions so I absolutely got a bowl of those as well. The whole meal was out of this world delicious and the vibe here was just so relaxed and mellow. If you went into the restaurant and bar you can see on the walls why its called 60 Million Postcards, there are postcards all over the walls! I believe the building used to be an only post office and when they found all these left over postcards what better thing to do with them then place them all over the walls. Thus 60 Million Postcards was born. It was also really well priced! For a couple of roads of drinks and food for the two of us we payed £30 each which was really really good and it was all so worth the money.

We then headed back to the Airbnb in our £8 Uber to get some good sleep ready for the next day of road tripping ahead!

Next Stop? Durdle Door, Dorset!

Our South West Coast Road Trip Introduction!

With Lockdown easing in the UK and both My man and I having been at home inside doing nothing but exercising, reading books and getting a tan living that furloughed life for about 5 months, my stepmum suggested a road trip. We had money saved for a future trip that keeps being pushed back and back due to Covid, and now with more time to save EVEN MORE, why not go out and spend some of it?

So thats what we did.

We decided on a 7 day South West Road trip! So where did we start? Easy, we headed straight down to Bournemouth from Bedfordshire. From there it was 7 days of driving and exploring different cities, beaches and places we had never been!

Here is our itinerary, this absolutely 100% changed as we were going because there is just SO MUCH to see. We did so much and every day was such an adventure, so the below was our original Itinerary, below THIS is our ACTUAL itinerary;

Stop 1: Bournemouth

Stop 2: Durdle Door

Stop 3: Exeter

Stop 4: Torquay

Stop 5: Salcombe

Stop 6: St Ives

Stop 7: Lands End

Stop 8: Newquay

Stop 9: The Eden Project

Stop 10: Bath

Stop 11: Stonehenge, then Home!

All in all you are looking at a good 15-17 hours driving across 7 days in a little Renault Cleo with the two of us an our bags! We split the journey between us as we are both insured on the car and only spent a grand total of £60 in petrol! Thats it!

So below, see out ACTUAL itinerary and what we actually got up too, because there were definitely a few more stops than the above, but we also removed one stop, see if you can figure out which one it is!

Stop 1: Bournemouth

Stop 2: Durdle Door

Stop 3: Exexter

Stop 4: Torquay

Stop 5: Brixham

Stop 6: Totnes

Stop 7: Dartmoor

Stop 8: St Ives

Stop 9: Lands End

Stop 10: Newquay

Stop 11: The Eden Project Hangloose Zipwire

Stop 12: Bath

Stop 13: Stonehenge & Home

So we added another 2 stops after not going to Salcombe and exploring more of the area around Torquay, so Brixham, Totnes and then Dartmoor national park and even going to see the Dartmoor Prison! This was all with my lovely friend Tasmin who lives down this way, it was amazing to see a familiar face who I haven’t seen since September which was also a dream and could be our tour guide!

So here is the route we took below, this is a very basic look as Google maps only lets you have 8 stops and I didn’t add Home (at the start or the end) to the stops but from there to Bournemouth is 2 and a half hours (4 hours if you go along the M25 Car park which we absolutely did). Also from Stonehenge to Home is another 2.5 hours. I also missed out the small stops we did around Brixham, Totnes and Dartmoor but that added another hour and a half to the journey going between these places as you can see below! I added the map separately below.

In total driving time was 17/18 hours including the journey home from Stonehenge which I haven’t shown and from Home to Bournemouth (because as much as I love you guys I don’t want you knowing where I live, haha!).

So over the next week I’ll be sharing with you our epic adventure, I’ll also be posting all the Airbnb’s we stay in and what we got booked in!

If you don’t want too wait and read it you are also more than welcome to watch my youtube video right here!

J x

The Global Quarantine Diaries – Sean

  • Where in the world are you located?

I’m in Houston, Texas in the United States

  • What are lockdown regulations like there?

Like some of the other bloggers, our restrictions vary wildly by what part of the country you live in. It has been very strange lately. Texas started out kind of okay and that devolved pretty quickly. For example, at the time of writing I think bars and restaurants and that type of thing can choose to open up to maybe 75% capacity. Masks are encouraged by the city and county government, but the state governor struck down ordinances at the city level saying masks were required. At this point it’s really up to the business whether they enforce any rules. The current city and state governments are polar opposites politically, so that’s made for some confusing directions.

It’s a bit unnerving to see tons of people without masks. Our medical center is estimating if the growth rate continues, we’ll be out of bed space in a matter of weeks, which is concerning. But at the same time, I appreciate that businesses are starting to open again so people can work and get paid. Right now, I’m wearing a mask when I go to shop, but not when I’m exercising. My wife and I are both back to work in shifts, and it just feels like many people are leaning towards “oh yeah COVID-19 is over” or thinking that the risk is worth being able to do whatever they’d like. 

  • How are you keeping busy?

So much, honestly! As of a few weeks ago, we’ve started back to work in shifts. I’m going into lab in the mornings for about four hours, then coming home and doing other work from there.

I’ve started up my leadership coaching services on the side, and have been leaning heavily into that, having picked up a few clients in the last two months. I’ve loved working with them so far. (If there’s a time to plug a service, I’ll take the opportunity here. I’m a trained leadership coach working on my next credential, so if you’re reading this and interested in building up your leadership skills, please reach out!) 

I’m also leaning very heavily into exercise; since about mid-March I’ve been working out for at least 30 minutes every single day, and I feel fantastic!

I did take a little break from my blog, and I’ve struggled with some motivation on that front, but I’m getting back into it soon. But I’m well on my way to completing my Duolingo Italian catalog!

Finally, we bought a house! We’ve been getting a lot of the paperwork and utilities and such squared away for that, as well as bingewatching Fixer Upper

  • What do you miss doing most?

Socializing, which sounds a little silly because we’re so busy that we don’t socialize every single opportunity. But my wife and I have largely interacted with just each other save for a few co-workers. It’s been great for our marriage to connect day-to-day, but it’s also nice to spend time with friends. We recently happened to see a couple friends of ours out and decided to grab a couple drinks with them, thinking we’d spend an hour or two maximum. We ended up spending over five hours with them without realizing it. 

  • What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Plan a trip! My wife and I were each supposed to take trips this summer and another one together in the fall, and those obviously didn’t happen. We’re thinking Japan for the winter, although that although could fall through if we have another big wave. Other than trips, get ready for our new home! We’ll be moving, decorating, and getting furniture and all that fun stuff. 

  • Where can people find you?

Thanks for asking! Here are my socials:

www.Twitter.com/AuthenticAvg

www.Instagram.com/authenticallyaverage

www.Pinterest.com/authenticallyaverage

www.Authenticallyaverage.com