I just got back from a fantastic road trip to Northern California including stops in San Francisco, Napa and Sacramento. Since this was my first ever weeklong driving road trip, I learned a few things as part of my travels and wanted to share so that you'll get the most out of your next road trip.
Bring Quarters for Parking
I can't tell you the number of places we were able to visit that had parking meters. There were a few cities that had meters that took credit cards or allowed you to use your cell phone to pay. However, most of the cities had meters that took quarters only. If you don't have the change, you're kind of put in an awkward position of having to find a merchant or someone who will give you change. Do yourself a favor, if you're going to go on a long driving trip, bring a roll of quarters.
Don't Forget Your Camera
This probably goes without saying, but if you have a quality camera, bring it. I unfortunately forgot mine at home, but I did manage to make do with my iPhone 5 camera. There were numerous places along the way that provided outstanding photo opportunities. In fact, I took a bunch of photos on the trip and uploaded a lot of the images to Instagram. You should go take a look an let me know what you think. In any event, you never know when you're going to see something that could would make an awesome photo.
Bring A Quality GPS / Roadside Guide App
Google Maps and Apple Maps may help you get to your location, but it is also helpful to have an app or two that will guide you to points of interest, restaurants, lodging, gas stations, or bathrooms! My wife discovered a great app called iExit that shows you these locations along your route. There are also a lot of travel guides that are available that will help you discover any interesting points of interest along your trip. I really like the California Essentials Guide as it not only provided info on where to eat or drink, but also other points of interest including beaches, campgrounds, and more.
There are plenty of other things to consider having for your next road trip, but these three items will help you get the most out of your trip. Safe travels!