(a 4 minute read)

Prompted by an Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK Instagram contest, Jerry and Howard pick their absolute, must-have open road trip essentials.

Enterprise Road Trip Essentials

Property of Enterprise Rent A Car UK

So, always on the lookout for a great travel contest or sweepstakes, I came across a most-excellent campaign sponsored by Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK. The Instagram contest called #OpenRoadEssentials gave the following instructions:

This summer, Enterprise wants to celebrate our fans’ own quirky suitcase curios via our #openroadessentials campaign.

It’s a chance for you to show us your favourite travel items, share the stories behind them and be in with a chance to win one of two road trips worth £1000 each!

Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to do:

1. Take a photo of at least one item (although you can include as many as you like!) and upload to either Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #openroadessentials.

Try and take your shot in a clean, top-down format like this demo shot below so everyone can see your item(s) clearly.

2. Write a short description about what your item is and exactly what makes it special within your Tweet or Instagram caption.

3. Make sure you’re following us on the platform you choose to enter! We’re @UKenterprise on Twitter and @enterpriseUK on Instagram.

I was so excited, not only because it was a chance to win a contest, but because it fit so perfectly with our road trip travel niche here at Backroad Planet. It was sponsored by a major car rental company, it involved road trip planning, and Instagram photography, and it was FUN!

I started brainstorming what road trip essentials I would use in my Instagram photo and how I was going to cajole Jerry into participating, too. This was going to be awesome!

Until I read the fine print in the Terms and Conditions, that is . . . .

2. The Promotion is open to UK residents who are aged 18 years old or over at the time of entry. Proof of identity and age may be required. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.

Backroad Planet Open Road Trip Essentials

Not happy.

But then I thought, if this concept is so fun, why not go ahead and do it anyway because it would make a really cool blog post. Then I thought, perhaps I could contact Enterprise Rent-A-Car US on Twitter and persuade them to sponsor a similar contest so we could enter!

Jerry, simple man that he is, agreed to play along with my little scheme.

So without further adieu, here are our entries (if we were residents of the UK, that is).

Jerry’s Open Road Essentials

Jerry's Road Trip Essentials


(Disclaimer: These are Jerry’s words, except in cases where he was uncooperative.)

1. sunglasses – for obvious reasons

2. sunglasses – because I always lose the first pair

3. keys – can’t leave home without ’em

4. iPhone 4s – everything I need is on it

5. iPhone charger – it sucks when the phone goes dead

6. cheaters – so I can read my phone (and menus)

7. money clip – it gets me there legally and pays for everything I don’t pack


Howard’s Open Road Essentials

Howard's Road Trip Essentials


I’m a bit more needy than Jerry when it comes to stuff I’ve got to have on the road, so I crammed in as much as I could fit in the picture and still be able to make out each item.

1. Nike cap – it covers a “multitude of sins” on top of my head

2. dental floss – can’t handle something stuck in my teeth

3. Best of the Doobies and Steely Dan’s Aja – best road tunes ever!

4. National and Florida State Park Passports – it’s an addiction

5. salt shaker – another addiction

6. itinerary – gotta have a plan whether we stick to it or not

7. business cards – promote, promote, promote . . . .

8. iPhone 5s – same as Jerry

9. bandanna – I can make a doo-rag if I lose my cap (no, really!)


Hey, that really WAS fun!

But, I guess it’s time to get busy tweeting Enterprise Rent A Car US and see what happens.

Stay tuned . . . .

Backroad Planet Open Road Trip Essentials 1
Howard Blount is founder and co-owner of the travel blog BackroadPlanet.com. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill. Although his road trips are financed by his day job as a middle school teacher, Howard would much rather be doing anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists. And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.