Car show season is wonderful. Every year as the weather becomes reasonable, the biggest events nationwide kick off, with a sprinkling of local and regional events scattered throughout the season. Depending on your interests, there are specific shows for individual models, makes, country of origin, and all-inclusive events that could be on your wish list, but chances are, you probably only live close to one or two of them. If you are becoming more invested in participating in these shows, or track days for that matter, then you will inevitably need to do some traveling to hit all the best venues with your car. With that comes some different requirements than just a wash and new air freshener to roll up at your local cars and coffee; you need to be thoroughly prepared. Here is everything you need to know about traveling this season to hit all those fun events across the country in your show or track car without a trailer.

Most folks at these events are veterans, but everyone has to start somewhere. At some point, the guy with eighteen million trophies in front of his car that looks like Stancenation threw up on it was just a newbie with a stock car on wheels and a drop. What you need to know, however, is that they put in time and work you won’t ever see on their car. Dedication to just be at the events, to drive their cars, to pay for lodging, to put every sacrifice into getting their car at the show in a good spot with visibility. So what does it take to get to all those shows for maximum visibility?

Driving, prep, and supplies, put simply.

You need to first and foremost commit to being at several shows. At least three to five larger events spread out over the season should be enough to get those experiences you want. Be prepared to drive several hours and stay the weekend. Here’s what you’ll need to pull it off:

Full compliment of wrenches 



spare wire 

spare hoses 

spare wheel 

A few quarts of oil

Jug of concentrated coolant


low profile jack

I bet you’re thinking ‘I don’t need that stuff, my car is new.’ You might be right, maybe your car is new and fresh and totally reliable, I get that. The reality is you need to expect the unexpected. When traveling, people naturally bring a few emergency supplies like a spare tire, some tools, maybe have a AAA membership or a good warranty. Chances are, if your car is built for lows and shows, then you are well outside your warranty and probably not an easy tow for AAA. I have been there, believe it. You need to be self-sufficient on the road and prepared for anything. An unexpected pothole you couldn’t avoid, debris in the road, failed parts as a result of a modification, maybe you just forgot to tighten something down, it’s all happened to me and then some.

Sometimes, the worst case happens and you break something you can’t fix on the road. For the most part, though, you should be able to at least limp to an auto parts store and find something that will work at least to get you there where you can have what you need to be overnighted to you. I have done this myself, and it isn’t fun, but it’s what you have to do sometimes.

Now, I’d like to consider myself semi-intelligent. I do make the stupid decision to road trip my home-built E30 all over the country, but so far, I haven’t actually been stranded for long periods anywhere. I have broken down a few times, but I always have the tools and know-how to cobble something together so I can at least get to a place where I can deal with the problem. I even carry spare gas in case my gauge decides to quit working (which it has been known to do.) 

Additionally, you will want to pack accordingly for your trip. In order to fully enjoy your out-of-state show, you’ll want to have as much as you can with you that doesn’t require extra stops. Chances are, you will be tired from the drive and will not have as much time as you want to party with your friends. To maximize that time, pack what you need as far as normal travel toiletries, clothing, cameras, comfortable shoes, rain gear, snacks, beverages, and breakfasts are concerned. You may have to go to a grocery store near your lodging for dinner stuff, but that will save you a massive amount of time if all you need are one or two things versus an entire weekend’s worth of food. 

Finally, remember to stay hydrated, out of the sun, and comfortable. The last thing you want is to ruin your show experience with a mad sunburn day one. Worse yet, passing out from heat exhaustion because you couldn’t be bothered to bring a case of water instead of a full cooler of beer. BRING. WATER. You should realistically drink a water every hour you’re in the direct sunlight, so keep that H2o on you, fam.