Road trips are always fun…as a concept. Thinking about the trip is sometimes much better than actually being on the trip. The truth is, road trips can be tedious, boring, and usually filled with lots of whining — not all of it from the kids. But if you’re truly well-prepared and well-packed, your road trip could be a success. And hopefully, it won’t be an agonizing affair that makes you wish you had stayed home instead.
Make sure you have a fully stocked emergency kit before you start on your road trip, so you can be prepared to handle any problems that may arise. Chances are pretty good that something is going to happen while you’re on the trip. But if you plan ahead and you’re well-prepared to handle any emergency, you will be able to face whatever challenges arise.
A good emergency kit for a road trip doesn’t include a stop at the liquor store Lawrenceville, NJ, though sometimes you might wish you could have a stiff drink while you’re on the trip. Your emergency kit should include jumper cables and a spare tire. Don’t take these essentials out of the car to make more space for luggage. You definitely want to make sure you’ve got these important items. Include a high-quality flashlight in the kit, and be sure to check the batteries before you pack it away. In fact, place an extra set of batteries in the kit for the flashlight. Add a couple of road flares, in case you experience car trouble in dark or low-light conditions.
You also want to ensure your own safety in case you have car trouble. Make sure your kit includes a brightly colored poncho. The more obnoxious the color, the better. This will keep you highly visible while you’re tending to your car, so look for something in eye-catching orange, yellow or green. The more visible you are, the safer you are. No emergency kit would be complete without a roll of duct tape and a screwdriver. All these items when put together won’t take up much space, but they can be a lifesaver if you experience car trouble while you’re in unfamiliar terrain.
Bring along some snacks and liquid for your road trip. This will keep everyone in the car, including the driver, feeling energized along the way. Pack plenty of bottles of water, and avoid the sugary sodas and coffee. Sugar and caffeine can provide a temporary boost, but inevitably that kick of energy is going to be followed by a crash. The crash can make the driver feel sleepy, and that compromises everyone’s safety.
Ignore the chips and little cakes when you’re packing snack foods. Instead, choose healthier snacks that provide a natural boost of energy. Almonds are delicious and a natural energy-booster that contain protein, too. Add whole grain crackers to enjoy something crunchy and kill those cravings for greasy potato chips. Add some fresh fruit to the cooler to enjoy something sweet when you get those sugar cravings.
While you’re at it, pack some gum in the snack bag for the driver. Chewing gum keeps muscles engaged and gives the driver something to do. This can help the person behind the wheel from zoning out and losing focus while driving. It’s easy to slip into a trancelike state while on a road trip, and this slows down reaction times. Chewing gum is a great way to maintain focus on long drives. After all, you don’t want to end your road trip with a visit to personal injury lawyers in New Jersey because of a car accident.
Sun and Spill Supplies
When you’re spending a lot of time in the car, little accidents are going to happen. Be sure to pack some napkins, wet wipes and towels to soak up spills and perspiration. Vehicles can become hot, uncomfortable environments, especially when you’re sitting in one spot for a long time. Bring plenty of towels to absorb sweat on bodies, and a set of towels to take care of those spills in the car. No matter how careful you are, they’re going to happen.
It’s also a good idea to bring along some sunglasses, particularly for the driver. Sunlight can be blinding, and it makes it much harder to see the road ahead. That’s a dangerous situation, so block those rays. Sunblock is also an essential item. The sun is going to be coming into the vehicle from all angles, and even tinted glass can’t protect skin from those harmful UV rays. It is absolutely possible to get a sunburn even while sitting in the car, and you don’t want to face peeling, itchy skin even before the vacation really begins.
Whether or not your road trip includes enjoying places to see on Florida’s Gulf Coast or going somewhere sunny and beachy, you’re going to need sunblock. Don’t forget to pack it!
Everyone in the car needs to be entertained during a road trip, even the driver. Pack plenty of entertainment to keep everyone busy, so they won’t start bothering each other or the person who’s trying to operate the vehicle. Pack some tablets full of games for kids to enjoy. Don’t forget to bring along a charger that will work in the car, or this will end up being a huge problem. Small puzzle books can also be entertaining and keep passengers engaged during the drive.
The driver can keep his or her mind occupied with satellite streaming services that provide constant entertainment. All satellite radio apps have comedy channels that provide amusing bits 24/7, along with the usual music stations. Books on tape are another great way to keep everyone entertained and engaged, and several apps provide audio recordings of books of all types. Everything from fiction novels to textbooks are available through these apps. You can learn anything during a road trip, from how to grow amazing tomatoes in a home garden to how to find a great RN to BSN degree program.
Navigation and Emergency Contacts
Don’t leave home without packing navigation tools and emergency contact information. This stuff can make the difference between having a great road trip and winding up stranded on the side of the road. In addition to your usual navigation apps, pack away some actual paper maps. Technology has a bad habit of failing at all the wrong times, and the wrong time is usually when you’re in the middle of nowhere with no idea of where you are or where to go. Map out your entire route on paper, just in case. Maybe you won’t use your maps and that’s great, but maybe your navigation app will fail you. And in that case, you’re going to be very grateful to have a backup.
Make sure you also have phone numbers and contact names for roadside assistance and your car dealership or rental car agency, as well. Even if you only have local numbers for these places, nationwide chains will have branches all over the country that can help you no matter where you happen to be. Use the contact information for your local locations, and they can give you the info you need to contact a dealership or rental agency that’s closer to your current location while you’re road tripping.
In addition to all the stuff you need to bring to enjoy your trip, make sure you pack the five essentials that will make the trip easier and safer for everyone. Good packing is the key to having a good — and even fun — road trip.