Road trips are an economical way to travel long distances. Airfares continue to climb and security measures continue to limit what you can take on a airplane. Road tripping also allows you to see more of the country and maybe even have an unplanned adventure or two along the way.
Before you start off on your journey, be sure you have packed these essential items to make the trip easier, safer and more enjoyable.
Tools. You never know when your car might experience a little bit of trouble along the way. While there is roadside assistance, having basic tools can help you fix small problems or even annoyances with your car. A screwdriver can tighten hoses that have come loose in the engine compartment, as well as tighten up loose interior components that are making an annoying rattling noise.
Extra car fluids. Even if your car runs just fine, it’s a good idea to take some extra fluids along as a precaution. Include engine oil, coolant and window washer fluid. Brake fluid, power steering fluid and transmission fluid are not as likely to need topping off during a trip, but it doesn’t hurt to take them along as well.
Blankets. Throwing some extra blankets in the trunk of your car can come in handy if you have the unfortunate experience of your car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Even in blazing hot deserts in the middle of the summer, night time temperatures can plummet enough that having a blanket is necessary. You also might find that driving through mountainous areas you are colder than you expected and a blanket is the only warm item you have with you.
Tire pressure gauge. It doesn’t matter if you use a fancy digital tire pressure gauge or one of the manual old types, having one with you is extremely helpful. Every time you stop for gas, take a quick moment to read all four tires’ pressure. Properly inflated tires help your car achieve optimal fuel mileage, plus they allow the car to handle better and brake quicker.
Food and drinks. Being able to snack and have a drink on hand while driving through the middle of nowhere makes the trip more enjoyable. In addition, having a surplus of both food and drinks in the car can be a literal lifesaver if you become stranded. Choose foods that are high in protein like nuts or beef jerky, since they will provide you with the most energy.
Flashlight and flares. A flashlight comes in handy if you need to look under the hood or anywhere around the wheels of the car in the middle of the night. Having a few flares in your trunk provides a way to signal for help if your car breaks down or crashes in the night or during inclement weather.
Jumper cables. You never know when you might forget to turn off the car’s dome light or the battery just decides to give out. Having jumper cables on hand helps you get going again as long as another vehicle is nearby. Choose a set of cables that come with attached instructions, helping you attach the cables correctly without injury.