Road trips are exciting!! They spark up your sense of adventure and stirs up an excitable energy as the plan unfolds. I like to think of it, as a pick your own adventure, because of its ease to pivot when plan-A and B gets detoured (pun intended). Also, it’s traveling without having to deal with flying and everything associated with airports.
After identifying your destination, dates, route and particular stopping points -such as visiting friends/family, or seeing quirky sights like The Biggest Ball of Yarn. It’s time to prepare making a good road trip, into an epic one.
Prepare your chariot
Get your car checked out
Besides a routine oil change, a full maintenance check up is best done prior a long road haul. Have your tire’s pressure checked (don’t forget the spare tire and make sure you have a wrench and car jack) engine, battery, and top up on the windshield wiper fluid.
Download Weather and GPS apps
Weather conditions can, do, and will change. A weather app will keep you abreast of the forecast (and when to keep off the road).
We have come a long way from printing out directions from Yahoo Maps and even further from an actual paper map. If your car isn’t equipped with GPS. An easy peazy solution is to download a GPS app (mine go to is Waze).
TIP * We all have experienced out of range of signal. So when this does happen. Go old school and have a paper road map as back up. The only issue with a paper map, is folding the bloody thing back up….. to its original fold (it’s like a reverse origami challenge).
You may know how to change a tire, but roadside assistance can be very helpful when you have two tires that need changing and a dead battery. If roadside assistance isn’t included on your auto insurance. Now is a great time to add it (just be certain to read what’s included and the exclusions).
This page has affiliate links to products. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links but it’s no additional cost to you.
What should I take on a long car trip?
I’ve done multiple cross country trips from the north tip of the US to the south and east to west (and vice versa). As well as overseas in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Besides taking your personal items (clothing, toiletries, medications, wireless devices, etc.). Here are a few must haves for a road trip.
You don’t want to be the person paying with a credit card at the toll booth. To save time and to prevent being the bottleneck at a booth. Stop by an ATM before hitting the open road.
Also, cash is good to have because you never know when you pull into a gas station that has pumps that don’t work properly (e.g. the card payment option is broken) and cash is the only option.
TIP * Don’t forget to alert your bank when going on out-of-state trips. You don’t want to have your debit and or credit cards to be frozen for an out-of-state charge.
Car Emergency Kit
Be a highway hero with an Emergency Roadside Car Assistance . This one checks all the boxes for road side necessities. It comes with a 10 foot jumper cable and practical road side assistant tools such as a tire kit, fuses, multi purpose tool, and much more.
Side note: It’s also a great gift for both new and seasoned drivers. Basically, it’s great for all who own vehicles.
It would be prudent to have an air compressor, such as the Tire Inflator Air Compressor. Having this, makes it convenient to check a tire’s pressure to ensure they are operating at optimal performance, and at the rate of your vehicle’s fuel economy. Why waste money on gas unnecessarily? It’s equipped with a built in flash light to assist in the night, comes with a guarantee warranty, and will automatically turn off to a preset pressure amount (smart).
This compressor is not just for car tires. It’s equipped with 4 different nozzles, making it multi functional for motorcycles, bicycle tires, inflatable boats and SUP boards, air mattresses, and most inflatable items.
First Aid Kit
First aid kits are ubiquitous. They are in our homes, at the office, at school and you should have one in your car. This 299 piece first aid kit is compact, and has all the items needed for minor aches and pains.
An additional item
In the unlikely event, but it does happen. Having a collar and leash is always helpful. A collar and leash is usually an item that’s not included on most must have lists, but it’s always helpful when the least expected happens.
Travel Gear make great road trip necessities.
Why? They are compact, extremely helpful, durable, can be used over and over again (such as for camping, beach trips, picnics, everyday use… you get the idea …. general life situations).
Here are more must haves for the open road.
Being on the road, gives you the ability to stop less frequently and keep fresh food. Because, sometimes you have a lot of mileage to cover and want to reach a certain stopping point before the sun sets (for those who don’t like driving at night). Keep stocked up and with a high performance cooler like the Titan Deep Freeze Cooler.
This cooler has a built in shelving to keep hard items like cans or bottles from smooshing more delicate items like sandwiches or chips. Is a must-take. These coolers also come in different sizes.
A few of the older generation travel pillows are not my favorite. The half donut pillow designs never supported my head. In fact, they did the exact opposite and pushed my head forward. Thus not sleeping very well and giving me neck pain.
As of late, pillow designers have answered this issue. Much like, Bcozzy’s Ergonomic Support Pillow. It supports neck, head, and chin and doesn’t push your head forward and they come in both adult and kid sizes.
Everyone should have a reusable water bottle. The Hydro Flask is anti slip, won’t sweat, stainless steal and BPA free.
For the kiddos, the Kids Thermos is perfect with a leak proof straw lid, BPA free, stainless steel, dishwasher safe and comes in a large assortment of designs and sizes.
Don’t forget ….
Snacks, well duh. I’m not here to tell you which snacks. As it’s a personal preferences and I see it as dealer’s choice. I’m here to say, car sickness may occur. Best be prepared.
Much like turbulence on a flight, an unexpected route can have hairpins turns that will have you holding on for dear life. Have some ginger ale, saltines, Dramamine, lavender essential oils, trash bags and paper towels (for when you can’t pull over in time).
TIP * eating on the road
If local dining options aren’t available or you can’t take eating at another fast food chain. Get to a grocery store. 1) They will most likely have a deli area or a prepared food section 2) The restrooms are cleaner than a gas station (and most likely not be out of toilet paper). 3) There are healthier options (verses gas station options).
What are fun things for kids?
Keeping the kids entertained can be a challenge. You want things to be compact, kid approved & durable, and anything that doesn’t have multiple pieces that you’ll be picking up every two seconds (or trying to find). Here are a few suggestions.
For starters, things need to be easily assessible and there are so many things! Keeping those things in a Back Seat Organizer, can make a road trip with kids more manageable.
Binoculars are super fun and don’t get the attention they deserve. These Obuby Binoculars are compact, can easily focus, durable, lightweight and adjustable for the eyeglass wearer. Let’s face it, adults can have fun with these too.
Tablets are a great tool for educational games, videos and books. A Fire HD Kids Tablet has a good battery life, easy to use, a warranty, parental controls, durable, and worth the money.
TIP * Get a 128G SD card to avoid running out of space.
It’s not just a click and shoot, but kids can add stickers (digital) to their pictures, take video and the VTech KidiZoom Camera has fun games. It has a long lasting battery, it’s kid proof (shatter resistant, holds up to sticky fingers) and keeps children engaged.
Happy Road Tripping!