When we hear the words “road trip,” we usually think of a trek lasting at least several hours as opposed to a run to the grocery store. Whether the destination is a favored vacation spot, a relative’s house, a client’s office, or a business conference, getting in the car for a long haul requires some pre-travel wisdom. Are you traveling solo or with someone? Will there be kids in the car? How many stops do you plan to make along the way? Questions like these help to determine what essentials to bring along — and what incidental items are better left at home.
Things for the Car
These necessities may appear obvious but a surprising number of people get caught without them:
- Driver’s License — yes, many drivers are pulled over by law enforcement and can not produce a license because it was left at home. Whether in a wallet, purse, or another holder, keep it with you at all times.
- Insurance and Registration — not only must the driver be legal, so too must the vehicle. Updated registrations and auto insurance certificates should only be as far as the glove compartment.
- Operator’s Manual — sometimes, owners bring the car manually into the house to study it or keep it with other appliance user guides. Better to keep it in the car when an unfamiliar light goes on or a strange sound is emitted from under the hood.
- Spare Key — you never know when your keys can get misplaced, stolen, or otherwise lost, even damaged. Having a spare in an obscure but accessible compartment can save the day.
- Roadside Assistance Contact Info — you can have this through AAA or an insurance company. Remember, breakdowns and blowouts occur when least expected.
- Spare Tire and Jack — sometimes it’s quicker and easier to do it yourself, or have someone help you. Make sure you have what you need.
- Flashlight — good for night-time mishaps and foul weather trouble. Get one that is water-resistant.
Things for the Passengers
- Phone Charger — either in the car or portable.
- Bag or box for garbage — if you have a pulse, there will be garbage.
- Toilet Paper — some rest stops are not well-stocked.
- Cash — coins and paper money for parking, air pumps, laundry etc.
- Hand sanitizer
- First-Aid Kit
Things to Leave at Home
- Jewelry — i.e. expensive jewelry. Unless you are going to the White House for a state dinner, valuable accessories are simply vulnerable to theft.
- Complicated Meals/Snacks — anything that requires a lot of prepping and utensils.
- Soda or Carbonated Drinks — the drive will shake up the cans/bottles.
- Giant Suitcases — they consume too much space. Use bags and baskets, if necessary.
- Illegal Substances — never think you can’t get pulled over.