Things to Plan for a Long Road Trip
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
May 15, 2014
Filed Under Vacations
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Paul Seaburn
Willie Nelson loved being “On The Road Again” and you can too with the right preparation.
Packing things for a road trip is a good idea even for short hauls. It’s easy to foresee driving emergencies but there’s lots of other activities involved in road trips that can be made easier and more fun when you pack a few extra things in a bag or the trunk. Try some of these tips for your next trip.
10. Maps, Directions or a GPS
Moses didn’t take these and look what happened to him! You can get excellent maps and custom trip guides from AAA and they’re free with a membership. GoogleMaps, MapQuest and other online mapping services are free and allow you to print both maps and directions. The modern alternative to maps is a global positioning system, which is built into many new cars, but can be purchased separately or downloaded as a smartphone app.
9. First Aid Kit For You
Accidents happen and can slow down or even ruin your road trip. Pack bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointment, antacids and your favorite pain relief medication for starters. Don’t forget to take your daily medications, vitamins and emergency meds like inhalers or a blood pressure kit. Bring along ergonometric gear to make sitting in the car less painful. Top it off with a blanket in case you get stuck without heat and put everything within easy reach in your trunk.
8. First Aid Kit For Your Car
Having your car checked by mechanic before the trip is essential, but accidents can still happen accidentally. You can minimize their impact with a first aid kit for your car. Include things like a gas can, a set of basic tools, flashlight with fresh batteries, an emergency flat fixer and a can of oil stored in a place you can get to without emptying the trunk. Take an extra set of keys and consider a membership in AAA as a backup for emergency roadside service and towing.
7. Food and Fluids
While it seems like there’s a convenience store on every corner, they may not carry foods you like and are often expensive. Fill one cooler with foods you like – crumb-free snacks, fruit, breakfast cereals, bowls, plates, paper towels and plastic cutlery. Fill the other with liquids like water, milk, sodas and energy drinks. Ice packs are great until they thaw, so make sure there’s room in your liquids cooler for ice.
6. Comforts of Home
A good night’s sleep is essential for long drives so take along your own pillow and blanket to supplement the minimal ones many motels provide. If you’re worried about germs, pack a pillow protector too. Car pillows are great for sleepy passengers and to relieve back stress. Rest stops run out of essentials so bring extra toiletries for washing your hands and performing other bathroom cleanups. A nice fluffy towel can come in handy when all of the motel wipes are soaked.
Cell phones, tablets and GPAs are essential on long trips and useless when they’re not working. Keep them charged by bringing along a car charger and adapters or a hand crank charger for quick power until you can get to a hotel or other place with power. If you’re pressed for space, look for small travel accessories for electronic devices.
Extra clothes are essential if you’re traveling with children, but even if you’re not staying overnight, clothes can get dirty, stained and sweaty on a long road trip. Slippers are great for sore feet in the car or at the hotel. A spare shirt and pants will save you embarrassment in a nice restaurant and a quick change can be just the thing to perk you up for the long drive home.
3. Picture-Taking Device
They used to be called “cameras” but with the popularity of cell phones and tablets with built-in cameras, you can call them whatever you like as long as you take one on your trip. Phones and tablets make it easy to upload photos to social media sites for sharing with friends back home, but invest in a good camera if you want good quality photos and want the versatility of telephotos or close-ups.
Cars and music have always gone hand-in-hand-brake, so whatever kind of music player your car has, make a mix collection of your favorite music to play on the trip. Music is better than videos because it keeps everyone’s eyes (not just the driver’s) free to watch the scenery go by and take in the wonderful sights of America.
Long trips are even longer when you’re alone in the car. Traveling with family and friends makes the road seem less bumpy. Make sure you agree ahead of time on who rides shotgun and limits on back-seat driving and your road trip will be a fun trip no matter where you’re going.