One of the ways we love to spend our free time is by taking road trips around New England. Road trips are an affordable, relaxing way to see new places, or take a mini-vacation. Having what you need in your car not only makes traveling more convenient, it also saves money. To make your road trip as safe and comfortable as possible here are some things you’ll want to be sure to bring along.
25 essentials to keep in your car for your next road trip adventure.
Actually, it just makes sense to always have jumper cables in your car, whether you are going on a short road trip or a long one. This is one item you should keep in your trunk at all times and double-check to be sure no one has taken them out of the car.
Tire Pressure Gauge
Over time, tires can lose air pressure making the handling of your vehicle less smooth. Having low air in your tires will wear them down unevenly, as well as throw off your car’s alignment, so keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove box.
Many of us have a spare tire in the trunk of our car. But it’s even more important to make sure you have one for summer road trips and that the spare is in good shape in case you get a flat tire. So, check your spare tire before you get on the road.
Car Jack and Lug Wrench
Having a spare tire will do you no good unless you have a car jack and lug wrench to make the repair. There’s nothing worse than getting stranded on the side of the road and having to wait for assistance, so remember to have tire tools on hand.
Tire Repair Spray
Another handy thing to carry while on the road is tire spray that can seal and inflate a tire temporarily. Fix-a-Flat tire spray can help temporarily if you are close to a service station where you can get help fixing a flat.
Keeping a flashlight in the car is a good safety precaution in case you get stranded at night. But it’s also good for searching for things in the car while driving at night so you don’t have to disturb the driver by putting on the overhead light. Also, if you don’t have a flashlight, try using the flashlight app on your smartphone.
First Aid Kit
Keep a first aid kit in your car stocked with band-aids, gauze, surgical tape, scissors, tweezers, a splint, antiseptic for cuts, sunburn spray, Benadryl for allergic reactions, eyedrops, and motion sickness remedies.
Car Power Inverter
A car inverter is ideal if you have a TV or DVD player in the car to entertain the kids on long trips. But it’s also handy for keeping cell phones and tablets charged.
Cell Phone Charger
If you don’t have a power inverter in your car, at the very least you should keep a car cell phone charger with you. Making sure your phone is charged is a necessity for summer road trips, especially if you use Google Maps for driving directions or need to call ahead for late hotel check-in.
These days many newer vehicles have built-in GPS systems. So, if you’re using your built-in GPS, make sure it’s set up correctly before you hit the road. For those using a cell phone for directions, make sure locations and maps are active in your phone settings.
Small Drink Cooler
Having a small drink cooler in your car will help you stay hydrated on summer road trips plus save you time and money from not having to stop and pick up drinks. We typically keep bottled water, iced tea, and Gatorade on hand for our road trips.
Along with drinks, you should always carry light snacks in your car for summer road trips. Some good choices are non-perishable items like granola bars, nuts, cookies, crackers, and fruit.
Summer Tote Bag
If your luggage is packed away in your car’s trunk, keeping a tote bag with you is ideal for carrying things you need to get to right away like cash, credit cards, eyeglasses, and medications.
In my vehicle, I like to keep spare sunglasses in the glove box. I happen to wear prescription sunglasses, so I always keep them with me. But lo and behold, someone always seems to get in my car and ask for sunglasses, so I keep guest sunglasses on hand.
Sweater or Light Jacket
Keeping sweaters and light jackets is a must for summer road trips because there always seems to be someone in the family car that’s too cold from the car’s air conditioning or when you stop to eat at a restaurant.
Flat, Sandals or Sneakers
If you’re going to be in the car for a while, then your feet should be comfortable, right? If you’re the driver, you may be most comfortable wearing sneakers, while passengers may want to relax in flats or sandals. In any event, keep comfortable footwear with you on road trips, because you can always change into dress shoes or heels later on.
We may always think about it, but it’s a good idea to keep at least two umbrellas in your car. It’s handy to have two in case one breaks or for extra passengers you may be traveling with.
Small Pill Bottle
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on a road trip and someone asks for an Advil or Tylenol. Now I make sure I always have basic headache remedies, along with over-the-counter allergy medication, throat lozenges, and stomach remedies.
If you ever felt like you were getting a suntan through your car window, you’re not crazy. It’s very easy to get a driver’s tan or sunburn while traveling in your car. That’s why keeping sunscreen in your car is a must. To prevent sunburn, use it before your skin starts to feel very hot.
While sunscreen is great to prevent getting a burn, keeping a small tube of hand lotion in your car will keep your hands feeling smooth, especially if you are doing frequent hand washing at rest stops and using hand sanitizers.
Sanitary Hand Wipes
Speaking of hand sanitizers, whether you have children in the car who forget to wash their hands at rest stops or need to clean up after having snacks, keeping sanitary hand wipes in your car is a Godsend. So, don’t just keep wet wipes in the car, use hand wipes that sanitize.
Keep a full-size box of tissues under your car seat when going on road trips. They not only are ideal for sniffles but convenient for cleaning sunglasses, getting smudges off of phone screens, and wiping up small spills in cup holders,
For larger messes that can occur on your summer road trips, keep a roll of paper towels on hand in your car. Not only can you keep your car clean, but you can use them on the dipstick to check your oil or for adding other fluids to your car.
Disposable Plastic Bags
Disposable plastic bags can be used in your car to collect trash. These bags are also handy to store wet swimsuits in, or for separating soiled clothes in a suitcase.
Keeping one or two small throw blankets or stadium blankets in your car for road trips will keep you and your family comfortable while resting in the car, (and you might even want a small neck pillow to get comfier). Plus, if you find a nice beach or picnic spot along the way, you can use them to have a place to sit.
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