It’s that time of year again–when the sun is out, the skies are clear and it’s time to hit the road! If you’re gearing up for your next adventure, here’s a list of four essential items to ease your worries before you hit the road.
Old Fashioned Paper Maps. In an age when smartphones lurk in almost every pocket, it may seem redundant to bring a paper map on a road trip. It isn’t – it’s good planning. Many of our national parks have large sections where it’s impossible to find a cell phone signal. If you’ve ever driven Big Sur, you know what I’m talking about. Del Norte Redwoods State Park in northern California is yet another dead zone for cell phones. Take a wrong turn or two in either of these locations (or many other rural areas across the country) and you’ll be glad you had that map tucked into your glove box.
Small Ice Chest. Whether you’re traveling with children or a group of adults, it’s always a good idea to have some quick snacks on hand, and it’s surprising how much you can fit in a small ice chest. If you’re traveling through some fairly desolate areas, such as Nevada’s famous Highway 50, also known as “The Loneliest Road in America,” it may be a long time before you find any food. A well-stocked ice chest is good insurance during a road trip – especially if you’re traveling with one of those people who becomes a gremlin when they get hungry.
Baby Wipes. Yes, Baby wipes. At some point during every road trip, something happens that involves stopping the car and wiping some substance off of some surface. It might be chocolate and skin. It might be mustard and the ceiling of the car. It could very well be your smartphone and any number of liquids. All it takes is one sneaky pothole. Or a rogue gust of wind. Or an unhappy pet. When a sticky, messy catastrophe strikes, you’ll be thankful for the ability to wipe it up (or off).
Vehicle Emergency Kit. It goes without saying that road trips involve some wear and tear on your vehicle. While most can handle the added miles, some will have a hiccup or two along the way. You can help prevent those hiccups from ruining your trip by purchasing a vehicle emergency kit. Your kit should have at least the basics: a flashlight and jumper cables. For additional peace of mine, you can also purchase a portable tire inflator and a portable battery charger. Check everything in your emergency kit a day or two before each trip to ensure that everything is charged and in good working order.
Every road trip is different. Whether you plan to be gone for a few days or a few weeks, it’s important to plan ahead. This list can help you get started on your next great adventure!