“Get your motor runnin’. Head out on the highway, looking for adventure” Steppenwolf hit a nerve with their hit Born to Be Wild, which has since become an anthem for the ever-popular road trip.
From graduating seniors looking for their first taste of freedom to those same adventurers 30 years later looking to rediscover their youth not knowing what the road holds is part of the draw. But there is a point at which the uncertainty and lack of pre-planning becomes more than expected. The key is to be prepared enough,… enough to survive the unexpected while still experiencing the thrill you seek.
The average road trip is more than a simple drive. You will be far from home, sometimes far from civilization. You will most likely find yourself in unfamiliar territory and without a friendly face in sight. Most importantly you will be relying on your car for far more than simple transportation – it is literally your life line. You will be traveling in it, eating in it and maybe even sleeping in it too. The following list of items will help you prepare for your trip and the unexpected as well.
If you are hitting the road there are certain items you must have including your driver’s license, insurance documents & vehicle registration. You will obviously need your wallet/purse, credit & debit cards and at least some cash for emergencies or when you can not use the credit card. For international trips (Canada & Mexico) a passport is also necessary.
You will want to prepare more than a simple First Aid kit, you will want a medical kit. Aside from the normal bandages, tape and gauze you will also want to bump it up a bit with over the counter pain killers, antibiotic cream, burn cream, digital thermometer, motion sickness medications etc.
Basically, you want to ensure you have what you need to address possible emergencies that may occur more than a few minutes from medical care. You will also need to have an ample supply of any prescriptions as well- more than you would need for the days you expect to be away.
Being on the road, surrounded by your friends with the radio blaring is all you need – for the first couple hours at least. As some point you will need additional comfort items and not having them will put a damper on any fun you may have had planned. Obviously, you will need to address basic survival / comfort items first by having plenty of snacks and drinks on hand. But do not rely on only Twizzlers and Mt. Dew, you will also want to have real food and water on hand in case you can not get to a rest stop or restaurant at meal time.
Next, you will want to put some blankets & pillows in the back for those who are not driving and do not forget the music playlist for those who can’t take a nap.
Finally, since everyone depends on their phone & tablets so much today, you will want to make sure you have the necessary cables, batteries etc. to keep everything running. If you have kids along do not forget reading material or road games as well.
Hopefully you will not have a need for your repair kit, but a sure way to ensure that is not the case is to find yourself miles from anywhere without one. Again, this kit needs to be more than a couple flares & tire pump it needs to be capable of handling a wide range of typical roadside problems. A small tool box with an assortment of wrenches (check to see whether you need metric or standard), pliers, screwdrivers etc. is a start. Add duct tape, some plastic wire ties, tire foam, jumper cables and maybe a spare belt for fan. Of course, you will also want a flash light and road flares or reflectors too. Check the spare tire, oil & water levels and tire pressure before leaving and when every you stop for fuel. One thing most people forget is an actual paper map – there are places your GPS or phone will not work.
For more tips on making your next road trip memorable check out this You Tube video.