Whether you're doing a short or long road trip, you should have always have some essential gear. Some are for comfort, others are for backup, but all of them should be considered when venturing on the road. So gear up and get ready for some great memories.
Before you begin your road trip, it is a good idea to have a planned, detailed route. While on the road, having a navigation system of some sort is imperative. Many new cars have built-in navigation systems and most phones have an app that will assist in navigating. There is also a wide variety of portable GPS units for a range of prices and special features. But still, even with modern and innovative technology, it is still recommended that you bring actual printed maps in case there is no cellular service, your phone runs out of battery, you face an unexpected detour or simply to get off the beaten track.
2. Vehicle Maintenance
Possibly the most important gear to have when embarking on an exciting road trip are the vehicle maintenance items. If your trip is going to be rather lengthy, it is highly recommended to have your vehicle serviced to be sure it is in tip-top condition. A flat or damaged tire can happen to even the best of vehicles, so it is important to check that your spare tire is in good condition and the tire iron and jack are nearby. One product we recommend is Fix-a-Flat tire inflator. If it's a light puncture, you can fill up your tire and seal the cut at the same time. Other useful items to bring on your road trip are a spare set of keys, tire pressure gauge and additional fluids such as windshield wiper fluid.
3. Cell Phone and Accessories
From handy GPS access to an immense array of entertaining applications, cell phones are an essential part of our lives on and off the road. It is not only important to bring your cell phone, but also any accessories you may need such as plug-in charger, USB connection cord and travel chargers. Many phone chargers are now compatible with multiple different cell phones and many cars are coming equipped with USB connections to easily connect your smartphone. Cell phones have numerous functions to be taken advantage of on a road trip. Satechi provides some quality smartphone external power batteries.
Although the vast majority of cell phones come with built-in cameras these days, if you are going to effectively collect and preserve your memories, a high-quality camera is the best choice. Many cell phone cameras produce images with a low number megapixels resulting in lower quality pictures. Digital cameras come with an array of options and some are capable of functioning as a video camera also. Along with the actual camera, be sure to bring all the accessories you will need such as a spare battery, charger and extra film if you have a more traditional camera. We're a fan of the Fuji X-100 series.
5. Comfort Items
When driving long distances, it is important to be comfortable. Instead of tight jeans and cute new shoes you will want to wear loose comfy clothing and shoes that easily slip on and off. When you are the driver, keep your shoes on at all times, but when you get to relax as the passenger, feel free to let your feet breath for a bit. Wearing layers works well for varying temperatures and situations. Also, remember to bring along blankets and pillows for anytime you can sneak a nap and to provide familiarity when you are in unknown places. Although they're primary known as running shoes, the Asics Gel-Kayano are also great all-around shoes for walking, hiking, and are very comfortable.
Before you begin your journey, it is best to take a trip to the grocery store; convenience stores tend to be more expensive. It is always a good idea to bring plenty of bottled water kept in a good-sized cooler. An ample selection of healthy snacks should be taken along, such as granola bars, pretzels and a variety of nuts. Fruit like strawberries, grapes and blueberries are also good choices. Preparing sandwiches before your trip will save you time and money while on the road. Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks that offer little nutritional value. For extreme hiking and roughing-it enthusiasts, you can't go wrong with a water bottle that filters.
Stay entertained during your road trip with an excellent music collection. Get a collection of CDs ready before you start your trip; keep all passengers in mind and bring a variety of genres to suit everyone’s tastes. Many newer cars come with Bluetooth capabilities enabling you to listen to music from your smartphone. There are Bluetooth adapters that connect through your FM radio if your car isn’t equipped. Check your cell phone for fun travel apps such as GasBuddy, Roadside America and weather.com. If you are traveling with children, portable DVD players will keep them entertained for hours.
8. Small Tool Kit
Having a small collection of practical tools can save the day if an unexpected incident occurs. All kits should include at least one flashlight and/or headlamp. Headlamps are extremely helpful if you need to do things in the dark such as set up a tent or unpack the car. Other items to include are a pocket knife, duct tape and a multi-tool. There are many small tool kits that come complete with hammer, screwdriver, pliers, and wrenches all in a small portable toolbox.
9. Personal Items
Toiletries and other personal items should be kept nearby where they can be easily accessed if needed. Items such as sunglasses, cleansing wipes and sunscreen will all come in handy while on your road trip. Be sure to bring enough of your personal prescription medications to last the duration of the trip. Don’t forget toilet paper, facial tissue and paper towels. Depending on the journey, it may be a good idea to keep medications such as antacids and motion sickness remedies close by. When traveling with children, use wet wipes to help clean up any small messes on faces or in the vehicle.
10. Cell Phone Signal Booster
Let's be honest. Not only is your cell phone the most important gadget you possess every day, it's also the most vital for road trips. Whether for email, texting, calls, internet, you're going to need them whether you're in the big city or the woods. But fortunately, it's severely handicapped if you're not getting signal. And without signal, your smartphone isn't so smart. Luckily, there are cell phone signal boosters for many types of vehicles like cars, trucks, RVs, and even boats. So unless you're okay with the dreaded no-service dead zone, it's recommended get one.
11. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is a convenient way to treat a variety of ailments and accidents, from cuts and scrapes to burns and blisters. A well-equipped first aid kit will have different sizes of bandages, basic medications such as aspirin and allergy medicines and ointments for infections and burns. Other useful items to include are tissue, hand sanitizer and an anti-itch cream for bug bites or other unexpected rashes. Purchasing a complete first aid kit is the simplest way to go, however you can make your own travel kit using the items in your medicine cabinet.