Road Trip Essentials, whether it’s a Vegas run, spring break, or a cross-country tour, traveling by car has its advantages. Having transportation at your destination, and the convenience of schedule is great, but throw in some beautiful American scenery, and you have a real road trip.
Here then, is a checklist to help you have a trouble-free experience:
- Full mechanical service, including tire rotation/balance: If it’s not time for your scheduled maintenance, top off fluids and tire pressure.
- Check spare tire and tools: Trouble overcoming a simple flat tire can cost you valuable time and money.
- The vehicle owner’s manual: That tells you everything you need to know about your car.
- Car wash and full tank of gas: You’re going to bust plenty of bugs on your drive—start with a clean slate and reduce aerodynamic drag.
Road Trip Essentials Documents
- Driver license: Government-issued photo identification for all travelers; licenses for all drivers.
- Vehicle registration: Current certificate in your glove box, and stickers on your plate.
- Proof of insurance: Current!
- Maps/tour books: Helps you overcome wrong turns, and gives you the flexibility to see or stay anywhere.
- Address book: Have options of whom to call in an emergency.
- ATM/major credit card & cash: Don’t get stuck without funds.
On-Board Road Trip Requirement
- Cell phone and chargers: Make sure your account is paid. Take both home and mobile chargers if available.
- Sunglasses: Polarized and UV blocking are best; should be used whenever driving in sunny conditions.
- Analgesic: Aspirin or Tylenol can overcome almost any minor ailment.
- Simethicone tablets: Relieve “gastric discomfort” often caused by fast food and physical inactivity.
- Caffeine tablets: Not as fun as caffeinated beverages, but reduces urgent “rest” stops. Falling asleep while driving can be deadly.
- Can/bottle opener: Combination utensil if available.
- Fork, spoon, & pocket knife: Must be sharp; preferably Swiss Army, including scissors, toothpick, and satellite dish.
- Paper towels: Substitute for napkins, Kleenex, or toilet paper; add water, and they can clean up after in-car meals, or clear bugs from your windshield.
- Large plastic tumbler: Aids in clean-up, or if fast-food cups leak.
- Bottled water: Six-pack of half-liter bottles; for both drinking and cleaning; hopefully not for engine overheating.
- Duct tape: Holds the universe together; can patch a radiator hose, or hold up a broken tailpipe.
- Large trash bags: Can hold trash, wet clothing, or be turned into rain ponchos.
- Flashlight: Preferably crank-powered, without batteries; can be a beacon at night or aid in vehicle inspection under the hood or body.
If Room Allows
- Gas can: Empty and preferably plastic, just in case.
- Blanket: Critical if the car breaks down at night or someone falls ill.