Happy family on a road trip

Road trip – over the river and through the woods

Many of us take to the road during the holiday season. Before embarking on any road trip, it is essential to have an emergency kit and things to occupy your passengers. It is in your best interest to be prepared.

Have an oil change and do any other routine maintenance if it is due before you take the trip. Check your tire pressure to get the maximum gas mileage. Check the oil and fill the tank before you get everyone and everything packed into the car.

Emergency kit

While space may be limited in the car for your travels, there are some essentials that are important to keep on hand.

  • Bottled water
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Paper towels
  • First aid kit – Plastic/waterproof container containing bandages, medical tape, aspirin (or whatever pain reliever you use), triple antibiotic ointment and scissors.
  • Cereal, power bars and/or beef jerky – in case you get stuck somewhere and get hungry. If there is room, keep them in the waterproof container that is your first aid kit. Choose foods that need no refrigeration and keep for a long time.
  • Quart of oil
  • Coolant
  • Fix-a-flat or similar tire inflating canister.
  • Reflective triangle and flares to put on the road if you break down.
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Paper and pen
  • Portable phone charger
  • Ice scraper

You might be thinking – Wow, that is going to take up my entire car! The first aid kit should be in a small container. Paper, pen, phone charger can go in the glove box. You can compact these items so they don’t take up too much space. It is important, especially if you have elderly passengers or kids in the car, to be prepared for any problems that might arise on your trip.

Many of the things on the list can be purchased as a kit that comes in its own case. They are made to take up as little space as possible. Pre-packaged first aid kits are also available.

Kids and the elderly

Will you have any kids on the trip with you? Elderly people? You will probably have to make a few bathroom breaks stops, but everyone gets bored and hungry in the car. Try to find some healthy snacks or meals to avoid all of the fast food restaurants you find along the road.

The kids will need some entertaining. Some cars have wifi and kids can watch videos or play games along the way. Old fashioned things like magnetic car versions of checkers, backgammon or tic-tac-toe can be entertaining if there are two kids. If there are more, it could incite a riot. Books are another good form of car entertainment.

Some kids like to sleep on road trips so a pillow and blanket can be helpful. Sing-alongs are another road trip favorite. Sing-alongs are great fun and become memories on their own. Planning ahead will make the trip go more smoothly.

However you hit the road and wherever you go, having a car that is in good shape and well stocked will make the trip easier. Before you head out, you might want to watch a few road trip movies to get you in the mood.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and a safe trip if you take one.

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