Whether you’re making a big move or taking a round trip vacation, there’s something iconic about seeing the country from the open road. Rather than rushing your way to a vacation destination this summer, why not take a road trip? Load up your car with family and friends, or maybe just one trusted co-pilot, grab a map and start your adventure. But maybe take a little more time planning than that. While your personal packing list will depend on season, length of trip, and destination, there are some essentials that should be packed for every road trip. Make sure you don’t forget anything; check out our Ultimate Road Trip Checklist to make sure your vehicle is prepared for anything.
It’s important to be prepared for small car emergencies whenever you hit the road, but especially on a road trip. These are some basic supplies you can keep on hand to address minor maintenance issues and replace worn out parts along the way.
- Jumper cables/jump box
- Extra wiper blades
- Extra head/tail light bulbs
- Washer fluid
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Tool kit with wrenches, pliers, and screw drivers
- Spare tire and jack
- Tire patching kit
While most people have access to some kind of GPS navigation through their smartphone, It can be helpful to have backup forms of navigation. You should also consider downloading smartphone apps that can assist you in navigating beyond the capacity of your built-in GPS.
- GPS Navigator- Consider purchasing a GPS system, to supplement your phone GPS or save you on data charges.
- Road Atlas- Never underestimate the power of physical maps. A good road atlas can be a life saver when phone batteries die or GPS signal is lost.
- Waze- A crowd-sourced navigation map that allows users to report heavy traffic, police and road hazards, and alerts you to reports made by other users along your route.
- GasBuddy- Helps locate nearby gas stations and allows access to user-reported prices (kind of like Waze for gas prices).
- iExit- IExit Interstate Exit Guide helps identify nearby amenities by highway exit, helping drives locate necessities like gas, public restrooms, food, wifi, and more.
- Flush- This app can be integrated with Google Maps or used alone, and helps locate public bathrooms nearby, as well as information such as whether the restroom requires a key or has handicap access.
- Along the Way- Searches for food, coffee, parks, shopping and more along your planned route, so that you can find everything you need without getting off track.
Whether you’re travelling as a family with kids, a group of adults, or just a pair, entertainment is key on a long drive. Take a look at these suggestions for entertainment along the road, and don’t forget all of the necessary chargers, batteries and accessories for all of your electronic devices.
- Audio input- Depending on the year and model of your car, there are many ways to connect a phone or mp3 player and play music. Check out your vehicle’s connectivity. Have an auxiliary jack or USB port? Stock up on these cords in case one is lost or broken. Don’t have one of these more modern accesses? Converters are available for tape players or radios.
- Spotify- This app allows you to search for songs through an expansive music catalog, and create personalized playlists. The free version only allows for playlists to be played on shuffle, but a 30-day Premium trial is available for free.
- Audible- This Amazon-owned app allows users to download podcasts and audiobooks onto their smartphones. Customers can pay for shows and books or check out some available free content.
- Mix tapes- No audio inputs, or just feel like going old school? Grab a stack of blank CDs and burn a stack of mixtapes for your trip. Bonus points if you can track down some of your old mix tapes and throw them in for a throwback experience.
- DVD/Blu-Ray– For backseat riders, particularly kids, long stretches of drive can be tedious. Some family vehicles such as SUVs and minivans come equipped with their own rear entertainment system, or you can opt for a lap top or a portable DVD player. Either way, don’t forget to pack plenty of movies, and some headphones so that front and rear passengers can enjoy their entertainment at the same time.
Obviously, your road trip checklist will ultimately be your own, and reflect your car, your personality, and your route. No matter where you’re going, though, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is well-equipped and prepared for the drive. Our friends at Kim’s Nissan, a local Nissan dealer in Laurel, Mississippi, recommend that you take care of maintenance like an oil change, tire alignment and an air filter change before you hit the road, just to be safe. It may also be a good idea to join a roadside assistance service like AAA. Considering a new ride? If you’re already in the market for a new car, think about making the purchase before your big trip. A new car will be in tip-top shape for extended travel, and many new vehicles come with a period of free roadside assistance through the dealer or manufacturer, as well as free trials of features like SiriusXM satellite radio and navigation services.