Preparing for a road trip, especially a long one, can be overwhelming. Planning ahead helps ensure you bring the essentials to keep you and your travel companions safe and comfortable on the road. Use this checklist to help you pack for your next road trip.
When your car is your primary mode of transportation, it’s important to keep it running smoothly. Car trouble tends to occur at the most inconvenient times when you’re nowhere near a mechanic. Whether you need to change a tire or make an emergency repair, the following items can help you travel safely in your car.
It’s helpful to have a copy of the owner’s manual in your car even when you’re close to home, but it can be a lifesaver if something goes wrong while you’re on the road. Your owner’s manual can tell you what to do if a service light turns on, how to refill fluids, and how to jump-start your car. Keep a copy of the manual in your glove box. If you don’t have a physical copy, search online for your car’s make, model, and year to find and download the relevant manual.
If you experience a tire blowout while driving down the highway, it’s not only inconvenient — it’s dangerous. Make sure you have a spare tire in case of emergencies and check your car’s air pressure before your trip to ensure it’s in good condition. It’s also helpful to bring a car jack, lug wrench, and tire pressure gauge so you can easily change a tire.
Jumper cables allow you to jump-start your vehicle if the battery dies. You can also use jumper cables to help other travelers experiencing car troubles. If you’re traveling in a remote area where you may not see many other cars, consider bringing a portable battery to jump-start your car if necessary.
If you’re hitting the trails or driving in inclement weather, there’s nothing worse than realizing your car has run out of wiper fluid. Bring some extra wiper fluid in case this happens while you’re on the road. Refilling your wiper fluid as needed ensures you can see clearly and drive safely, no matter where the road takes you.
Stash a simple toolkit in your car with some helpful essentials in the event you need to make a small repair. A small tool kit typically includes a screwdriver, wrench, flashlight, tow rope, bungee cord, and gloves. It’s best to be prepared should you run into an unexpected situation on your trip.
Make a list of the personal essentials you can’t be without on a road trip. While these essentials can vary from person to person, here are some ideas of what to take on your next trip:
Cash or Credit Card
Unless you’re planning to live off the land for the entirety of your road trip, you’ll probably need money to pay for hotels or campsites, meals, and other items. Bring enough cash to cover your planned expenses, plus some extra in case of emergencies. Even if you plan to use your credit card, have some cash on hand for parking meters or toll roads.
Be sure to pack all the essential toiletries you’ll need for your trip, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, and lotion. Bring some wet wipes and hand sanitizer if you’ll be spending time in public places. And don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential for treating cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other ailments that can occur on a road trip. Make sure your first aid kit contains basic supplies, such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, scissors, and pain medication, such as ibuprofen. Other helpful first aid items include antibacterial ointment, gauze pads, antihistamines, tweezers, and medical adhesive tape.
These days, nearly everyone uses their smartphone to navigate to their destination and research the best places to stop. Here are some electronic-related things you don’t want to forget on your road trip:
Make sure you have a phone charger, USB cords, or a portable charger to keep your electronics fully charged and ready to use. Your phone won’t do you much good if it runs out of battery while you’re in the middle of nowhere.
While traveling, you may drive through remote areas without Wi-Fi or cellphone service. A mobile Wi-Fi hotspot allows you to stay connected via your smartphone or mobile device.
There’s nothing worse than losing access to your online maps when you don’t know where you are. You can download maps ahead of time to use when you’re offline. Google Maps, Roadtrippers, and Maps.me are a few apps that allow you to download maps you can use without service.
Miscellaneous Road Trip Essentials
When you’re on a road trip, a few extras can make your journey more pleasant and comfortable. Below are some miscellaneous road trip essentials you may want to put on your packing list.
- Snacks: Bring some favorite snacks, such as granola bars or trail mix, to keep you full between meals.
- Cooler: Fill a cooler with ice and bring some beverages, sandwiches, or other cold foods to help you save money on food.
- Blanket: You can use a blanket for extra warmth in the car or spread it out for a picnic lunch.
- Garbage bags: Stash some garbage bags in your car to collect trash or keep wet clothes separated from the rest of your luggage.
- Sunglasses: Whether you’re driving or riding shotgun, sunglasses can save you from squinting on sunny days.
Now you know what to bring to stay safe, connected, and comfortable on your next road trip. Did you find this list helpful? If you’re a seasoned traveler, did we miss any important road-trip items? Send a message to New Jersey State Auto Used Cars and let us know. We’ll make sure to add your suggestion to the checklist. If you’re worried about your vehicle breaking down on your next road trip, it may be time for a new car. We offer a vast selection of quality used cars, trucks, and SUVs. We can help make your dream car a reality with competitive prices and affordable financing. Browse our online inventory or contact us for more information about the vehicles we have in stock.