Your car is in gear and your buddies are ready to go. But just before you step on that gas pedal and embark on your week-long joy ride, pack your buggy with the items below. Trust us: a little preparation goes a long way when it comes to preserving goodwill during a long car ride. You don’t want to be counting down the 1,798 miles until you get home in a dead silent car.
- Extra motor oil and fuses
You never know what may go wrong when you’re traversing new territories in lands unknown. Two of the most common problems that happen on the road are blown fuses and oil shortages, so bring at least a quart of extra motor oil and some extra fuses.
- Mobile phone with a charger (optional: walkie talkies)
You were probably going to bring your cell anyways, but don’t just use it to chat away with friends when bored; rather, save the phone calls for emergencies. And while it may seem old fashioned to lug walkie talkies along, they’re an easy solution if you’re traveling with multiple cars. Walkie talkies also work in areas where there is no cell phone reception.
- Audio books and music
No matter how gabby you and your friends are there will be plenty of times where you will just be sitting there checking your hair for split ends. For those inevitable situations, music (in enough genres to suit everyone’s tastes) saves the day.
Audio books are another source of diversion that, unlike their hard-copy peers, don’t cause extreme nausea when read in the car.
- Healthy, non-fussy snacks + a cooler
A bleak landscape, days without end in a cramped car, and the munchies are the perfect recipe for a bad time. Keep everyone well-fed with non-messy, healthy treats like energy bars, cheese, and vegetables. Throw all your edibles inside a cooler so they stay edible.
- Wet wipes
A small, contained space with minimal air circulation is a breeding ground for funky smells. Do your car mates a favor and wipe yourself down with wet wipes. Use them to wash your hands and freshen your armpits if deodorant is unavailable.
- AAA membership card
Probably the single most important card you can bring with you on a road trip (other than your driver’s license, of course). In case your car has fallen and can’t get up, AAA membership gets you 24-hour roadside assistance and towing services. Plus peace of mind.
- Water – bottled and spray-on
Car air can be extremely dehydrating, so make sure to drink water continuously. While you’re at it, prevent your skin from drying out by spritzing it with mineral water spray, like this one from Evian.
Most of us have a GPS, but if your GPS breaks down or you’re navigating uncharted territories it’s good to have a map to fall back on.
- Motion sickness pills (included in first aid kit)
No road trip first aid kit is complete without Dramamine. For natural alternatives, try chewing ginger candy or ginger gum.
- Extra: Listerine strips
The last thing you want on a road trip is to visit a roadside food joint and have everyone stinking up the car afterwards with garlic breath. As a precaution, throw some Listerine strips in your bag.