Finally, finally! It feels that we’re all emerging from our extended pandemic isolation! It’s time to get out there again and experience the joys of traveling. What better way to start than with an extended road trip. Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable journey, so whether you’re heading off in an RV, a rugged 4×4, or a family saloon, here are some of the essentials that you shouldn’t leave home without.
Portable Air Compressor
Nothing can derail your travel plans like a flat tire. It should go without saying that you’ll be carrying a spare, but if not, investing in a portable air compressor will deal with a slow leak within seconds, and save you the trouble of a roadside tire change.
So, you get back into your vehicle, and it won’t start? The battery seems to be flat. It’s easy, right, just flag down a passing driver and borrow some of his juice. Fine, until you realize that neither of you has the jump leads needed to connect your vehicle to his battery. So make sure you have some good quality leads with you at all times.
Portable Power Supply
If you’re planning to go ‘off-grid for any length of time, it’s also worth investing in a portable power supply. You’ll need to recharge your mobile and other devices at some point, as well as perhaps power a small fridge, water heater, or even a TV!
Interior Organizer (s)
Packing all your essential items before you set off is one thing – finding them easily when you reach your destination is another. There are plenty of accessories out there to help your vehicle’s interior stay tidy from the start to the finish of your trip. One or more trunk organizers will help ensure you can easily get your hands on whatever your need, saving you time and hassle. They’ll also make it easier to pack up again in an organized way when you leave, which in turn will make it easier to unpack and store your items when you reach home.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is something you never think you’re going to need, until the moment you need it! Make sure yours contains an instant cold pack, bandages, surgical tape, scissors, disinfectant, anti-histamine cream, disposable gloves, and an emergency blanket at the very minimum.
Also, pack an additional supply of any essential medications you or your family may need – just in case you get stuck without access to a pharmacy or medical provider. Choose a soft bag to hold the items, so they can be stored in your glove compartment for easy access, rather than taking up valuable space in the trunk.
Collapsible Table and Chairs
If you’re planning to say in hotels or motels on your trip, it may not be immediately obvious why these would be needed – but on long drives, you’ll need to take a refreshment stop now and again. It may be that not every member of your party will enjoy sitting on the ground (or find it easy to get up and down) for some snacks and refreshments.
Some lightweight collapsible chairs will enable everyone to relax in comfort, take in the scenery and enjoy a welcome break from being inside the vehicle.
It’s not surprising that sunglasses are at high risk of being damaged during a long road trip. You’ll likely take them on and off according to your position in relation to the sun, so they can get dropped and scratched. If they’re thrown onto a seat at any point – chances are that they’ll get sat on!
So this simple clip helps you to keep them safe. It clips onto your sunvisor so you can hang your glasses safely, but they’ll still be within easy reach when you need them. There are plenty of designs to choose from, and this affordable little gadget can save you the cost of a new pair of your favorite designer shades.
Another item that costs next to nothing (and is often given away free as a promotional item) is a reflective sunshade for your windscreen. Not only does it help to reduce the interior temperature of the car when it’s been sitting in the sun for a while, but it also keeps the steering wheel and other plastic parts of the car cool enough to touch without burning your hands. It’s also useful to carry more than one. For example, if you want to leave the trunk open for any length of time, using your reflective sunshade to cover the items inside will help keep the sun’s burning rays from heating them beyond the ambient temperature level.
Of course, on a camping trip, inflatable mats are a no-brainer. But why pack them on a road trip when you have no intention of sleeping under the stars? Well, on extended trips, it’s natural to take picnic breaks, and perhaps relax a little before heading off on the next leg of your journey. One or more easy–to–inflate mats will allow you to stretch out and relax far more easily than if you put your car seats back into a ‘sleep’ position.
Keychain Car Escape Tool
Like the first aid kit, this is one of those accessories you think you’re never going to need. But if you ever find yourself in your worst-case scenario – it can mean the difference between life and death for you and your passengers. There are plenty of options to choose from – we think that keychain models are best as they’ll always be within reach. Options can include spring-loaded glass breakers, which can be used to shatter side windows (not windscreens, though). Choose one with a sturdy cutting tool to loosen or remove seat belts.
The final essential is a powerful headlamp torch. In the event of a breakdown at night, it will allow you to inspect the vehicle and carry out any necessary work. If you’re staying on a campsite, or out in the wilderness, it will make moving around in the dark that much safer and easier.