Car Road Trip Ready Checklist
With summer on the horizon, I think most of us are ready for the cold wintry days to be a thing of the past. Bright, warm sun and a refreshing breeze make the perfect weather for a road trip. You could just jump in the car and go, but it’s best to do a little bit of planning and ensure that your car is in fact, road trip ready.
Start with a clean car, inside and out. You’ll feel more optimistic about the trip, things won’t get lost (as easily) or be difficult to find when you’re on the highway.
Before hitting the road, make sure the following are up to date:
- Recent oil change
- Clean air filter
- Brake pads in good condition
- Wiper blades in good condition and fluid is full
- All lights working and operational (headlights, turn signal lights, etc)
- Tires are properly inflated (if possible, stop by your local tire shop to have them checked prior to hitting the road)
- Hoses and belts in good condition, no cracks and nothing is loose
- Spare tire is in car and in good condition (make sure you have a tire iron and jack!)
This will help ensure your car is in good condition and ready to put on all of the extra miles. While you can’t avoid every possible issue your car may have, going through this quick checklist will at least help you avoid any preventable problems.
Even if your car is in good condition for the road, you want to be sure to pack a few extra things to ensure your safety and sanity (besides extra snacks and travel activities for kids).
Here are some things to think about packing:
- Small bags to gather garbage as you drive – As you stop at gas stations along the way you can toss the trash.
- Towels for spills or accidents – You will be happy you have them! Spills can range from drinks to sticky snacks to car sickness.
- Spare key for your car – Keep this in your wallet or purse (or hidden spot). If you lose your original key, this will save you so much time and money!
- Paper road map – Just in case you get lost out of cell range, these will be a lifesaver
- Small first aid kit – This kit comes with 100 life-saving items and weighs just one pound! Comes with bandages, emergency blanket, sting relief wipes, gauze and much more.
- Rechargeable car jump starter – Costco has one that occasionally goes on sale as well, but this gets great reviews! This would be a great option for road trips, especially if you are going to be traveling for long stretches during the night or in places that aren’t well-populated.
You should already have a survival kit in your car at all times. If you don’t, here’s some suggestions of what to include:
- A chain or thick towing rope
- Screwdrivers and wrenches in different sizes, pliers, hammer – this is a great little compact set
- Bungee cords – this set has 24 pieces, including canopy ties
- Jumper cables
- Foldable shovel – great if you get stuck in sand or snow
- Roll of duct tape – it’s good for everything!
- LED roadside flares – Super helpful if your car is disabled on the side of the road or in case of an accident
- Seasonal accessories (ice scraper, umbrella, rain gear)
- Bottled water + non-perishable snacks (granola or energy bars work great here!)
You never want to think about something bad happening, but even an unexpected detour can throw a kink in your plans. It’s always better to be over-prepared, so you don’t find yourself scrambling. This is especially true if you are traveling with younger kids.
We’d love to hear from you! If you are a road trip pro, what tips would you add to this list?
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