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10 Road Trip Essentials

10 Road Trip Essentials

Every summer since I can remember, I’ve taken at least one road trip. This is especially significant because now, living in New York City, I don’t own a car. But that wasn’t always the case. When I lived in Phoenix, I thought nothing of driving to Las Vegas for the weekend or to Los Angeles to visit friends.

Through experience and learning the hard way, through accidents and car trouble, I have come up with a list of 10 absolute essentials you should keep with you at all times when on a road trip: especially if you’re driving long distances where there are no pit stops, no gas stations, and no one around. These could very well save your life!

1. AAA Membership

A “Triple A” membership costs merely $52 per year while providing a host of benefits if you get into trouble on the road. Flat tire? They’ll show up to help. Dead battery? Call AAA. Ran out of gas? They will bring you more. Membership includes up to 4 service calls per year. The membership more than pays for itself if you have one single mishap.

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Road Trip In A Shelby? Yes, Please!

    2. Quality Car Phone Charger

    A good, reliable charger that can juice up your phone through the cigarette lighter or USB port in your vehicle is crucial. If you do get stuck on the road with no facilities nearby and you do need to call for help, you won’t be able to with a dead phone.

    3. Gallon Jug of Drinking Water

    If you get stranded and can’t get help right away, you’ll still need to stay hydrated. You can go weeks without food, but not water. This is especially important when you’re driving along the hot, desert roads in California and the Southwest in the summers.

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    4. Bottle of Engine Coolant

    Cars overheat. Coolant goes bad. Keep a bottle of engine coolant, also referred to as antifreeze, in your vehicle at all times in the event that your engine’s temperature gets dangerously high. You’ll be able to keep the problem at bay until you can get to an auto repair shop. Just keep in mind: wait until the engine cools down before adding fluid to avoid burns and cracking your engine block.

    5. Driver’s License / Registration / Car Insurance

    If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can’t drive. If you don’t have car insurance, you can’t drive. If you don’t have your car registered…you guessed it…you can’t drive! Keep these pieces of information with you and your vehicle at all times in the event that you get pulled over by the highway patrol. You can get an extra whammy of a fine if you fail to provide these credentials.

    6. At Least 2 Credit Cards / Several Days’ Supply of Cash

    It never fails: you’re in a bind and need gas, food, or shelter but the magnetic strip on your card wore off. Or the bank freezes it, suspecting fraud. What do you do? Have a back-up card. And cash. Always, always, always carry cash. Enough to get you through a few days’ expenses until a new card can arrive.

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    7. First-Aid Kit

    Whenever you’re traveling, particularly if you’re solo, you should protect yourself and be prepared. Bringing a kit that includes Band-Aids, gauze, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, surgical scissors, latex gloves, aspirin, Benadryl, and any other medicines you might need in an emergency is strongly advised. If you get into an accident with minor injuries and help is far away, you can do some damage control while you wait.

    8. Roll of Toilet Paper

    Because toilets aren’t always where you need them to be. And public restrooms on the road aren’t always stocked like they should be.

    9. Rand McNally Road Atlas

    Phone died? Car charger died? No signal for Google Maps? GPS acting up? Keep a solid, turn-the-page, good ol’ fashioned Road Atlas in your car at all times. It won’t take up much space, and you can always rely on it working. Just pull over before you try to read the tiny print.

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    Road trippin' all over the USA

      10. Freestanding Large Flashlight and Fresh Batteries

      If you’ve ever needed to change a tire in the dark, you’ll know why a freestanding flashlight is an absolute must. Other car trouble? Simply having a flashlight to, well, shed light on the complicated parts of your engine to determine the issue would be better than using an app on your phone: you don’t want to add “dropped cell phone into the hot engine” to your list of problems, do you?

      Pack these essentials and you’re sure to have a safe, successful blast of a trip. Enjoy the ride!

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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