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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 October 16, 2018

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

      It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

      If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

      One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

      Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

      In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

      Why you can’t sleep through the night

      The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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      Stress

      If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

      Exposure to blue light before sleep time

      We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

      While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

      Eating close to bedtime

      Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

      Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

      Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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      Medical conditions

      In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

      The vicious sleep cycle

      The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

      Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

      You get a bad night’s sleep
      –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
      –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
      –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

        You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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        How to sleep better (throughout the night)

        To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

        1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

        What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

        Here are a few suggestions:

        • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
        • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
        • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
        • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
        • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

        2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

        What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

        • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
        • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
        • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
        • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

        3. Adjust your sleep temperature

        Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

        Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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        Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

        Sleep better form now on

        Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

        I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

        As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

        Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

        Reference

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