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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

10 Road Trip Essentials

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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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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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?

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

Featured photo credit: averie woodard via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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