What to Load in Your Car Before You Hit the Road

Summer’s almost here and that means it’s road trip season. Whether it’s a romantic getaway for two or a weekend for the boys, swapping a flight for the open road makes your trip as much about the journey as it is about the destination. On the other hand, we’ve all had a less than perfect road trip experience thanks to a flat tire, heavy traffic, a dead phone or a missed exit. But with a little preparation and these on-the-road essentials, your next road trip can go off without a hitch. 

An Awesome Playlist, Audiobook or Podcast Series 

Good entertainment is the key to any successful road trip. And because you don’t want to be searching for the perfect playlist once you’re on the road, a little preparation goes a long way. 

For short trips—four hours or less—a carefully curated playlist might be just the thing. Longer trips are a different story. This could be your chance to listen to a new audiobook from cover to cover or binge a whole season of the latest true crime podcast. Of course, if you’re traveling with other people, you should consider their entertainment preferences, too. Oh, and don’t forget the portable DVD players or tablets loaded with movies if you have kids!

Another important factor to consider is how you’re going to stream your entertainment through your car’s speakers. Needless to say, Bluetooth connects your phone to your car in the most convenient way, but there are many other music streaming options out there to fit your needs and budget.

Phone Charger for Your Car

Smartphones and road trips are a match made in heaven. But before you get on the highway, make sure you have a way to keep your phone powered up throughout your journey. That means you won’t get caught without a way to stream your favorite songs, locate the nearest Starbucks or find an alternate route if you run into road closures. If you ask us, a phone charger for your car is one of the most important thing to pack for any trip. 

Energy-Boosting Snacks and Plenty of Water

There are few worse things than hunger pangs hitting on a long stretch of road with no rest stops for miles, except maybe when unquenchable thirst is thrown in the mix. And even when there are roadside eateries nearby, your options might be limited to stale bagels, day-old donuts and fast food.

Avoid getting “hangry” the dangerous combination of hunger and anger—by packing a cooler of snacks and plenty of H2O. Not only will healthier snacks, like fruit, nuts and protein bars, keep you satisfied longer, but they won’t spike your blood sugar like junk foods might so you can stay awake and alert while you drive.

Directions (on Your Phone and on Paper)

Aside from a way to listen to the latest news or the newest single from your favorite artist, smartphones are an ideal travel partner because they can pull up accurate directions and maps in just a few taps. But what happens if you lose reception or forget to pack your car phone charger? 

No matter how convenient our phones make it to get directions on the go, it’s important to have offline access to your route should anything happen. That means printing out directions or taking screenshots of your route in case you need it.

Emergency Kit

Finally, you’ll want to round out your planning by prepping for the worst. Having an emergency kit packed in your car gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be covered in a number of different scenarios. Make sure your kit includes:

  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape
  • Car fluids (antifreeze or windshield wiper fluid)
  • Reflectors or flares
  • Spare tire and tools
  • Tire sealant and pressure gauge
  • Umbrella or ice scraper depending on the time of year
  • Extra water and snacks

That wraps up our list of road trip essentials. Once you’ve checked off every item here, you’ll be ready to make your next on-the-road adventure one for the books.