Sunday, April 3, 2011

Road Trip Must-Haves



While much of this probably goes without being said, I can't in good faith send you on the roads without a handy dandy list of essential items to have with you in the car on your drive through the Buckeye state!

1. Maps/Atlas: Since we live in a rather rural state, their are many "dead zones" that could leave you stranded if relying solely on a GPS system, especially if it is on a cell phone. Nothing beats good ol' fashioned maps! And you can get maps for free at various locations, including Ohio Department of Transportation's Map Request site.

2. Blanket: Throw a blanket in your trunk so you can throw it down for an impromptu picnic on the beaches of Lake Erie, or throw it on you for an unexpectedly cold night in the park. Mine is homemade from my friend Julia, and has come in handy quite often.

3. Jumper Cables: This is one of the number one items any car owner should have in case of an emergency. Learn how to properly use them in case your car battery should ever die. Study up on jumper cables at this eHow page.

4. Mad Libs: No matter what age you are, there is no denying that this classic word game can provide hours of fun and help the time pass on long car rides! You can find them cheap ($4 at Target or Barnes & Noble) or print some off for free at this Squidoo site.

5. First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is something we hope you don't have to use oftne (if at all) but it is a very smart thing to have for anything from small cuts and scrapes, to headaches or sprained ankles. They can be found at most convenience stores such as CVS or Rite Aid ranging from $10-$25. You could also create your own by taking an old tackle box or Ziploc bag and adding items like bandages, Neosporin, tweezers, and aspirin. Red Cross gives an extensive list of items to include here.

6. Frisbees: Obviously, you won't be missing all too much if you fail to have some frisbees on hand, but this is just a simple example of the types of "toys" to have on hand for your outdoor travels. Other suggestions are golf clubs, volleyballs, workout mats, or a kite.

7. Mixed CDs: The definitive must-have item for any road trip, mixed CDs (or cassettes if you are still chugging along in a car that doesn't play CDs...) provide sing-alongs and a good time for all passengers. Perhaps create a mix with Ohio-themed songs like "Cleveland Rocks," Bruce Springsteen's "Youngstown," and "Hang on Sloopy"!

8. Gas Can: For obvious reasons, you'd want to keep a gasoline can (empty of course) in your trunk in case of that distressing instance you might embarassingly run out of gas! It's happened to me before, but I don't want to talk about it :-).

9. Umbrella: Also for obvious reasons, you don't want to be caught in the rain. There is no such thing as a guaranteed sunny day in our soggy state of Ohio. Invest in a good umbrella and leave it in your car to avoid getting rained on!

10. Sunscreen: On the flip side, the sun can be deceiving in our state. So what may seem like a cloudy or snowy day can still mean enough sunlight to damage your skin! Visit the Skin Cancer Foundation to determine what sunscreen is best for your personal skin type.

11. Life Hammer: Years ago I received a Christmas gift from my Uncle Ray I found to be rather morbid. It is called a Life Hammer and is designed so you can bust open your car window in the event you go flying into a lake and need a quick getaway (for instance). I know, I know...scary sick thoughts. But as I know from losing family and friends in car accidents, I must say, it is better to be safe than sorry.

12. Tire Gauge: Ensuring that your tires are at the proper PSI is essential but often overlooked. Keeping the right amount of air in your tires can prevent flat tires and increase the miles per gallon your car gets! Our friends at eHow again explain how to check your pressure with a handheld tire gauge here.

13. Travel Journal: For me, this is not optional. Keep a pen and pad of paper (or better yet a leather bound journal of some sort) with you on every adventure so you can mark down all the fun moments you and your friends share on each of your trips. It may sound cheesy, but you'll be happy you had it years down the road!

OTHER ITEMS NOT PICTURED IN PHOTO ABOVE: car jack, cooler full of water and non-perishable snacks, motor oil, antifreeze, ice scraper (in winter), spare tire, cell phone charger, swiss army knife, flares.

Photo courtesy of OHventures. Yes, I really keep those things in my car...and you should too! What am I missing? Let me know!

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