*This article has been updated for accuracy 2021
Enjoy long, stress-free drives.
Spring, summer and early fall are the seasons for road trips, with the winter holidays an isolated spike. A survey done by Starbucks showed that of the 1,000 adults surveyed, 55% planned their road trips and 45% took spontaneous, unplanned road trips. The same survey showed that the majority of road trippers are millennials (37%) and the 55+ crowd (29%). Road trippers were almost equally split between males and females.
I love road trips, I don’t like surprises, and I like to be prepared. Here are the items, both practical and fun, that you should consider taking with you on your trip and and some car preparations to make sure everything goes as planned.
What to bring in your car:
- AAA membership
- Cell phone and car charger
- Cell phone mount
- Tire pressure gauge – Wirecutter’s pick is Accu-Gage PSI $20.00
- Scissor Jack – Wirecutter’s pick is the Torin T10152 $19.97
- Lug Wrench – Wirecutter’s pick is Gorilla Automotive 1721 $22.99.
- First aid kit – Wirecutter’s pick is All-Purpose First Aid Kit $15.15
- LED Light Flare Kit- Tobfit 12 Pack LED Road Flares Emergency Lights
- Jumper Cables – Wirecutter’s pick is Weego Jump Starter 22s $59.99.
- Energy Bars and water
- Multipurpose tool – Wirecutter’s pick is Leatherman New Wave $129.95.
The road trip ‘must haves’ according to the Starbucks survey were:
- A good travel buddy
- Good tunes
- Interesting/beautiful scenery
- Great snacks
Get your car prepared to go:
- Take your car for a check-up – to include an oil change and all fluid levels & filters checked.
- Make sure your battery is strong and charging well.
- Inspect the tires for any signs of wear or bulges.
- Have a mechanic check the brakes.
- Check the windshield wiper blades. Wirecutter’s pick are Bosch Icon blades. The Amazon page has a convenient vehicle check to see if the blades will fit your car. $24.59
There are four apps I love and use often on road trips. One is Gas Buddy, an app that shows you the nearest gas stations and what each is currently charging for gas. The app is free. iOS & Android
If you are in an unfamiliar urban area and need to park your car in a lot, the Best Parking app will show you all the public parking lots around you and what they charge. The app is free.
Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. Waze gives you the best route to your destination and alternative routes to get around traffic issues. Join other Wazers in reporting traffic and road conditions and Waze will offer you alternative routes. The app is free.
Roadtrippers is a website and mobile travel app that provides information for “off the beaten path” places to visit around the world. It will help you plan a trip, navigate and book hotels along your route. The app is free for both iOS and Google.
See our earlier articles for road trip entertainment, and food and lodging information: