I love summer and I am beginning to love the idea of traveling more by car as sometimes the slower route is more relaxing than the wait in an airport and sitting in cramped seats that seem to cost more than they are worth.
This summer I will be doing some traveling and I anticipate the only worry that I have while traveling is that the car doesn't break down on me. This is my checklist for when I travel the fast freeways and empty county roads.
✔ Tire Back-up: I make sure to have the back up tire in working condition should the tire blow, making sure to have all necessary tools that are accessible and not hidden under luggage in the trunk.
✔ Wipers: Two years ago when we were traveling across country, we found that the car couldn't go above 55-60 without the wipers lifting off of the windshield. That was fixed by getting proper wipers next time around. I also run sandpaper along the wiper blade to cut out the streaks and help them last longer.
✔ Fuses: A box of fuses were bought and changed out about two years ago for the last trip. Haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary for lights or sounds that makes me believe they need to be changed anytime soon. But those fuse kits aren't very expensive.
✔ Extra Keys: I haven't gotten locked out of the car yet, but traveling with a second key on long trips has been very helpful. I know I almost locked my keys in the car on one trip because I ran out of the car so fast to get to the bathroom and almost forgot to grab the keys as I closed the door. Those things do happen.
✔ Food/Drink: I don't have children but I found that having the gallon cooler of water with us and some light food (crackers, apples) was the cheapest way to travel. Gas stations were for bathroom breaks and gas only and made the trip move quicker since we weren't deciding what junk food we wanted to buy.
✔ Entertainment: Last time I brought a laptop to play movies on but that wasn't very useful for us as the sun made it hard to see the movie and the road noise was too loud for the laptop speakers. This time it will be books, music, sleeping and talking.
✔ Maps: Last time the road atlas worked just fine. It doesn't tell you about upcoming road construction like a GPS but that may be something to consider for the future.
✔ Sleeping: Getting an idea of how long to travel each day and what towns will have places to sleep is an excellent preparation that can otherwise suck money out of your pocket. Last time we just relied on the road signs and road map telling us. This time I will have phone numbers of motels/hotels and coupons to use, plus any discounts.
✔ Misc: First Aid Items, Napkins, Trash receptacle, Doggy bags when traveling with dog, Cell phone and numbers for emergency assistance, pillows and blankets.
What items were handy for you while traveling by car for vacations?