This article was published May 25, 2017.
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Summer is here and the road is calling.
Sound right up your alley? If you’re embarking on a traditional road trip this summer, or you’re driving to your vacation destination, here are a few things you’ll want to make sure you pack in your “carry on,” instead of stowing them in your suitcase:
1. A pillow and blanket
I don’t know how many times I’ve said that I won’t sleep in the car…but I do anyway. And even though it’s hot outside, and the A/C is pumping, I just feel better sleeping with a blanket. A pillow is optional—and depending on your car, it might even be impractical—but it could be a nice touch of comfort on an otherwise stiff ride.
2. Snacks and drinks
…And a cooler to go with them. You can stock up before you leave in bulk, or hit a gas station in the morning to get travel-size packs of snacks and drinks, but you’ll be glad you had this stuff when you’re stomach is grumbling and there isn’t another exit for miles.
3. Earbuds or headphones
Because you don’t always want to listen to the same music as everyone else…or because your fiancé hogs the radio. (Ahem.)
5. An adapter to plug in your phone chargers
You can get these for really cheap, and nowadays, they’re usually split into two, so you and your car ride buddy can both charge up! (Just don’t forget to bring your micro USB or lightning cord!)
6. Your makeup
I say this not because you need your makeup during the ride, but because you need to keep your powders and creams at a reasonable temperature. Instead of stowing your makeup at the bottom of your suitcase in the steaming hot trunk of your car, try this hack: put your makeup in a sealed, water-tight bag, and put the bag inside an insulated lunch box with an ice pack. Then, even if you leave your car for lunch, your makeup won’t melt!
7. Spare keys
I have this fear that my fiancé and I will go on a trip somewhere and lock the keys in the car and have no way to get back in. This has not happened, thank goodness, but there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for it by bringing a spare key to keep in your wallet or purse. If the need ever arises, you’ll thank me later—just make sure you don’t lock your spare set in the car, too!
8. Hand sanitizer
I can think of at least half a dozen reasons why this could be useful: you get back from the fast food bathroom and it was too gross to wash your hands, you’re eating lunch in the car and you want to clean your hands before (or after), you’re eating your chocolate snacks and they melt on your hands—the list goes on and on. Don’t leave the house without some sanitizer!
9. Emergency supplies—just in case
Some things you should always keep in your car, just in case, could include: a flashlight, water, snacks (nonperishables like granola bars and Rice Krispies Treats are great), a pocketknife (mine even has a seat belt knife and a glass shatterer attached in case of emergency), napkins, plastic shopping bags, and—if you’re like me—a spare fast food straw or two for when they forget to give you one in the drive-thru.
What can you not leave the house without? Tell me in the comments!