10 Tips for Fantastically Fun Road Trips

I love road trips, but they present us all with challenges. We want to stay comfortable, clean, safe, and ready for the unpleasant possibilities. My family travels in the car a lot, and we've thought of some helpful things to keep the trips happy and efficient.

1. Take pictures of all important items in your wallet.

Not long ago I had a dream about losing my wallet. I woke up in a bit of a cold sweat. It's a terrible feeling. What can add anxiety to this situation is if you don't even remember all the stuff that was in your wallet! I've seen some wallets that looked like an episode of Hoarders. Not sure how guys can sit on those! So this little life tip could help you in a pinch. With those pictures saved on your computer, tablet or phone, you can pull them up in the event of a disappearing wallet to remember what you need to replace. Another benefit is the pictures will give you the phone numbers that are printed on the back credit cards, etc. that you need to call to report it lost or stolen. This helps especially if your wallet was stolen and you anticipate someone trying to use your credit/debit cards.

Warning: if you save these photos, they need to be protected on your device, either by a password or by hiding the files. 

2. Keep a stock of napkins in your glove box.

My wife taught me this, and I love her for it. Most of us grab way too many napkins when we eat out. The left over napkins often end up in the trash. Instead of tossing them, stuff them in your glove box because I guarantee there is a 100% chance that you will use them. Somehow stuff gets spilled in the car no matter how vigilant you are! They make decent Kleenex as well. They're also useful for wiping your hands after you've pumped gas, washed your windshield, or put air in your tires. You won't be sorry.

3. Use old T-shirts as automotive rags

Not sure about you, but I make a mess when I work on my car. In fact, just opening the hood gets my hands pretty dirty. I keep old T-shirts in my garage and in the trunks of my cars to wipe up all the messes.

4. Purchase a USB car charger

There are about five hundred different varieties of USB car chargers, but you shouldn't need to pay more than $5-10. So many electronics today charge via USB and being able to charge them in the car on a long trip is a big deal. I have the (PowerGen 2.4Amps / 12W Dual USB Car Charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices - Black).

5. Keep important documents in your glove box.

We all know to keep our insurance cards and registration information in the glove box, but some other things you might want to keep in there include:

A. Copies of receipts for any warrantied auto parts (mainly batteries and alternators).

B. Manual for your car stereo, mainly to know how to set the clock.
C. Manual for your car's anti-theft system.

6. Build your own car survival kit.

A. Jumper cables and/or jump starter

B. Socket set (or wrenches), screwdrivers, and pliers
C. Zip ties and/or rubber bands
D. Jack and tire iron
E. Tire pressure gauge, Fix-a-Flat, and/or air compressor that plugs into auto electric
F. Flashlight
G. Scissors and/or box cutter
H. Tape - electric, duct, and masking
I. Extra bulbs for your headlights, turn signals, reverse lights, and interior lights
J. Blankets
K. Umbrella(s)
L. Plastic Wal-Mart/Target bags--trust me, you'll find a reason.
M. Bungee cords! Bungee cords! Bungee cords!
N. First aid items
O. Fabric bags

7. Update your GPS maps

Seriously, just do it. You've heard the stories.

8. Get paper maps

Remember, electronics are great, but they are at the mercy of reception and battery life. If you're in the middle of nowhere and your phone and GPS stop working, what will you look at?

9. Get a car stereo that plays MP3 via USB or SD card

This has rendered CD changers and CD cases obsolete. I purchased a Boss 748UAI Single-DIN CD/MP3 AM/FM Receiver and an 8 GB SD card that inputs under the stereo face so you can't see it. In my other car I have a Pioneer receiver with a USB connection on the front of the stereo. For this one I purchased the low-profile SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 32GB USB Flash Drive--you can barely see it. I never have to change a CD, and it never skips.

10. Program your 'Home' location on your GPS to NOT be your home!

If your car is stolen, do you want those people to know where you live? Some of you, like me, have a garage door opener in your car. Save your home address in your GPS favorite locations under a different name. Please don't make a criminal's life easy.

Many of you will be traveling over this Thanksgiving/Christmas season, and I hope some of these things will help you. If you think of any other good ideas, please put them in the comments of this post. 

Image credit:
Road image from http://oscarroadtrip.com/welcome/


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