Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked that life is about the journey, not the destination. He also died before motorized vehicles were even a thing so he never sat in gridlocked traffic on Interstate 4 on the way to Disney World in a cramped SUV with a four-year-old whose batteries in his tablet died an hour ago and a significant other listening to bad pop music from a decade ago at high volume. The journey is overrated. Unfortunately, when you are setting your destinations this time of year, the journey is also necessary. Keep reading for a car travel kit tutorial and learn how to save money before you drive.
Car Care Kit
So until tube technology is perfected enough to make the journey quick and painless, here are some tips to help make it more bearable:
Give it a good cleaning: Do you treat your floorboards like your own personal dumpster? Are you too lazy to throw away your empty cups for weeks on end? Stop it. Unless your road trip involves a late-model Lincoln Continental or Taylor Swift’s old tour bus, things are going to be cramped. Sharing your leg room with a month’s worth of old fast food bags will just add to the frustration of being stuck in a car for a prolonged period.
Since more trash accumulating during your travel is inevitable, it is best to start with a clean slate, so to speak, before you even pull out of the driveway. Keep a small trash bag in the car to keep things consolidated and designate one person in your travel party as the trash remover when you make a pit stop at a gas station or rest area. Your pre-trip cleaning is also a great opportunity to do some of those things that often get overlooked on a day-to-day basis. Honestly, when was the last time you cleaned your windows and mirrors?
Don’t forget the air freshener: What happens when you cram multiple adults who are probably being fueled by fast food and gas station snacks, at least one child who is past that new-baby-smell phase of life and probably a dog into a tiny, airtight chamber? Within the first hour, it will become an assault on the olfactory senses. Nobody likes to play that game “what is that smell?” when you are stuck in an enclosed space. A simple air freshener can keep some of those strange odors at bay.
Remember the power: Tablets and other devices are a great way to pass the time on a long trip but those batteries aren’t going to last across too many state lines. Make sure all your devices are fully charged when you leave the house and that you have the correct charging cables —along with DC plugs — for every device you bring on the trip. Make sure that those cables and plugs are compatible with these devices beforehand. Nothing is more frustrating when your device tells you that cable that you just bought on the fly from the gas station doesn’t work with your device. Battery extenders and charging devices are also a necessity. Make sure that they too are fully charged before leaving and that they have the ability to charge certain devices. Not every emergency charger has the capability to charge larger devices so you may not be able to recharge an iPad with the device meant for phones.
Pack a cooler: “Mommy, I’m thirsty.” “Daddy, I want a snack.” How long can you mentally withstand that barrage of pleas? Because you are going to hear them approximately every 15 to 20 minutes. Unless you want to pull over every other exit that has a gas station or vending-machine equipped rest stop you better be able to whip out snacks and a juice box on command.
Keep spare supplies on hand: It is inevitable that any time you put more than one person in a confined space together, one of them is going to complain about the temperature. Rather than playing a constant tug of war with the car’s thermostat, just bring along a spare blanket and change of clothes. Bring a pillow too just in case someone wants to take a little nap, which is usually a great thing for everyone involved on a long drive (note to driver: don’t nap).
Make a travel bag that you will keep in the car during the trip that contains nothing but car-related supplies. Include a change of clothes, tissues, a spare roll of toilet paper and, if your significant other is really into late 90’s boy bands, headache medicine.
Take care of your car: Of course, none of this matters if your car breaks down before you reach your destination. That is why you should always make sure your vehicle is ready for a long road trip with a visit to the Walmart Automotive Care Center. We like to hit Walmart for all our car travel essentials since it is a 1-stop shop! You can drop off your car at the Walmart Automotive Care Center for an oil change while you grab everything else you need to make your trip as smooth as possible.
What are your long trip essentials?
Download this car care kit to print and stock up!
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