Whether it be down I75 towards Orlando and The Bermuda rental or crossing I90 on the way to the Snonomish, driving long distances can be anything from a Dumb and Dumber comedy of errors to a pedal to the metal Cannonball Run! Adventure is around every bend and WiFi is a distant memory. But with these 10 essentials, you can turn any road into the Ballad of Easy Rider.
In days gone by the Swiss Army Knife or a good leatherman’s tool was the weapon of choice for any rambling man. Today’s road tripper is more likely to find solutions with an iPhone. Apps like Google Maps help with navigation and turn by turn service when needed. You can also use the iPhone and its encyclopedia of apps to search for emergency services, play music, and read reviews of pancake palaces across the nation. NOTE: Don’t forget the charging cable!
If you’re going to carry along your smartphone it’s best to mount it at eye level so you can read the route you so painstakingly laid out. Consider the All Cart 360º Rotation Car Phone Mount. This handy mount has an easy lock and release system making suction little more than a single press on the back, and also an extendable arm so you can assure your view isn’t blocked. It mounts on dashes, windshields, and a number of other surfaces.
DON’T BE A TOOL
There are a number of roadside problems that can be fixed with a good set of needle-nose pliers or a few taps with a ball-peen hammer. Carry along a small and basic toolkit as well as a roll of duct tape and you can fix a number of issues that will allow you to at least hobble down the road to the local mechanic.
A good high-performance radar and laser detector is a great investment. You can validate its purchase in just 2 or 3 avoided speeding citations! Consider a unit that provides a long-range warning on all radar bands and laser bands. It may seem like a device from the past but it is easily a tool for anyone who tends to lay the hammer down!
COLD HARD CASH
Believe it or not, a number of filling stations, roadside stands, and restaurants across the map are ruled by cash and consider debit card to be useless. Don’t let yourself drive broke. Besides, you never know what could go wrong when you’re out on the open road far from home. You may need a hand changing a spare tire or you may need to get a new belt at a local yocal mechanic. It is much easier to give a good tip as a sign of appreciation if you have a few bills in hand.
That’s right! Always carry water with you. Once you move into the middle of the country or even in more rural areas on the coastlines, Sheetz and Flying J’s cease to exist and opportunities for a bit of hydration are slim. You want to stay hydrated while traveling so you can remain alert and function at full capacity. If you are driving across the desert regions of our great nation you may also need to reappropriate the water and use it to cool down the car. A number of road trips have been diverted thanks to a leaky radiator.
Whether it be a portable cell phone battery or a power inverter for 120V computer plugs, it is a good idea to have charging devices ready for the go. A good power inverter can plug into your “old fashioned cigarette lighter” or new-fangled 12V outlet and swap the power to charge a 120V laptop or iPad or even a USB device. They are certainly worth considering.
YOUR FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT
They were good enough for Tom Cruise in Risky Business, sleek enough for Dirty Harry, and stealth enough for the Terminator, so why not find a pair that matches your character? No road trip is complete without the proper sun shades. Just ask the Blues Brothers. They swear by the mantra “a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.” It doesn’t matter if you go Ray-Ban, Maui Jim, Oakley, Tori Burch, Gucci, or some truck stop in Kalamazoo, sunglasses knock down the glare, keep you alert, and keep you looking as cool as Thelma and Louis barreling off a Moab cliff.
BOOKS ON TAPE
Okay, so maybe books on cassette tapes are a bit nostalgic. They are still key to a great road trip. Whether it be the London romanticism of End of the Affair as read by Jeremy Irons or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy complete with sound effects and a full cast of voiced characters, a well-loved novel being read to you as your dash from state to state is as perfect as a road trip can get.
This choice may seem like a joke but if you are in the middle of nowhere and have business to attend to, it will seem like a well-timed savior. Weird things can happen on a road trip and compared to a poison ivy leaf, Charmin is a no-brainer!