You are on vacation, and the road beckons. Adventures await around the bend in the road that takes you from hometown to relatives and places unseen. Go ahead -- punch the clock and get on the road.
Road trips. It’s a quintessential American trait, to pack up the car and head out to points unknown. Whether you're traveling to family, going to a theme park or visiting a national monument, half of the fun during vacation is time spent on the road, singing songs and eating bad coffee shop food.
Make sure you avoid wrecking such future fond memories by being unprepared for your trip. From vehicle maintenance to games for your kids, we've created a guide to help you navigate the merge lanes and traffic jams of car trips during common vacation times.
Vehicle Emergency Kit
A car's trunk will only hold a certain amount of equipment. Because of the limited space in the trunk, the following list contains the minimum essentials for safety and emergency repairs. Several of the smaller items listed may be carried in the glove compartment for easier access and so they won't get lost under heavier equipment.
Vehicle emergency kit must-haves:
2. Spare tire
4. Four-way lug wrench
5. Water pump belt
6. Tire pressure gauge
7. Inexpensive wrench-and-socket set
8. Utility knife
9. Both Standard and Phillips screwdrivers
10. Battery-jumper cables
13. Hose clamps
14. One quart of motor oil
15. One dollar's worth of nickels, of dimes, and of quarters
16. Six road flares or a set of reflective warning triangles
17. 1 gallon plastic jug of water
18. Aerosol flat tire fixer
19. Small fire extinguisher
20. Rags or paper towels
Before You Go
1. Check your car or have it serviced before any long trip (battery, tires, belts and fluids).
2. Have a qualified technician check the air conditioner.
3. Check your oil. If you will be towing a trailer or boat, or driving in the desert, switch to a motor oil with higher viscosity.
4. Pack an emergency kit that includes water, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, equipment to change a tire, and a first aid kit.
5. Fill up your gas tank at night or early in the morning to minimize damage to the ozone layer.
6. Make sure your child safety seats and booster seats are properly installed.