Jumping in the car and taking off on the spur of the moment for a road trip, even for the weekend, is a little easier when we’re young. As we age, our needs change, and while we still like to be spontaneous, it is a good idea to prepare ahead for days when we want to journey out on the open road.
While some in the over fifty crowd have motor homes all ready to go and packed with all the comforts of home, others prefer to travel by car and save on gas. There are many things you may want to take on your trip, and other things that are essentials.
Here are ten essential items every adult over fifty should carry on a road trip:
Water– Carry at least a gallon jug of water with you in the trunk. It’s a good idea to fill a one-gallon cooler with distilled water so that you can easily use the spigot for drinking or take the lid off for filling a radiator.
Flashlight– Have at least one high beam flashlight with you to help in a variety of situations. You can use it to flag down help if you are stranded. It is helpful to shine on dark country road signs when you are in unfamiliar areas. It is also an essential for anyone who plans to camp. If you have children with you, allowing each of them to carry their own flashlight helps them feel safe and keeps them visible to you.
Plastic trash bags– These are invaluable on road trips. The obvious use of course is packing out your trash when you camp. Trash bags are also handy when you pull into a picnic spot to use as a table covering. They are great for storing dirty shoes and clothes or as a protective barrier from moisture. In a pinch–they can even serve as emergency rain ponchos by cutting out holes for your head and arms.
Cash– Keeping a variety of bills and coins are essential when you travel. All around the country you will encounter toll roads that take “bills only” or “coins only”. You may also need quarters for parking meters, Laundromats, and vending machines in hotels. It is also good to have enough spare cash in case you lose your wallet. Keep it in a hidden place, not visible from the outside.
Blankets– Besides being a good idea to have extra warmth in cold weather, blankets are good to have if you go to the beach and want to picnic on the sand. They also come in handy as a hanging screen–pinned on a rope between two trees. This allows a little more privacy when camping.
Unscented baby wipes– Having a large package of baby wipes in the car is the easiest way to take care of spills on clothes, car seats, and carpets. They are also a quick and easy way to wash hands before eating, keeping germs at bay. They can be used to wipe mud from shoes, bugs from headlights, and cool your face on a hot day.
Backpack– Keeping a small backpack with you allows you to carry items you need when you are out exploring for the day without lugging around a clumsy purse. Fill it with all your essential items such as sunscreen, bottled water, snacks, and wallet.
Disposable flash camera– Keeps this with your insurance card and registration. In case you are ever in an accident, taking photos of the scene can help with insurance claims after the fact.
Paper road maps– In today’s connected world, many people rely on their GPS to find their way. There are situations where either you’re GPS will guide you in the wrong direction, or it won’t get a signal. Having a road map can prove invaluable in these instances.
Snacks– Keeps some granola bars, nuts, dried fruit snacks and crackers handy. Eating a snack keeps blood sugar up and helps to stave off boredom on long trips.