9 Road Trip Essentials: A Cheat Sheet For Your Next Vacation

LaFontaine Automotive Group —  May 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

So you have your road trip destination picked out and you are looking forward to having a stress free journey. The only thing left to do is make sure that no matter how long your trip, you have everything you need to make it a success.


There’s a lot to keep track of before hitting the road and for that reason I wanted to share with your this Cheat Sheet of 9 Road Trip Essentials.

Keep this cheat sheet handy, and you’ll be able to kick back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.

~ Greg Andersen


1. Bring a First Aid Kit (Just In Case)

Do you have a first aid kit in your car at all times? I’m going to guess that most of us don’t.

Let’s face it, accidents happen and can sometimes be inevitable. Whether it’s a scrapped knee from your child’s ill-advised sprint (and subsequent fall) across the Dairy Queen parking lot or something a tad more serious, having a first aid kit is a great way to ensure the safety of your loved ones.

The real questions is what items should you keep stocked in your kit?

At minimum, be sure your first aid kit contains motion sickness remedies, pain killers, anti-bacterial cream and bandages.

If you want to be as prepared as a Boy Scout, check out what they recommend for their first aid kits.

2. Navigation App or System

Back in the day, if we were going to take a road trip we might have “Mapquested” our route and printed off some maps to navigate by.

Heck, some of you probably even remember using good ol’ fashioned folding road maps issued by AAA or purchased at the local gas station.

While somewhat handy, both printed maps and traditional road maps had their challenges and often times could result in a road trip nightmare.

I think we all agree that Navigation systems are the best way to avoid getting lost from Point A to Point B.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a built-in navigation system, don’t worry, there are plenty of free navigation apps for your smartphone that can be your perfect travel companion.

  • Waze – A traffic and navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates by a thriving community of users. Available on iPhone | Android | Windows Phone
  • Google Maps – This app promises to make navigating your trip faster and easier. Available on iPhone | Android

3. Bring A Spare Set of Keys

If you’ve ever locked your keys in the car (or worse, lost your car keys!) while far away from home, then you know what a terrible feeling that is.

The best way to ensure that you’re not locked out of your vehicle for any substantial amount of time is to bring along a spare set of keys.

Of course, it should go without saying that someone other than the main driver of the vehicle should carry the spare set with them at all times so both sets aren’t accidentally locked in the vehicle.

If you need a spare set of keys made for your vehicle, your local LaFontaine Service Center can assist you in having duplicate keys made.

4. Jumper Cables or Jump Starter

Batteries can die rather quickly even on a new vehicle if you’re not careful. A trunk lid or tailgate left open over night is sometimes enough to drain your battery of any remaining juice before you know it.

Most of us keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk of our vehicles just for these occasions, but now that jump starters are becoming more affordable, you might want to look into carrying around one of these instead.

The best part about a jump starter is that it’s a self contained unit that can revive your dead battery without having to connect your car battery to another vehicle (or having to approach a stranger for help).

5. Inspect The Spare Tire

Do you have a spare tire in the trunk? You might want to double check just to be sure.

Finding a can of fix-a-flat in the trunk of your car instead of a spare tire is becoming more commonplace from many auto manufacturers.

So before you hit the road, first check to make sure that you do indeed have a spare tire in the trunk.

If so, make sure it passes the eye test when it comes to condition and tread wear. You’ll also want to make sure it’s inflated to the proper psi and isn’t slowly leaking air.

While traveling with a spare tire is wise, traveling with an uninspected spare tire can be disadvantageous. Be sure to keep your spare tire well maintained the same way you maintain your regular tires.

6. Chargers and Cables for Your Electronic Devices

Unless your just taking a trip down the road, chances are your smartphones, tablets and portable game systems will run out of power before reaching your destination.

Most newer vehicles will have a USB port to charge your smartphone and multiple 12V “cigarette lighter” socket to power-up other devices. Make sure that you have the proper charging cable for each device so no one is left with a dead electronic.

If there’s not enough power outlets in the vehicle to charge all the devices at once, you may want to consider purchasing a power inverter to provide additional power outlets.

7. A Clean Car is a Happy Car

Whether you are traveling with kids or for business, avoiding spillage is hard to do. Travel with toiletries, such as paper towels and cleaning wipes, to keep your car in good condition and avoid any possible permanent stains.

The last thing you want to do when you return home from your journey is to have to give your vehicle a detailed cleaning.

Of course, if your vehicle gets trashed in spite of your best efforts, your local LaFontaine Dealership offers multiple detailing services to make your car look shiny and brand new once again.

8. Road Trip Snacks

Half the fun of a road trip is loading up on your favorite snacks and treats for the ride (Skittles and Slim Jim’s anyone?!)

Traveling with food and beverages is a great way to help save you time and money. When traveling, with kids especially, be sure to grabs some snacks before you go to help curb any appetites along your journey.

Just remember to handle your garbage responsibly when travelling. So please, place all your trash in a proper receptacles as you find them along the way.

9. Listen To The Music

With iPods, Smartphones, Satellite Radio, CD’s and of course the classic AM/FM Car Stereo – there’s no shortage of ways to get the music you want when you want it.

So whether you’re making a playlist of your favorite tunes or streaming Pandora from your smartphone, sharing the music with your travel companions is an easy way to keep the ride entertaining.

Planning ahead will help ensure you’re prepared for your next traveling adventure with family and friends.  Remember, it’s more about the journey and less about the destination!

Are there any other Road Trip Essentials that you can’t live without? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Until next time, safe travels!



LaFontaine Automotive Group

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Founded in 1980, the award winning and nationally recognized LaFontaine Automotive Group includes 33 franchises, 4 Collision Centers in 16 Michigan locations and employs over 1400 people. It’s the mission of the LaFontaine Family to personalize the automotive experience by building lifelong relationships that connect families and strengthen the community. The Family Deal: It’s not just what you get, it’s how you feel.

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