- Communication: It’s important to make sure your family and friends know when you’re traveling and which route you’re taking. Also, try to avoid the major highways to avoid those pesky traffic jams. Make sure to keep your phones charged up and have a way to charge these devices in your vehicle. Make sure to pay your phone bill, so your service won’t get canceled. Don’t forget the GPS unit to get you to your destination safely. Another good practice is making sure to have your Insurance Agent information stored in your phone or in the glove-box, in the event you need them. It’s also good practice to keep a camera with you to take pictures in the event something happens, but with cell phones now-a-days, they are equipped with cameras.
- Travel Kit/Roadside Kit: It’s important to keep a roadside kit in your vehicles at all times. You can get a pre-made roadside kit from retailers like Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Sears, or even from Amazon. If you plan on making a kit or even adding some items to the store bought one, some other items to think about or include should be: Mini air-compressor, road-side flares, emergency triangle, jumper cables/jump box, small tool kit/multi-tool, duct tape, electrical tape, Mechanix gloves, assorted fuses, zip-ties, safety vest, tarp, umbrella, flashlight/glow stick (Can’t stress having a good flashlight!), solar blanket, qt of motor oil, gallon of anti-freeze, wiper blades, tire repair kit, fix-a-flat, spare headlight bulb, spare taillight bulbs.
- Go Bag: Go Bags are very important these days. I myself carry a go bag/get-home bag with me at all times. Like the boy/girl scouts, it’s important to be prepared. Go Bags can come in many shapes, sizes, and can be customized to meet your needs. Some items to keep in your bag at all times include: signal mirror, compass, whistle, iodine tablets, pen/pad, etc.
- Clothing/Stay Cool/Dry: With summer months come hot temps and sporadic thunderstorms. It’s important to keep spare clothes (shorts, light-weight pants, t-shirt, socks, etc), shemagh/bandana to cover your neck and head, brimmed hat/boonie hat (to keep your head protected), mosquito head net, sunglasses, deodorant, and poncho. It might be a good idea to keep a sleeping bag in your vehicle just in case. Also, have a good pair of walking shoes with you at all times just in case you have to walk for help. Sandals are comfortable while at the beach and doing other activities, but the close-toe shoes are the best to protect your feet.
- Water: Water is one of the most important things to have. You can’t survive without water, so it’s important to keep some bottle of water with you. In my Go Bag, I have a hydration bladder, and I usually keep a case of water in the back of my truck at all times as well, just in case. Remember, 1-gallon of water per day/per person.
- Food: It’s important to have some non-perishable food just in case you get stranded on the side of the road. If you have little ones, it’s important to have some sort of snack that they like that is still a good source of protein and the appropriate calories. It might be a good idea to keep some MRE’s or some sort of Emergency Food Kit. Be aware that some of the Emergency Food Kits need boiling water to cook it (don’t forget a qt pan to boil the water and compact stove).
- Fire: Having a source of heat is important. Waterproof matches are great and you can’t go wrong with a BIC lighter. I usually carry a BIC lighter on me at all times, but having an extra source of fire is nice – like a magnesium fire starter.
- First Aid: First aid is important when traveling. If you take medications on a daily basis, don’t forget to bring them with you while you’re traveling the roads. It’s also a great idea to keep a first aid kit/IFAK with you. You can purchase pre-made kits from Skinny Medic, Dark Angel Medical, and Tac-Med Solutions, or if you’re like me, you can make your own personal one. Some basic OTC meds to think about, especially in the Summer Months, includes: Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), Ranitidine (Zantac), Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Meclizine (Dramamine), Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto Bismol), Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Tab), Loratadine (Claritin), Fexofenadine (Allegra), Afrin, Neosporin, Baby Powder/Gold-Bond, Ice Packs, Antibacterial Wipes, Ace Bandage, Lip Balm, and the Number 1 item…Sunscreen! You need to protect your skin when you are outside in the heat/under the sun. Sunburns are terrible and can ruin your vacation in a heartbeat. When in doubt, keep a first-aid book handy just in case to identify certain issues.
- Entertainment: If you travel with kids or more than two people, it’s a good idea to have some sort of entertainment. Entertainment can be a book or two, a few toys for the children, Tablet/I-Pad, magazines, even a traveling board game/deck of cards. This is something that will keep spirits high and keep children occupied during a sticky situation. Also, don’t forget the spare batteries for your child’s favorite electronic item.
- Protection: This one can be overlooked and can be tough when traveling, especially in the certain states. If you are fortunate to live in the South and have your concealed carry, you have nothing to worry about. Double check the firearm laws when traveling. Some states allow open carry and some only allow concealed carry (South Carolina for example). It also depends on the state that you live in and their reciprocity on concealed carry. Also, keep a good knife with you at all times. A good knife can save your life, just like a handgun or rifle. Be careful when traveling and remember to look at the laws first, even knife laws!
This is just my list of what I think is important when traveling. Your lists may differ from mine and that’s okay. Remember to not text and drive, obey the speed limit (watch out for those speed traps and remember radar detectors aren’t legal in all states), and get your vehicle serviced (oil changed, tires rotated/inspected/aired up properly, anti-freeze levels checked, charging system check, new wiper blades, serpentine belts checked, bug wash/washer fluid checked or added, and don’t forget to get your A/C System checked as well) before you take that long trip. Also, don’t forget to look at the weather forecast before you leave and dressing appropriately – it may be rainy and 75 where you’re at, but 100 degrees and sunny at your destination. Another good idea is to have AAA, just in case you need a tow or some other roadside assistance. Some insurance companies offer roadside assistance, so check to see if your company offers any. Did we miss anything? Let us know!
As always, ya’ll be good and be safe!