SAFE AND HAPPY TRAVELING
You’ve been there.
Stranded on the side of the road or driven by some poor unfortunate soul who is.
With all of the traveling happening over the next two weeks, be sure you’re prepared…for anything.
From a runny nose, sick child (raise your hand if you’ve showed up to a family function needing to quickly change your child…both of mine are raised!) or car broken down in a severe winter storm.
There are a few things such as keeping your tank full and having a good spare tire and jack (and knowing how to use them) that we didn’t mention because, well, we thought they went without saying. We also didn’t list many “Store This, Not That” items because each family has different preferences and most of these items are pretty standard.
We just wanted give you a little nudge, and remind you that staying safe out there, means being prepared for everyday and unusual circumstances that can and do happen while driving in and out-of-town. And to say, in case we forgot to mention it that these kits make great gifts to keep your friends and families safe too!
THE EVERYDAY CAR BAG
Emergencies happen everyday so why not prepare for the little ones as well as the big ones? That’s why we compiled this quick list of the essentials to cover the common headache, runny nose, bad breath, or minor scrape.
- TISSUES: These are great for so many reasons and we really love these tissue holders that attach to your visor. That way you always have a tissue when you need it for you or to hand back to little hands with out blinking an eye! $7.95 Tempo Leather Visor Tissue Case Starter (2 pack), amazon.com
- BE KIND TO YOUR MOUTH: Keep mints, gum, or even pre-pasted toothbrushes on hand for that lunch you bought that you weren’t expecting to be so garlic-y and lipbalm for when your lips are bone dry (just be sure to not leave it in the car during extreme heat)! $4.96 Colgate Wisp Portable Mini Toothbrush, Peppermint (24 count), Amazon.com
- FEMININE NEEDS: This goes with out explanation, right?
- HANDY KITS: Store a simple sewing kit (with safety pins for a popped button) and first-aid kit for minor scrapes and cuts. You can find very simple varieties at your local dollar store!
- MEDICINE: Headaches or allergic reactions can happen at any time. Be sure to keep some ibuprofen, acetominophen (Tylenol), anti-diarrheal, Benadryl, lactose pills etc. to fit your needs, on hand. Save some space by putting a few pills in a pill organizer, and don’t forget the dose instructions! (Get pill organizers at the dollar store!)
- QUICK SNACK AND DRINK: Fight the urge to spend unneeded money at a fast food joint and keep a little water and snack in your car to tide you over until you get home. Be sure to rotate granola bars every six months.
- MONEY: Keep $10-20 in small bills in your car…just in case. You never know when a gas stations credit card machine will be down or your go into a cash only store. Be sure to keep it well hidden!
- HANDY HANDS: Keep a travel size bottle of lotion in your car and a handy little nail kit for those pesky chipped or broken nails! (Again…great from the dollar store!)
THE CLEAN-UP BAG
Don’t let a little motion sickness or accident stop your trip (anyone experienced diaper overload or lunch regurgitation while out and about?)! Especially if you have a child prone to motion sickness (like Crystal….oh, the stories she could tell, but she won’t!), you will find having these supplies ready and accessible a HUGE help!
- BARF BAGS: These bags will do all the clean-up for you if you can get them there in time! $11.74 (24 bags), amazon.com
- PAPER TOWELS & BABY WIPES: A mom can clean anything if she has paper towels and baby wipes!
- PLASTIC SHOPPING BAGS: These are great for the dirty towels and wipes, dirty clothes, or keeping anything separate you want to keep separate.
- LYSOL WIPES OR SPRAY: Having a way to clean any germs that may have accompanied the mess is a must!
- MOTION SICKNESS MEDICINE & WATER: Dramamine is for children beginning at the age of 2 and even comes in chew-ables. You may need water to rinse out a mouth or to take the medicine. $4.39 (8 chewable children 2 and up tablets), amazon.com (Wal-mart also has a store brand for cheaper but your child will need to be able to swallow the pill)
- FEBREEZE SPRAY: Driving in the car for a long periods of time with bad smells is terrible, especially if you can’t roll down the windows!
- EXTRA TOWELS: If you have an extra towel, then kids or you can sit on a “clean,” dry seat.
- EXTRA CLOTHES: No one wants to show up in dirty clothes or their underwear. Prevent that with a few extra clothing items to change in to.
THE ROADSIDE EMERGENCY BAG
Then of course there are car kit basics that can and will be of use to us or others such as: jumper cables or rechargeable battery charger, a can of flat fix (of great help when you are in the middle of nowhere and get a flat), quart of oil, basic tools (screwdrivers, plyers, hex keys), zip ties or wire, work gloves, duct tape, rags, extra fuses, distress marker or flag, emergency flares and lighter/matches, Hide-a-key and of course a flashlight. There are pre-assembled kits that contain many of these car kit necessities available this time of year for gifts: online, at auto stores and Costco. You can get a basic kit and add what you need to complete it or put one together yourself and store it altogether in plastic container in your trunk.
A good basic model will have a few tools, gloves, and jumper cables.
A good deluxe model will have a the same items as a basic model but also include items like a tow rope, flashlight, zip ties, flares, etc.
THE WINTER KIT
Last but not least, let’s discuss longer distance travel, especially on backroads or during winter. This time of the year often involves travel to see family and friends in other cities and states. Having a winter/travel kit in your car can mean the difference between a slight delay in your arrival time or in extreme circumstances, death. Most experts agree you should tell someone your driving route and expected arrival time and that if your car should break down or slide off the road, your best chance for survival is to remain in your car. With the following items you should be able to stay safe for quite a while. Your winter car kit should include things like:
- TOW ROPE: If your basic car kit doesn’t come with a tow strap or rope, you may want to invest in one. It makes it much easier for someone to help you out of a sticky (or snowy) mess! $15.95, Neiko® 51005A Heavy-duty Tow Strap with Hooks, 10,000 LB Capacity | Polyester, 2″ x 20′, Amazon.com
- GOING FOR HELP: For rare cases when you have to leave your car and seek help, you’ll want a small backpack to put provisions in, in addition to walking shoes, poncho, emergency whistle and map.
- STAYING WARM: Make sure to have extra warm clothing for layering, hand and body warmers, and a foil blanket, Bivvy bag (these are so cool because they aren’t much bigger than your hand, weigh only 3.5 ounces, reflects 90% of your body heat) or sleeping bag.
- DEALING WITH THE SNOW: Make sure you have a good ice scraper with brush, some de-icing salt, and a good portable shovel to dig out if you need to.
- FOOD AND WATER: Keep some survival bars on hand and extra water. We love the survival bars (for your 72-hour kits as well) because they small, full of calories (which in this case, is good) and can store for at least 5 years.
- NOTEPAD AND PENCIL: In case you leave, you’ll want to leave a note for family or possible rescuers.
- WHEN NATURE CALLS: …and it will! Be sure you’re prepared with a little toilet paper, wipes, and hand sanitzer.
- CANDLE: Liquid paraffin candle (100 hour candle) with matches will help provide light and a little warmth. They are safe to burn in your car (still be careful it is a flame, but the fumes will not harm you).
Happy traveling this Christmas season. Hopefully this makes your trip merry and bright (and barf free!).