When we travel, we have a check list to make certain that everything we need is in the cabin of the vehicle, situated in its optimum space and ready to go.
There is nothing more frustrating than getting on the road and realizing we have left something of importance at the house. That means we either have to turn around and go back, get a replacement along the way or simply work around it.
We don’t know what your needs are, but through a process of trial and error we have developed a system to prepare for much of what we need and how to stage it for our particular vehicle.
1. Have your maps and cheat sheet ready. Travel wife is the navagatrix for the trip. She generally is equipped with a road map, a Mapquest print out of a route, sticky notes to mark the map plus a pencil and notebook to keep tabs on things we need to know and remember.
Our routes do not always reflect what either our GPS or Mapquest have planned for us. On more than one occasion, we have deviated from our appointed route to stop in a town, go to a restaurant, get gasoline or take some other diversion.
Naturally this causes the GPS gal to have apoplexy. She then tells us repeatedly to “make a legal U-turn” until a) she figures out where we are going or b) we get back on the correct road.
However, having the combination of the map and print out can keep us confident of where we are going.
This is complimented by my wife’s ability to use a smart phone to call ahead and make reservations, check on operating hours for attractions and to obtain street addresses for the places we want to stop along the way.
2. We also are equipped with magnification devices. She has a magnifying glass with a built-in light for map reading at night so she can see well (while not having to turn on a light inside the car). We also carry a small set of binoculars to spot street names – which is particularly helpful in residential areas.
3. In an effort to keep our electronics functional, we carry a multi-port charge plug. One for the car cigarette lighter port in our car and one for the wall outlet in the hotel room. This device has four USB outlets – meaning we can effectively charge both our phones as well as my bluetooth, with a spare port left over in case there is some other device – such as a light or fan – needs to run.
For wrappers and other packaging, we carry a trash bag, so that things aren’t rattling around in the car. It also is handy to dump while we are getting gas, wiping down the windows and otherwise servicing the vehicle when we have to make a gas/pit stop.
3. Carry a first aid kit Over the course of our travels, we have developed a small first aid kit. Originally housed in an Altoids tin, we have moved to a slightly larger plastic box with most of the things that we should need for minor cuts, bruises, abrasions or other physical problems.
This includes an array of bandages, Neosporin cream and other such supplies.
To that end, we carry a collection of basic tools in a box under the driver’s seat. It has a set of screwdrivers, pliers (both regular and needle-nose), wrench, channel locks, a toothbrush and some appropriate sockets as well as clean up tools.