Travel Accessories

Taking a Road Trip? The 2 Most Important Things To Bring

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I’m not a huge fan of road trips. I get bored, I get too self-reflective, and I get extremely high strung in bumper to bumper traffic. I prefer planes, but sometimes a car is the better or more convenient option. Only if nothing goes wrong.

When I headed off to college my dad made sure my car was equipped with two things that might not prevent breakdowns, but have certainly minimized my trauma through the years.

1. Roadside Assistance Kit

These things come with gloves, reflectors, various tools, jumper cables, and most importantly, a mini air compressor. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to use my jumper cables on my increasingly aging car or pulled them out for friends who were not so well equipped. And you never know when you’ll be glad to have a poncho when changing a tire in the rain or gloves to keep grease off your hands.

But the thing that has made the biggest difference was the mini air compressor. It plugs into your cigarette lighter and while slow, does the trick for inflating tires. Once I got a slow leak on the New Jersey turnpike. Rather than having to wait on the side of the road for help to come or even try to change the tire myself, I was able to inflate my tire in 10 minutes to full capacity, giving me enough time to get off the highway and to a nearby tire store and minimizing my feeling of helplessness.

Even just this morning I was able to top all my tires up to optimum air pressure before getting on the highway, improving my gas mileage and steering control.

2. Fire Extinguisher

My Dad actually bought this with my peace of mind rather than salvaging my car in mind, hoping I’d never have cause to use it. Having seen how quickly a car can go up in flames, he never wanted me to experience trying to help with a car accident and not being able to get them out of a smoking/wrecked car before it was too late. The fire extinguisher probably wouldn’t save the vehicle, but it might buy me/them enough time to get all the passengers out.

This having never been something I’d considered before but now think about fairly often, I feel better knowing I have that extra bit of protection should I or anyone else need it.

What are your roadtrip vehicle essentials?


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Heels First’s Travel Advice–Sophisticated Travel, Uncomplicated Advice. The travels and tribulations of two frequent flyers jumping into the world of travel, sharing their travel advice. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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  1. Paula Hamblen

    September 8, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Just ordered the mini air compressor through your link and sent to my daughter

    • Keri Anderson

      September 8, 2013 at 12:55 am

      Neither she nor you will ever regret it 🙂

  2. Wendy

    September 8, 2013 at 1:58 am

    In addition to the compressor and fire extinguisher. I keep a well stocked first aid kit. And in the winter I keep a shovel and my winter survival kit. the winter survival kit contains a couple wool blankets, dehydrated food, granola bars, hot chocolate and tea and several gallons of water. As well as my tea kettle that runs off either electricity or my car battery. I make tea or instant soup in my car very frequently when on road trips. I have travelled by car across the United States and Canada.

  3. Rebecca

    September 8, 2013 at 2:22 am

    I keep a small first aid kit but also, and IMO more importantly, a Life Hammer. It will cut a seatbelt and break a car window in a jiffy.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      September 9, 2013 at 2:22 am

      Life hammers are really smart to have!

  4. Jeanne Marie Hoffman

    September 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I get high-strung in high-traffic situations, so my essential was always a book on tape. Then I learned Oscar Wilde doesn’t “read” the same on audio as it does when you are just plain reading it.

    After a ten minute discussion of crumpets and muffins, the CD became completely unrecognizable. I’m not sure how that happened *whistles*.

  5. Brett

    September 8, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Another great tool is a roadside assistance plan. For about $15 a year I was able to add it to my car through my insurance company (GEICO). I haven’t had to use it (knock on wood), but it’s great peace of mind.

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