10+1 things you must carry on a road trip this summer
- Published 14.04.18
This is an absolute must in any weather, and even more so in summer. There should be enough water to drink in the car till you get to your destination. And there are all kinds of other uses for it too. Water is something that you might need to wash hands (for example, after you’ve changed wheel), top up the wiper washer reservoir, clean car glass and lenses of lights and so on. So make sure you that you have enough at all times and replenish if there’s not enough left in the car.
There should be something — biscuits, chocolates, candies, energy bars, fruit, and such like — to munch on the go or to keep you fed if you cannot reach or stop at a suitable eatery when you are hungry. It’s not a good idea to drive with hunger pangs. Apart from being uncomfortable, it means that you are probably low on energy, which is a far from ideal situation in terms of alertness.
3. HATS AND AN UMBRELLA
You will be stopping for refreshments, just to stretch your legs, or take in the view during the drive. Stepping out into the heat is much more bearable with the head covered than without it. An umbrella isn’t a bad idea either, and it can even help should you find yourself in the middle of an uncharacteristic squall.
This is a must for the driver, and a good quality polarised one is ideal. It keeps the glare of the hard summer sun out of the eyes, especially if you are driving through the day. It lets you keep your eyes fully open and not get tired squinting. Tired eyes aren’t good for driving as they demand rest and tend to make one sleepy. And that’s a big risk. While it isn’t as critical for the passengers, shades can up the comfort quotient all round quite substantially.
With dark window glasses and sun film banned by the Supreme Court, whoever is sitting on the sunny side of a car will have the sun beating down on him. So a good quality sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, could protect against unwanted — and irregular — tanning.
6. PAPER MAPS
Do not depend only on the navigation on your mobile phone to get you to your destination. While Google Maps does a great job most of the time, it could leave you stranded if the signal fails. GPS navigation is better in this respect, but you would need to buy the device and mount it. A cheaper option is to carry printouts of Google Maps of the areas you are visiting, so that you can at least read off the names of the towns or villages on the way. Carrying an old-fashioned printed road atlas is not a bad idea either. It might just ensure that you can enjoy the drive on that picturesque road through the hills without anxiety.
7. OLD NEWSPAPERS
Take a few along. Wet newspaper often comes in handy in cleaning windshields, window glasses, light lenses and so on after you’ve driven through a particularly dusty stretch, to keep visibility unimpeded for the driver. You might even need them to wrap a pair of dirty shoes without soiling the car. How you can utilise them essentially depends on how imaginative and innovative you are.
It’s not as if everyone wants to keep talking all the time on a road trip. People, especially children, travelling on the rear seat would tend to doze off periodically. It’s risky if the front passenger sleeps off too, but even if awake he or she would go quiet from time to time. That’s when a fast track helps a great deal. By keeping your attention levels up, it helps you stay wide awake when you’re at the wheel, as driving on long straight stretches at steady speeds has a sort of hypnotic effect and tends to induce sleep.
There’s not a lot most people can do to a modern car if it breaks down. But it still makes sense to carry a few things, even if you don’t know how to use them. Changing a tyre is possible, so have the wheel wrench and jack. A tubeless tyre repair kit may not always be available in remote places, so carry it. Carry a foot pump as well. Tubeless tyres can go some distance even with a puncture if you keep inflating them. Carry a multi-tool. A towing cable and jump cables are good ideas too, as is a Swiss knife.
10. FOLDING SEATS
This one takes up very little space but can be remarkably handy in out-of-the-way places, should you stop to enjoy the view or do a picnic lunch, particularly if you are travelling with elderly people. It can also serve as an improvised camera support, should you wish to take long exposure shots.
10+1. LITTER BAG
As you travel, you will start accumulating stuff that needs to be thrown away — empty water bottles, wrappers, empty food packets, banana peels, and what have you. Carry a bag for the litter so that you can dispose them properly and not all over the countryside. There are enough plastic bottles and wrappers lying about in the most beautiful places already.