Road Trips USA: The Essentials

road trips usa

Photo by Solstad on Flickr

So you're going on a road trip across the United States. Congratulations! There's very few ways to get to know the US better than being out on the open road, visiting the small towns and byways that make this country what it is. But before you get in the car, gas up and hit the highway, you should take care to make sure a few items are ready and waiting in the car with you. Here are our top five essentials for road trips across the USA.

Road Trip USA Essentials: Atlas and Map.
Even if you have applications and digital direction devices, a map is a great old standby for discovering new places and finding your way out of precarious situations. Best of all, you can score them at nearly every gas station and five-and-dime for just a few bucks, making them one of the least expensive items you'll have on you during the trip.

Road Trip USA Essentials: Garbage Bags.
Being in the car for even just a few days can get very, very messy. One road trip helpful essential you need to have on you is garbage bags, regardless of whether you've stuffed a few plastic grocery bags in your glove box, or brought a reusable canvas bag to dump out. You'll be surprised how fast small food wrappers, parking lot tickets and coffee cups pile up. It's even a safe bet to stick a roll of paper towels in there, too, just in case you need extra cleaning.

Road Trip USA Essentials: A Bottle of Water.
Besides the obvious reason of unplanned thirst, a bottle of water is super handy for road trips across the USA in case of messes, spills, and even dirty hands. After you've used up the bottle's contents, stash it in the car and refill it at fountains at rest stops and restaurants. There's plenty of free water at local establishments but ordering a bottle to-go could set you back a few unnecessary bucks.

Road Trip USA Essentials: A Blanket.
Roll up a thin fleece blanket and stick it in your trunk when you head off on your USA road trip. If you need to stop over unexpectedly to a new hotel or motel, a familiar blanket could be the difference between a good night's sleep and staying up all night. It's also handy for backseat passengers who need a little shut-eye after their leg of driving, or even for a particularly cold watch of highway. Also, in the case of an emergency, a blanket can be a warm lifesaver.

Road Trip USA Essentials: An Emergency Kit and Spare Tire.
This should go without saying, but going on your US road trip without an emergency kit is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. A flare, tire iron and jumper cables could literally save your life in a sticky situation. Also, while a donut tire is a good idea to pack, and can push you a few more miles after a flat to a gas station, you may find yourself in an area where there isn't a gas station or repair shop for hours. Having a spare instead of a donut is a safer option; the tire can be changed and you can be on your way in no time.

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