Heading off on a family road trip? Make sure you’re prepared for anything the road can throw at you with these handy bits and bobs.
1. A tool kit
This is a key item to keep in your boot. It pays to learn how to use the tools too. But, even if your mechanic skills aren’t up to much, a passerby may be able to help you work out your ratchet from your hex bit.
2. A good torch
Every driver should keep a torch in their car. From changing a punctured tyre in the dark to reading a map when the light starts to fade, you’re bound to need it at some point. Remember to carry spare batteries.
3. Food and snacks
Preparing food at home can take a bit of extra time, but it’s often cheaper and healthier than the food you can buy on the road. A well-stocked cooler will give you flexibility on longer trips should you need to make any unscheduled stops miles from the nearest service station.
4. Car power inverter
These handy gadgets, which come with single outlets, multiple outlets, and USB ports, are perfect for charging laptops, mobile phones and portable games consoles.
5. In-car entertainment
Long drives can be especially tiresome for little passengers in the back. To avoid cries of “are we there yet?” it’s essential to stock up on a variety of entertainment choices. From books, toys and music, to tablets, handheld consoles, and portable DVD players, your kids will be occupied and entertained for hours.
6. Extra clothes
For the times when your kids cake themselves in mud. For the times when it rains and you’ve forgotten your umbrella. For the times when your child’s shoe breaks or gets lost. Having a change of clothes and shoes is always convenient.
7. Wet wipes, hand sanitisers and paper towels
Wet wipes, paper towels and hand sanitisers are almost as essential as having petrol in your car. They’re everything you need to not only keep your children’s hands and faces clean, but also your dash, steering wheel and cup holders.
8. Pillows and blankets
Having a couple of comfy pillows is not to be overlooked if your children start to get tired. In addition, a good blanket has a number of uses: it can cover the back seat when you have wet and muddy pets or passengers, it will keep you warm on a cool night, and it can be whipped out if you stop for a picnic.
9. Well-stocked first aid kit
You never know when an emergency may come up, so it’s handy to keep plasters of several sizes and alcohol wipes to treat any cuts and scrapes. It’s also a good idea to keep medication to treat common problems, such as headaches, motion sickness, allergies, and insect bites. Just make sure the first aid kit remains out of the reach of your children.
BONUS: Laundry basket for groceries
Do you struggle to carry several plastic bags together but still refuse to come back for a second or third trip with your shopping? If your car is spacious enough, a laundry basket can save the day. The circulation in your fingers will no longer be cut off, plus you can chuck all your kids’ toys in it when it’s not in use.