Toilets, charging cords, tire kit

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“We would like to do a 7-10 day road trip to explore Florida. What essentials should we take in our car in case of breakdown or loss? » Judy, Boca Raton

For me, the packing process is one of the highlights of a trip anywhere. I like to think ahead about what I will do at the destination and everything I will need to make it a memorable experience.

But I know not everyone likes to load the car. Some find this tedious and time-consuming; others fear forgetting something important.

Whatever your concerns, here’s a checklist to help you think through the sites you’ll see and the people you’ll meet. Of course, not everyone will agree on what’s essential, so make your choice based on how long you’ll be in the car, how quickly you’ll get bored, and how thorough you are with your needs. bathroom material.

Food: Some of us like to grab fast food or coffee along the way, but if you prefer to bring your own, get a good thermos and cooler. Coolers range in price from $30 to over $200, depending on their size, what temperature they promise to stay in, and whether they have extras such as drain plugs, shelves, wheels, and cushions. In addition to the meal of your choice, bring drinks, snacks, napkins, and a few napkins in case of a spill. If you eat while driving, be sure to plan ahead and choose foods that are easy to eat, like a sandwich, and nothing that requires utensils that will keep you from driving.

Bathrooms: This is obviously a very personal decision, but you have to decide what your tolerance for public toilets is along the way and what will happen if you need one and there are still a lot of miles to go. There’s a surprising variety of portable urinals and toilets you can keep in the car – some reusable, some disposable, some designed for men and some for women. Most are plastic and cost less than $20. And don’t forget the toilet paper.

Entertainment: Does anyone listen to the radio anymore? I like to save podcasts to listen to on long trips, but there are also music apps and video game apps (for passengers, of course). Make sure you have your charging cords handy. A hotspot is a useful little gadget that will connect you to Wi-Fi wherever you are on the highway; they can cost up to $200 plus the price of a monthly data plan.

Emergency room: Of course you want to have your meds, pain medication like ibuprofen, and emergency tools like an EpiPen if you have allergies. A first aid kit is also essential; make sure it contains at least bandages, gloves, hand sanitizer and antibiotic ointment. Keep a flashlight in the trunk in case you get stuck on the road at night. I hope your car is equipped with a tire changing kit; you can also join a club such as AAA that offers roadside service and other travel discounts. Or check if your insurance company will change your flat tire or tow your car if needed.

Isn’t it the best feeling when you pull out of your driveway knowing you have everything you need in your car? If you realize there’s something you forgot, don’t panic: you’re never too far from a convenience store or supermarket in our state.

Let me know if I forgot anything that you consider essential for a long trip; I am at [email protected]

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