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Video: Pack These Essentials for Your Summer Road Trip

It's summertime, so it's also road-trip season. And although you're envisioning the perfect family vacation with nothing but smiles and sunshine, it's important to also prepare for catastrophes and storm clouds. To make sure you're prepared, pack both an emergency kit and a convenience kit.

First, to handle emergencies or breakdowns, make sure to pack:

  • A can of Fix-a-Flat
  • Jumper cables
  • An extra container of coolant in case your radiator overheats
  • Roadside flares: These will keep traffic away but also let roadside assistance know where you are.
  • A couple of containers of oil in case you run low
  • An extra bottle of windshield wiper fluid: There are a lot of bugs out there, and you'll hit colonies of them.
  • Snacks and water
  • A first-aid kit
  • And duct tape (you never know what might need a little temporary patch)

In your convenience kit, include:

  • Ziploc bags: That may seem weird, but if you've got a carsick kid, these come in handy and are easy to zip up (minimizing mess and stink) and toss out.
  • Baby wipes: If you're lucky enough to be past the diaper phase, you probably don't want to go back to buying wipes, but keeping a bag in the car is a big help when it comes to cleaning sticky hands and surfaces.
  • Sunscreen: You need it, your kids need it — even on a cloudy day.  
  • Bug repellent: For all of the bugs you didn't hit with the windshield, this will come in handy when they come for you.
  • Baby powder: This is a handy trick for kids and adults — pour some on your hands or feet to get rid of sand, keeping it out of your car for the ride home.  
  • A towel: Pack one or two for impromptu spills or detours to the beach.
  • Also include a blanket, good for picnics or to stay warm in the car on cooler nights.

When you pack, you want to make sure everything is secure so nothing becomes a projectile in an accident.

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