Summer road trip essentials, tips & checklist 2019

It’s summer at last – and with it comes sun, fun and holidays. If you’re planning to go away in the car this year, whether you’re traveling with friends, family, kids or solo, don’t leave home before reading our top road-trip tips.

Our essentials list will help ensure your cross-country journey is enjoyable and safe, while our clever hacks will minimize stress.

 

man checking fluid levels of his car when preparing for a road trip man checking fluid levels of his car when preparing for a road trip

Preparing for the journey

Wherever you’re travelling you can do plenty of planning before you leave the house. First off, your vehicle should be prepared, check items such as:

  • Engine oil
  • Water
  • Washer fluid
  • Tire pressure
  • Cabin air filter
  • Battery
  • Auto emergency kit

Make sure to also thoroughly clean your car inside and out to ensure that your journey is more comfortable and hassle-free.

 

spray & wipe interior detailer being used to clean the the car interior prior to the road trip spray & wipe interior detailer being used to clean the the car interior prior to the road trip

Cleaning car interior & exterior

Left the task until the last minute? To get the job done in no time, use Turtle Wax Quick & Easy Exterior 1 Waterless Wash & Wax. It allows you to quickly remove dirt and dust from your car exterior without any need for water, which also makes it the perfect road trip companion.

For the cabin, try Turtle Wax Dash & Glass Interior Detailer. Meanwhile, the Spray & Wipe range combines the control of a traditional spray-trigger bottle with the convenience of a cleaning wipe. The line-up incorporates Interior Detailer, Leather Cleaner & Conditioner, Protectant, and Glass Cleaner, and they’re easy to pack in the car and use on the go, too.

If you like to keep your car’s exterior as clean as the cabin, Turtle Wax Bug & Tar Remover spot-removes most contaminants and is safe for use on metal, paint plastic and glass. As you will be spending more time on the road and likely more time in rural areas, this product will be a life-saver during the road trip, especially since tar, bug and tree sap contaminants are particularly difficult to remove.

Bought this stuff simply just to give it a go! I've never been a believer of any waterless stuff but this stuff is fantastic! I absolutely love everything I've ever bought from turtle wax I've never been disappointed thank you!

Mattdebono92, Melbourne
family stopped after accident during their road trip family stopped after accident during their road trip

Staying safe during your road trip

Remember to check that you have your vehicle’s manual and other legally required documentation plus a roadside emergency kit containing:

  • Warning triangle
  • Reflective vest
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Torch
  • First-aid kit

When you fill the trunk with holiday baggage, bear in mind you’ll need access to the spare wheel or puncture-repair kit in an emergency. Also ensure your luggage is safely stowed or strapped down; the last thing you need is items flying forward in the event of an accident.

All passengers should be comfortable, safe and happy, of course, but the driver is ultimately responsible for everyone, so get a good night’s sleep ahead of setting off, and build in plenty of comfort breaks to alleviate drowsiness en route. If possible, share the driving with someone else in two-hour stints.

 

planning the road trip for fuel consumption, tolls and places to visit planning the road trip for fuel consumption, tolls and places to visit

Online tools for planning

Online tools such as road-trip cost calculators and planners will help optimize your budget and make the journey pass as quickly and safely as possible.

We recommend using the Official U.S. Fuel Economy Calculator as it also allows to compare several vehicles, meaning that you can see all estimates quickly & easy, which can help you decide which car to take if needed.

Roadtrippers is our recommended road trip planner tool as it's user-friendly and has a lot of information if you need any inspiration. Using these tools, you can download your route, plan in extra time for traffic hold-ups and comfort breaks, and work out in advance everything from varying gas prices to the location of service areas and picturesque stop-offs. Knowing the availability of roadside charge points will reduce ‘range anxiety’ for electric-vehicle drivers, too.

 

a family travelling comfortably during their road trip in US a family travelling comfortably during their road trip in US

Comfort & entertainment

You can take along plenty of items to help boost comfort and alleviate the potential boredom of a long ride, however make sure to load your vehicle efficiently to optimize space and allow to travel comfortably.

Make sure everything you’ll need en route falls easily to hand:

  • Beverages in the cupholders
  • Snacks in the glovebox
  • Entertainment for the kids (don’t forget chargers for electronic devices)
  • Printed road map as a sat-nav back-up
children and family eating healthy food during a picnic whilst on a road trip children and family eating healthy food during a picnic whilst on a road trip

What food should you bring on a road trip?

It’s easy to fall into unhealthy eating habits on the move, drinking water and healthy nibbles in favor of over-processed convenience foods, sweet treats and gallons of coffee. This can lead to fatigue, loss of concentration and ultimately accidents. Instead, why not consider taking healthier snacks that are easy to consume.

  • Sipping water from reusable bottles or low-caffeine hot drinks from sealable travel mugs will keep your fluid levels up.
  • Snack little and often.
  • For something more substantial, you could avoid the expense of buying food on the move by preparing an old-fashioned picnic. Pack balanced, nutritional homemade sandwiches, salads, low-fat snacks and dips in a cool bag, then simply find a quiet spot to stop and unwind. Take a blanket for added comfort.

 

healthy food to eat on a road trip apples healthy food to eat on a road trip apples

Healthy & easy to store food for road trips

Here is a list of some good food options to bring on the road:

  • Fruit – dried or fresh. Replenish the latter regularly to avoid cultivating new life forms in your glovebox.
  • Jerky (beef or turkey)
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Popcorn
  • Sushi and rice cakes
  • Raw vegetables with healthy dips like guacamole or hummus
  • Sandwiches
  • Applesauce cups
  • Sugar-free chewing gum to keep your mouth fresh

On the subject of eating healthily, remember that nasty things thrive on food spillages, leftovers and greasy wrappers; the average steering wheel carries more germs than a toilet seat. Yuk! Do tidy up the car’s interior afterwards, keep the Spray & Wipe interior detailer handy and bin your litter.

man stopping by to take pictures while on a solo road trip man stopping by to take pictures while on a solo road trip

Travelling solo?

  • Appropriate entertainment will help keep you alert.
  • If your car has compatible technology, use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to safely access playlists, radio shows, audiobooks and podcasts from your smartphone. We recommend making the most of the Audible audiobook offers and checking out this great guide for best podcasts to listen to while on the road.
  • It’s important that you keep hydrated and avoid sugary or heavy food, too; with no passenger to nudge you to take a break after a few hours behind the wheel, staying wide awake is paramount.
  • It's also good to pre-plan your journey to make sure that you are taking the most scenic way, which should make the trip much more enjoyable and engaging.
kids running in the countryside during a family road trip kids running in the countryside during a family road trip

Essentials for a family road trip

Taking children on a family road trip can be exciting but occasionally exasperating. Ensuring the journey is comfortable and fun for them will make it less stressful for everyone – and allow the driver to keep their concentration on the road. Use appropriate safety carriers for babies and toddlers, with child seats and restraints for older kids.

  • Keep them occupied with books and toys.
  • Headphones let them play games and watch films on electronic tablets without everyone else having to listen in.
  • For a more inclusive travelling environment, ban such devices and instead play road-trip games for kids that everyone can join in with, such as I-Spy. 

Of course, with kids and toddlers comes mess. Whether it’s food and drink spillages, or little accidents of a more urgent kind, you can quickly clean up with Turtle Wax Interior 1 Multi-Purpose Cleaner & Stain Remover. Complete with a brush attachment, this all-in-one solution cleans, deodorises and protects.

A quick spray of the foam followed by 10 seconds of scrubbing was all it took to make the upholstery look and smell great again. The deodorizers really do work in this stuff!

ToddF, Ohio
dog with his head out of the car window enjoying a road trip dog with his head out of the car window enjoying a road trip

Preparing for a road trip with a dog

Taking a pet along for the ride? Ensure their experience is as happy and comfortable as possible. Make sure to pack:

  • Travel carrier or cage
  • Blankets
  • Cushions
  • Food
  • Water
  • Toys (including kongs and puzzle balls to keep them entertained)

It would be a good idea to stick to the same schedule your dog is used to at home in order to help them adjust to the new environment more easily. Also, make sure to build in plenty of stop-offs en route so the animal can have a stretch.

If your pet is an uneasy traveller, seek advice from your veterinarian before setting off. And rest easy that, should they be caught short, Turtle Wax Power Out! Pet Mess Kit features everything you need to clean up on the go, including All-Surface Cleaner, Odor Removal Spray and Hair Lifter Sponge.

Turtle Wax Power Out! Odor-X Spray can be used on fabric, boot lining, vents and carpets to remove odours at the molecular level and leave behind a fresh scent.

With proper road-trip planning, you, your car and your family, friends and pets will arrive at your destination in great shape. And then your holiday can really begin…

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