Whether the holidays take you over the river and through the woods or you travel strictly in the fast lane of a national highway, traveling by car is one of the few things that the pandemic hasn’t changed.
The road trip, whether it’s to Grandmother’s house you go or a fun local getaway with the kids, is one way to get a sense of adventure during the “new normal.”
Since so many Americans spend far more time on the road during the autumn and winter holiday season, we thought it might be time for you to do a checkup on your vehicle. No, not just for safety (that’s a given), but for comfort and convenience as well.
The last thing you need on a long road trip is a dead battery in your phone or whatever gizmo is keeping the kids entertained.
About the size of an iPhone, a power inverter can provide DC to AC power. Handy if you need to charge your phone, laptop, “… breast pump, CPAP, nebulizer” and more. We found this one on Amazon.com.
There’s an app for that
Technology is your friend, especially when you’re traveling. Take a look at some of the latest travel apps and download those that meet your needs.
There are plenty of free apps to choose from:
Roadtrippers—If your journey will include multiple stops, this may just be the app for you. Plug in your stops and the app will figure out total trip time and mileage and even offer a guess at how much gas will cost for the trip. It’s available for both iOS and Android.
Waze—Keep abreast of traffic conditions with this app, which actually warns you of traffic conditions ahead. Available for both iOS and Android, the information comes from other users and includes accidents ahead, traffic jams, changes in speed limits and warnings of police in the area.
GasBuddy—Not only will GasBuddy help you locate a gas station (even in the boonies) but will also help you find the one with the least expensive gas prices. In fact, the creators claim that “GasBuddy app users in Canada and the United States have saved over $2.9 billion at the pump over the last 15 years.” GasBuddy is for iOS and Android.
Do a Google search for “travel apps” to find more.
Download stuff to keep the kids busy and yourself from dying of boredom.
- Spotify playlists
- Audiobooks—Check out this list at OpenCulture.com.
- Podcasts—Find information on podcast apps at PodcastInsights.com. For a list of interesting podcasts, check out this list at TheMandagies.com.
Add some small luxuries
- Keep your drinks and snacks cool and within reach with a car-sized cooler.
- Add a “play station” to the backseat for the kids
- Taking turns driving? Catch better Zzzs between shifts. And don’t forget these.
- The kids can get good Zzzs too with an inflatable bed for the backseat. We found two that we like: the Nex Mobile Inflatable Bed and this one, that fills the gap between front and back seat, making the backseat larger.
- Making a night-time pit stop? Download the StarWalk app, point your phone at the sky and learn “…which stars, planets and constellations are above you.” The kids will love this one.
- Get the fast food out of your lap and into something classier. The Zone Tech Car Swivel Tray fits in most cup holders and has a non-skid bottom to keep your food from sliding into your lap.
- Backseat driver has four legs instead of two? Protect the seat with a comfy cover.
While this list is just for fun, don’t neglect all the necessary preparations for a road trip. You’ll find important tips online at The American Red Cross and Triple A.