Iron Road South Dakota
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Must Have Road Trip Items

There is nothing I love more than a good road trip with random adventures through areas very few people will ever get to visit. A road trip is more than a way to get from point A to Point B, but a way to see hidden gems that you cannot see if you fly. There will be challenges and obstacles along the way but I find that my fondest memories come from getting lost on the open road in the middle of nowhere.

One of my favorite trips to date has been a long road trip from Texas that took me through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado! The most recent road trip took me from Texas to South and North Dakota to explore some amazing National and State Parks!

A road trip can be as short or as long as you would like, I have done weekend trips to month long trips and they all have their benefits.

During these times where flying might not be the best option and more people are hitting the open road, some might wonder what all do I truly need for a safe and enjoyable road trip.

There are a few items that no matter the season or length of my trip, they will always be in my car and ready to go.

Battery Jump Starter

Noco Battery

A battery jump starter is a tool I got into my car not too long ago but has paid itself off multiple times already. The one I bought was off Amazon and is under $100, it can be found HERE. The main reason I picked this one was due to the high reviews, the portability and ease of use.

I have been lucky not to have to use it while on a road trip but have used it at work and to help friends who did not have road side assistance. The portable jumper takes seconds to connect to the dead battery and normally within a minute of being plugged in I was able to jump the car.

As a note I want to comment that I was able to jump not just a regular car like a Toyota Camry but also a small SUV like a Ford Escape and even my coworkers Chevy Silverado pickup! This small battery jumper has bene a life saver and I cannot recommend it enough.

First Aid Kit

First Aid

This one should go without a reason but it shocks me how many times I am on a road trip and meet someone without something as simple as a band aid and antibiotic cream in their car!

I have always carried a basic first aid kit with me for years since I think it is just an essential part of any road trip. You can build your own or go out and buy a basic kit at almost any pharmacy or grocery store. I have done both routes and for my car have a store bought kit and for hiking I put together what I tend to use the most that way I minimize size and weight.

Spare Tire and Necessary Tools

A spare tire should always be something you never leave home without. I thought this was a given for everyone but the last few years it amazed me how many people drive without a spare tire.

Now just having a spare tire isn’t enough, you must also make sure to have the tools you need to lift your car and replace the tire. This was something I only recently ran into while helping someone who had a flat tire. They had a spare tire in the trunk of their car but had never checked to see if they had a jack included. Unfortunately for them they only had a tire without any of the tools to replace the tire.

Always double check that you have a working spare tire and working tools to replace it.

Basic Car Maintenance and Check Up

Basic car maintenance is something we should all be regularly keeping up with but I see a lot of people neglect.

Before any extended road trip there are a few things I recommend everyone to check and I personally do this as well.

  • Current oil change that will last the entire trip or a plan on where you can change your car oil along the way.
  • Tire mileage and tire pressure are crucial not just for safety but also gas efficiency which will save you money along the way. I recommend everyone stop by a mechanic to get this checked out unless you know what is necessary for your car. I personally go to Discount Tire for free air pressure checks and free tire inspection for how much life I have left. I also recommend Discount Tire since they fix flats for free and have stores all across the United States.

AAA or Road Side Assistance Membership

AAA Membership

My last requirement for any road trip is having access to some roadside assistance program. I have been a AAA member for years with my family and for the price I cannot complain. The benefit of a service like AAA is not just the battery jump, door unlock and flat tire replacement but the towing package that is included. We always used the basic service of AAA until we needed to get towed one year unfortunately on 3 separate occasions. The few miles included with the basic package are almost worthless but with the top family plan we get 200 miles and that peace of mind is priceless.

These are definitely not the only items you will need on a road trip, especially depending on season and length, but I do think these are the most essential for any road trip you will partake on. I do plan to go more in depth on how I pack for my road trips since it seems most of my future travel plans abroad have been cancelled at least until next summer.

Do you have any specific road trip items you don’t leave home without?

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