What's In The Car Of An Experienced Road Tripper:

This week's post comes from no other than the person who helped to start my road trip adventures, and is my partner in crime in many of those: Barbara Meyer - cat and Ford Fiesta owner, also Le Mans poster gifter. You can find pictures of her trips on Instagram.

Summer has arrived, the sun is shining and the last mountain passes are finally freed from the icy grip of winter. Road trip season is now fully on the way and the possibilities are endless.

The lovely host of this site already informed us about all the essentials the Rookie Road Tripper packs. Coincidentally the same person also promoted me to the status of “experienced road tripper” last year (even though I suspect she was just too polite to call me “old” ) and asked me to write down the most important items in my car.

I started the road trip experience pretty young in the back of an old Ford LTD station wagon. Times and laws have changed since then and this would count as pretty unsafe (it is) and illegal today.  Some things on the other hand do stay they same: Snacks are still mandatory!
First of all I love road trips, always have. I love getting up at sunrise, start on bad coffee and snacks and drive until sundown to just see where you end up. In Europe this can be a whole different country, in the US we always had kind of an unofficial “out of one state, through another one and into the next” rule.

I love driving and I love my little car, it has a name and everything, but you will rarely see me clean it. That said, there are a few things I will always spent money and effort on. In my opinion you do not skimp money on good and appropriate tires, brakes and windscreen wipers. There is nothing worse than driving in the dark in the rain and the windscreen wipers not working properly ( and I know we all hate it, but it really pays of to clean the inside of your windscreen from time to time).

DO NOT try to cross Tioga pass on summer tires in these conditions (actually just don't drive at all on summer tires in these conditions, you will either end up in the ditch or annoy the hell out of the rest of us)
I may sound old telling you this, but safety first! No matter whether it is mandatory in your country or not, but have that breakdown triangle, the first aid kit and a high-vis jacket ready at hand. My high-vis jacket is in the side pocket of the driver's door, so you can grab it before you leave the vehicle. I highly doubt that the contents of the first aid kit ever saved a severely injured person and it will take you forever to get stuff out of the tiny sealed packages, but it can still help you with the scrapes and cuts of your latest hiking adventure. The most important thing in the first aid kit is a pair of gloves in case you have to help an injured and bleeding person in a car accident and as I don't want to unwrap the plastic mystery that is the first aid kit when time is of essence, I always keep an extra pair of surgical gloves in the glove box that I can just grab as I go. 

Surgical gloves are easy to pack, but any latex gloves will do, just keep them readily on hand
Sadly I had a puncture on more than one road trip so far, so there is a space saver in the trunk of my car. There are also the tools for changing the tire, a pump, a little gadget to check the tire pressure , a flashlight, a working light that can also serve as a warning light, jump leads, tow rope and work gloves.

It goes without saying that it pays of to check the pressure of your spare wheel every once in a while. Nothing is more annoying than needing it and finding it flat (you can trust me on this....).
The other essentials in my car are usually at least one extra coat (and hat and warm gloves in winter) , a blanket, a roll of paper towel, kleenex, phone charger, sunglasses, good old paper maps (you never know when your phone will break down, it has happened before), chewing gum for when I get tired, water and a multitude of snacks. Snacks are essential and not negotiable (as is caffeine).

Even I have to admit that Mountain Dew and Skittles make for a terrifying mixture...
When you have packed all that, my dad – let's just call him the ancient road tripper- will tell you that you need to pack about 500 more things. To name just a few:  A gallon of water to clean hands and feet with old and rather scary looking pieces of stolen motel soap bars, extra towels, a metric ton of paper towels of different origin and toilet paper, a geological hammer (that we have not had use for in the past 40 years, the same goes for the shovel, the knives and the axe), cat food and a pet carrier to just name a few. 

The hammer is still up for debate before every single trip, but I have to strongly agree with the cat food, as we have picked up more than one starving stray kitten over the years. 

Bertram Fargo Oliver was rescued from a dumpster behind a motel in Wells, Nevada
Last but not least I too am superstitious, so for good luck there is Bob the spotted mouse in the backseat and my loyal companion the Ugly Ghost dangling from my rear view mirror.

My trusted companion the Ugly Ghost has protected more than one car since 2005
These are the contents of my car for the daily commute or longer road trips and they have served me well over the years. So, what are you waiting for. Pack your car, fill it up, hit the road and find out where it will take you!

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