Before you leave, give a friend or family member your itinerary, a list of contact telephone numbers, and your medical and insurance information. If you are planning a road trip outside of the United States, register your contact and trip information with the U.S. State Department and receive travel warnings about your destination.
Pack a small first aid kit with a supply of over-the-counter pain, allergy, stomach upset and diarrhea medications. Include mosquito spray, insect bite treatments, antibiotic first aid cream, alcohol swabs, bandages and Band-Aids for cuts and blisters. Take along a blanket for each traveler if you are heading to cool climes, just one if you are not--a blanket can used to cover an accident victim to help treat shock.
Auto First Aid
Whether you are traveling on major highways or the blue back roads, be sure to have an auto first aid kit made up of flares, a tire gauge, a large flashlight and batteries, a can of fix-a-flat and a roadside florescent safety triangle that can be set up several yards behind your ailing car. A folding window sunshade printed on one side with a "Please Call Police" message also is a good thing to pack.
Take along a small cooler, a thermos, refillable hot/cold beverage bottles, salt and pepper packets. Pack granola bars or snacks, plus a large jug of water, especially if you are driving on less-traveled roads. Lightweight travel towels dry quickly and are anti-bacterial. Include hand sanitizer and a spray bottle of water. If the family pet is along for the ride, don't forget a plastic water bowl and food dish, plus poop scoop bags.
Even if you have the latest GPS equipment and a cellphone, be prepared for the unexpected. Carry old-fashioned maps, a compass, an emergency backup phone battery, and a small radio with an emergency weather channel. Check with your cellphone carrier to see where service may not be available. Call or text a friend or family member as you drive into a non-service area to let them know how long you expect to be out of touch.
Best Improv Tools
Pack a few garbage bags for car cleanup, as an emergency raincoat or ground tarp, duct tape for all manner of tasks and a small roll of mosquito netting to tape over open windows during a brief rest stop nap in bayou country. Toss a couple of books of matches into the glove compartment. Plus, take along the best all-purpose piece of travel gear--the kerchief. Pack several and use for napkins, bandanas, tablecloths, window sunshades and even window cleaning.