The holiday season is the busiest travel season of the year. And that can make it one of the most stressful times of the year. Few things are more stressful than cramming the whole family into the car for a long-distance road trip.
When it comes to holiday travel, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that a whopping 91 percent of Americans choose a road trip over public transportation. Only 5 percent to 6 percent brave crowded airports, and 2 percent to 3 percent travel by bus, train or some other mode.
So, there’s a good chance you’ll be on the road at some point in the next two months. It’s a good idea to start preparing now, and we have just what you need.
We’ve rounded up some essential items you’ll want on hand before you hit the road this year. Some of these will help to keep you safe, and others will entertain even the toughest passengers.
Being on the road can be dangerous. Especially with a car full of people, conversations and distractions. Over 2 million people are injured in car accidents every year, and AAA reports that 1.2 million motorists find themselves stranded on the side of the road during the holiday season.
These are just a few reasons why we want you to stay safe out there. Keep these items in your car so that you’re always prepared.
1. Record every moment
Accidents happen quickly, and it’s often your word against theirs to determine who’s at fault. Unless you have a dashcam, that is. If you want to avoid the annoying he-said-she-said game, a dashcam can clear the air. Install one of these for peace of mind. No matter where the road takes you, you’ll have the truth on your side.
The APEMAN Dash Cam has 1080p footage as well as motion detection and loop recording features. It even has night vision to ensure clear and steady footage even when it’s dark out.
While a dashcam is great for legal issues, what about the heat of the moment? If you have injuries, you’ll want to get those taken care of right away.
2. You might need more than bandages
It’s always a good idea to keep a first aid kit on hand. This packed Emergency Kit takes it a bit further. It comes with essential first aid items, including gauze, a cold pack, soap wipes, safety pins, etc. But it also comes with emergency items, such as burn dressings and bandages.
Altogether, the kit contains 190 items you’ll be glad to have on hand. But because of its unique design, it doesn’t take up much space. The entire kit is small enough to fit in your car’s glove compartment.
Entertainment for every mile
Kids and teenagers are famous for repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet?” That’s because they get bored easily. But these items will keep everyone entertained for miles.
1. Games and videos for everyone
You don’t want to spend the trip listening to everyone fight over the iPad, and you don’t have to force them to take turns. Use this headrest mount to position the iPad where everyone can view it.
This mount fits tablets between 7″-10″ and is compatible with most headrests. It also has a swivel feature that allows you to turn the screen 360 degrees. And no tools are needed to install it in your car.
2. Drive in peace and quiet
Entertaining young children can be tough, since most toys and games come with their own jingle-riddled soundtrack. No one wants to be stuck in the car listening to the coos of Tickle Me Elmo. That’s why every child needs their own pair of headphones.
There are several fun options to choose from, including these Minnie Mouse Bow-tastic headphones from Amazon. They also have a built-in volume limiter that protects kids’ ears from sudden loud sounds.
3. Family-friendly travel apps
Road games are a great way to pass the time, but there are better options than Slug Bug. These days there are plenty of fun apps to keep your family entertained as you drive.
States and PL8S (Apple; $0.99): This app lets you play the popular road trip game where you “collect” license plates from all 50 states. Except, it lets you play as a group and keep track of the score. It includes a map that marks all the states you’ve collected, and you can link up to your Twitter account to tweet out your progress.
Mad-Libs (Android, Apple: Free): If you had a deprived childhood, you might not know that Mad-Libs are stories with scattered fill-in-the-blanks. The players supply random words of the appropriate type – proper noun, verb, adjective, etc. – to create a complete, and often hilarious, story. Not only is it fun, it’s great for teaching younger kids the parts of speech. The app comes with a free book that has 21 free Mad Libs. More books of stories are available for purchase in-app for $1.99 each.
4. Laptop holder tray
This laptop holder tray is perfect for the teenager who’s dying to play the new Fallout 4 PC game, or the bookworm who actually wants to do homework. The tray attaches to the back of the seat and folds up when it’s not in use. It also has built-in pockets to hold chargers, notebooks and video games.
With its flexible design, it fits most cars by attaching to the headrest and lower portion of the seat. It also uses Velcro straps so the tray can be adjusted to the perfect height.