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Your car will be road trip-ready with these 10 handy tips

10Best logo 10Best 6/12/2020 Jessica Polizzotti, Special to USA TODAY 10Best; 10Best Editors, Special to USA TODAY 10Best

There's nothing like a road trip - setting out on the open highway - to spark a sense of adventure. Pack your car with the following supplies to ensure you have smooth sailing and make it all the way to your destination in style.

1. Pick out some tunes

a person holding a baby: Good tunes are essential to road trips © iStock / Prostock-Studio Good tunes are essential to road trips

Good music is a must when embarking on a road trip. Newer-model cars come with USB ports and Bluetooth links to connect your digital devices to your car stereo. Make a playlist for your road trip with old favorites, new hits and maybe even some audio books to entertain along the way.

2. Pick a few flicks too

Movies are not just for kids. If your car has a media player and you're on an adults-only trip, bring along a selection of your generation's classics and newer releases. Let your passengers relax in the back.

3. Pack some drinks

a group of people sitting around a car: Bring along some water to stay hydrated © E+ / lisegagne Bring along some water to stay hydrated

Sometimes you just don't want to stop for sustenance. Luckily, you can easily take it with you. Bring refillable covered cups for everyone, and fill a cooler with chilled drinks and frozen water bottles. (They'll act as ice packs and eventually melt so you can drink them later.) You can easily refill your cups as needed.

4. Bring along some shelf-stable items

Pack a box of non-perishable food for sharing. Fill it with single-serve pantry items, bread and treats to get you through a long stretch.

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5. Don't forget the TP

a cup of coffee: Bring some toilet paper for roadside stops © iStock / seb_ra Bring some toilet paper for roadside stops

Whether you're eight or 80, you may find yourself in need and without a restroom while on the road. Inexpensive travel toilets (and toilet paper) are easy to store for emergencies.

6. Cleaning supplies are a must

A few cleaning supplies and towels can save you from a mess along the way. Include carpet cleaner, air freshener, paper towels and all-purpose cleaner in the car. A spill or illness will be no match for your pack of supplies.

7. Be prepared for a roadside emergency

a person sitting in a chair talking on a cell phone: Be prepared to change a tire © iStock / Bobex-73 Be prepared to change a tire

Bring along jumper cables, and make sure you have the tools you need to change a tire. Signing up for a roadside assistance plan if you're able is also a good idea.

8. Double-check your paperwork

This one should probably go without saying, but make sure your license, registration and insurance are all up to date.

9. Know where you're going

a person driving a car: Make sure you have your directions accessible © E+ / Dean Mitchell Make sure you have your directions accessible

In the age of the GPS and Google Maps, it can be easy to become dependent on your smartphone for directions. But in case you end up in a reception dead zone or your phone battery is running low, make sure you have an offline resource to consult. Prepare by having a way to charge your phone in your car, download your route so you can access it offline, and perhaps consider packing some old-school paper maps.

10. Most importantly, get your car checked before heading out

Don't forget to take your car in for a tune-up before you leave town. Afterwards, stock your car and set off on your road trip, knowing you're ready for whatever comes your way.

10Best is a part of the USA TODAY Network, providing an authentically local point of view on destinations around the world, in addition to travel and lifestyle advice.


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