Road trip essentials: what 8 things do you need in your vehicle before hitting the road?​

With summer fast approaching, you might have found yourself planning picturesque a road trip somewhere around the UK, or even daring to take a Ferry or the Channel Tunnel to explore mainland Europe. Whether it’s with your kids or your friends, you need to be prepared – anything can happen on the road!

We’ve put together a list of eight essential items that you should seriously consider packing to take with you on your adventure.

Finger pointing at road map, sat inside a vehicle

1. Breakdown Cover

One in five motorists have considered cancelling their breakdown cover, in an effort to cutdown driving costs (The Car Expert, 2022). This may be a working solution for the everyday commuter who travels locally, but on a road trip, the chances of getting stranded miles from any garage is high – and without cover, you could end up paying through the (sun)roof to get back on the road in a timely fashion.

2. Bottled Water

Not to keep hydrated, but for an emergency radiator top-up. We don’t advise this as a long-term solution, and you should never leave bottles of water in your car for too long – especially in the heat – but this is handy to have for emergencies. Just keep the bottle out of direct sunlight and don’t forget to remove it from the vehicle when your trip is over!

3. First Aid Kit

This likely won’t help in the case of an accident and emergency situation, but having some spare plasters, alcohol wipes and even hay fever tablets could make the world of difference to your road trip – especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking or scenic sight-seeing!

4. Owner's Manual

Picture this: an unknown light has appeared on your dashboard, and you have no phone signal to Google what it could mean and know if it’s an emergency or safe to drive still.

By keeping the manufacturer’s manual in your glovebox, or even buried beneath your belongings in the boot, you can help put your mind at ease by finding out exactly what it means, and if you can make it to the nearest garage safely – or if you have to pay a premium and call out the breakdown service that you didn’t think you would need cover for.

5. Spare Car Key

Your spare key is probably the last thing you would remember to take with you on a road trip, but it could save you time and money from having to call an automotive locksmith and prove that you are the owner of the vehicle! Just don’t accidentally lock both sets of keys in the car!

6. Emergency Puncture Repair Kit

If you don’t have run flats, you could easily find yourself in a sticky situation. The most common type of emergency puncture repair is a foam solution, which will re-inflate and seal the puncture. Usually, no tools or jacks are needed as the foam will enter through the tyre’s air valve.

Run flat tyres allow you to keep driving safely if you get a puncture, as the reinforced sidewall continues to support your car. If your car is compatible with run flats (usually if you have a built-in Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

7. Sunshades​

There’s nothing worse than, after being out in the sun all day, coming back to a car that’s even hotter than the outside temperature. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure to have plenty of sun shades you can place across windows and windscreens.

For even better cooling, park in the shade – but remember to re-evaluate the shadows around midday to make sure your car stays in the cool spots! 

8. A Summer Playlist

Radio frequencies can be sketchy even in the city, at times, and there’s nothing worse than driving along in awkward silence when you’ve ran out of things to talk about, or being unable to drown out the squabbling backseat passengers.

Whether your car has Android Auto/Apple Car Play, or you’ve got a growing collection of CDs in your car, spend some time beforehand putting together a few playlists for your trip, or searching Spotify or Apple Music to steal someone else’s road trip extravaganza – or maybe you’re brave enough to try Spotify’s AI DJ.

If you’re about to go village hopping in the Cotswolds, drive the scenic route through the Highlands, or try your luck along the coast lines – make sure you have the essentials we’ve talked about above to keep you on the road for longer, and not in the nearest garage that’s still 50 miles out of your way.

If you're concerned, why not book in for a service?​​