Advice for Teens on Road Trips
Here are some great tips for teens (like myself) going on Road Trips this summer.
Things to PACK in your car for safety:
- a few gallons of spring water
- jumper cables
- windshield washer fluid
- extra container of gas in case you run out
- garbage bags for trash
- wet wips - it's amazing how much you can spill!
- equipment for changing a flat tire -- a FULL SIZE SPARE instead of a donut, a jack, tire pressure gauge, "fix-a-flat", etc..
- cell phone AND car charger for your phone!
- prepaid phone card in case your cell phone breaks/no service/etc at leats you could use a nearby payphone
- list of emergency numbers and everyone who is with you should add their relatives to this list
- first aid kit
- clear list of your plans for the trip
- binoculars if you have them
- toilet paper
- duct tape
- spare lighters & matches
- paper towels
- some work gloves
- some basic canned food
- a couple spare towels
- a small fire extinguisher
- pocket knife
- an extra copy of your map (how many people lose their map!!)
- pepper sprays
Pepper spray requires a permit in some states, be sure to research this with your police department... you may need to apply for a special permit, but I would definitely advise traveling with pepper spray especially if you are a female. If you do travel with pepper spray, be sure to keep it somewhere accessible to all passengers (eg: in a console, glovebox, etc) because if it is packed away in your trunk-- what good will it do?
This list may seem long, but most of these items are small and can fit into a suitcase/backpack or take up little space in your trunk. A great strategy I use is clear, plastic, tupperware containers. Label these containers and sort your supplies out into different containers -- ex: sanitary supplies, medical supplies, safety supplies, food supplies, car supplies, etc. The clear containers will help because you will be able to see clearly what is in each container. Also, these containers will be organized and take up little space in your trunk.
Another great tip -- Each day, have one of your passengers write down where you are and what you are doing. These "safety notes" are a great idea. Simply write a few sentences each time you do something and DATE THE NOTES. For example: "4-1-2005: Today we are in Boston, MA. It is 5:00PM and we are meeting up with a few friends for dinner at 6:00--Martha Smith, John Doe, and Ryan Carter. We are planning to go to a restaurant called Fire & Ice in Harvard Square, Cambridge. Martha 617-555-555 / John 617-555-5551 / Ryan 617-555-5552."
Leave these notes in your car, in the glovebox for example. This way, if something happens where you do not return to your car, and your family is unable to contact you, they will be able to use the information you wrote down to hopefully get in touch with you. These notes are great in an emergency, because law enforcement will be able to "retrack your steps" and hopefully locate you. It is important to write down the phone numbers, and if possible the addresses of anyone you meet along your trip, "just in case".
Use common sense, and stay away from areas that appear dangerous. Trust your instincts, and you will have a great time!
Hope these tips help! Have fun on the road!
Last edited by beachbunny; 04-12-2005 at 09:54 AM.
Great List. Thanks for sharing your ideas. One caveat -- I have done solo roadtrips since... I was a teenager (and... that was a long, long time ago) and I have never felt the need nor wanted to carry pepper spray or any other type of weapon. Common sense and the ability to out-think those who might wish to harm or inconvenience travelers is always going to be a more effective weapon than just about any product.
Gas and Pepper Spray
Looking over your list, I don't see "camera" -- I may have missed it but it's one thing I'd never leave behind!
I'd also leave OUT the gasoline (under most normal circumstances) -- carrying a can of gas can be a problem, both safety-wise and because of the "fragrance" and health issues. A better plan is to pay attention to your gasoline usage and the map, and fill your tank long before the supply and availability becomes a critical issue.
If you're ever inclined to "test" the pepper spray -- my advice is don't. It's VERY "unpleasant." :)
Good list! (Will there be any room left for your passengers?) I'm JOKING! Bob
Ah yes a camera!!!
I have also done a lot of traveling alone without pepper spray-- however this summer I am taking a few major road tips... so as a precaution, I got some. It is definitely a personal choice. However, I figure "the safer, the better"
This is a good "Gear Up" topic. I think that your list goes for everyone, teenages and adults alike! To work off of Mark's and Bob's sentiments if I may, self defense tools (weapons, pepper spray, etc) can also be used against you, so be careful what you bring.
Before you go on any sort of long driving trip, you should make sure that your vehicle is in good condition. That includes, but is not limited to:
-engine oil & filter change (steering, axles, transmission, and transfer case too)
-cooling system flush & fill, thermostat checked/replaced
-good tires that are properly inflated
-properly operating brakes
-properly operating air conditioning system
Water is very very very important for your and your vehicle's health. You should keep yourself hydrated by drinking constantly. Just keep sipping from a manageably-sized bottle. If you drive in the summer, overheating can be an issue, which is where the water for your vehicle comes in.
You should never carry gasoline inside your car, including the trunk. If you have a truck or SUV that can accomodate a lockable Gerry can, that is a much safer way to carry gasoline. But still, you should only carry gasoline if you are going to go far offroad and you know that you will need more gasoline than your vehicle's tank can hold.
Be smart, be aware of your surroundings, and be safe.
By the way, how did you like Fire & Ice in Harvard Square? ;)
I loooove Fire and Ice! I live in MASS so I get up there as much as possible-- it's one of my favorites :)