Your Road-Trip Kit Checklist: Don’t Move Without It!

Posted on Jan 21, 2014

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 Your Road-Trip Kit Checklist


Be prepared for the long-haul moving Road-Trip with this checklist.


There are multiple aspects of moving, not the least of which is driving to your new home.  First, it’s imperative to consider some safety factors if you’re driving long-distance.


Inspect the Car

Approximately one week before your move, make sure you’re car is serviced.  Have a full service check up to ensure the belts, hoses, AC, battery are in good order.  Consider changing the air filter and having the tires rotated.  Have any item of concern repaired before leaving.  Check the spare tire and car jack to make sure they’re in good working order.

Plan Your Route

Even if you plan to rely on GPS, it’s still a good idea to plan your route with a reliable, up to date map.  You never know when GPS services may be unavailable.  If the map is an online tool, compare more than one site to verify it’s accuracy.  While planning, consider when you will be traveling through a busy city (to a avoid congestion) or when you’ll be traveling in a remote area (to make sure that if stranded, they’ll be daylight to find you).  Try using this tool, online or as an app on your smart phone, to assist you in planning your route –

Pack Smart

A few days before you leave, pack your car with all your gear to make sure it all fits.  You don’t want to overload your car, not only for your own comfort, but also due to the fact that every 100 lbs added reduces fuel efficiency by 2%.  For safety and handling ease, put the heaviest items in the center of the vehicles trunk.  Make sure not to block your line of sight.  And make sure it’s all secured so if you have to stop suddenly nothing goes airborne.

Get your Zzzz’s

Packing and moving is stressful, emotionally and physically.  It’s important though to plan your drive so that you don’t drive beyond what you can manage each day, and reserve your hotel room for nightly points of destination at a reasonable distance from the day’s starting point.  During the day, take brief breaks to stave off drowsiness.  Be sure to switch off drivers and nap as well.

 Winter Driving

You will no doubt try to control your move so that you won’t have to drive a long distance during cold weather.  However, if that’s not an option follow these winter driving tips:

Check the National Weather Service website prior to driving each day.  It’s advisable to check on weather conditions for the area you’ll be traveling through that day.  In the event of inclement weather, consider delaying the drive; if that’s not an option inform a friend or family member of your route including departure and estimated arrival times.

In addition to inspecting the car as outlined at the start of the article, you’ll want to take additional precautions for winter driving.

  • Check windshield wiper blades
  • Change oil
  • Check belts and hoses
  • Use antifreeze
  • Get snow tires installed if applicable to terrain
  • Pack an Emergency Kit to include these personal items:
  1. water
  2. non-perishable food & can opener
  3. hand wipes
  4. garbage bags
  5. winter clothing (i.e. hats, scarves, gloves, coats, hand warmers)
  6. pillows & extra blankets for yourself and your passengers.
  7. If you have little ones in diapers be sure to include extra diapers and wipes.
  8. If you are traveling with pets, be sure to include extra gear for them.
  • The Kit should also include these vehicle related items:
  1. car manual
  2. tire pressure gauge
  3. foam tire sealant
  4. flashlight
  5. jumper cables
  6. extra fuses & fan belt
  7. flares & a brightly colored cloth
  8. small shovel
  9. tire chains
  10. extra antifreeze & oil
  11. kitty litter or gravel
  12. small fire-extinguisher & first aid kit
  13. matches
  • Additionally, input emergency numbers to your cell phone (i.e. towing service, AAA, hotel reservation desk, your doctor) then fully charge your phone and bring a car charger

If the unthinkable happens and you do get stranded while driving during winter weather, take note of these points in this order:

  1. Don’t panic!
  2. If you’re in a snowdrift, dig or push the automobile out as long as you don’t over exert yourself; use sand, gravel, or kitty litter under the wheels to gain traction.
  3. Call a tow truck or AAA – using one of those handy emergency numbers you input into your fully charged cell phone :>)
  4. Light flares, placing it a safe distance from both front and rear of your car.
  5. Hang a brightly colored cloth from the car antenna.
  6. Consider leaving the overhead light on in your car.
  7. Stay in your car! Unless you know exactly where you need to go, and are positive it will improve your situation – don’t leave your vehicle.  It will give you the extra protection you need during poor weather as well as making it easier to find you.
  8. Run the heater 10 minutes every hour.  Note of caution: don’t do this if you’re stuck in a snowdrift and the exhaust pipe is blocked!
  9. Put on all your winter clothing.
  10. Pile on your extra blankets.
  11. Use the hand warmers from your emergency kit.
  12. Use garbage bags and pillows for extra insulation.


Here is the indispensable Road-Trip Kit Checklist

Road-Trip Kit Checklist

  •     Keys to both old & new house
  •     Identification cards/Medical cards
  •     Emergency roadside kit
  •     Cash / Change
  •     First-aid kit
  •     Credit Cards
  •     Car charger
  •     Check book
  •     Blue tooth device
  •     Prescription medicine
  •     Bottled water
  •     Motion sickness medicine
  •     Cooler
  •     Pillows
  •     Food/Snacks     (think trail mix, beef jerky, protein bars, fruit, vegetables, nuts)
  •     Blankets
  •     Can opener
  •     Music
  •     Plastic ware
  •     Games
  •     Paper plates
  •     Camera
  •     Disposable cups
  •     Special items for children
  •     Paper towels
  •     Special items for pets
  •     Hand wipes
  •    __________________________
  •     Toilet paper
  •    __________________________
  •     Garbage bags
  •    __________________________


Emergency Kit Items:

* – denotes needed in cold weather
  •      Water
  •     Car Manual
  •      Non-perishable food – (i.e., canned goods)
  •     Flashlight (check batteries)
  •      Can Opener
  •     Tire pressure gauge
  •      Hand Wipes
  •     Tire foam sealant
  •      Garbage bags
  •     Jumper cables
  •      Hats*
  •     Extra fuses
  •      Scarves*
  •     Extra fan belt
  •      Gloves*
  •     Extra antifreeze
  •      Coats*
  •     Extra oil
  •      ________________________________
  •     Shovel*
  •      ________________________________
  •     Tire chains*
  •      ________________________________
  •     Kitty litter / gravel / sand*
  •      First Aid Kit
  •     Fire extinguisher
  •      Bright cloth / rag
  •     Matches


Additional Pointers:

  •  Using the cruise control can increase your Gas Mileage
  • Weigh the benefit of using a gas station right off the exit ramp (ease of use and time saved) vs. driving further from the exit (gas is usually cheaper)


If you need a list of must-have’s for the first night in your new home, there is a separate list in the article, The Basic Moving Checklist – for the “Pro’s”.


Visit the home page of this series, The Ultimate Movers Guide for more tips with any other aspect of moving or packing.


What do you consider a “must-have” when traveling?






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