Don’t let your next road trip get cut short. Instead, make sure you’re prepared with a few basics that will turn any car-trouble disaster into a mere speed bump. No need to be a professional mechanic or an auto enthusiast. Even if you’re on a student budget, we suggest three things no traveler should leave home without.
Fix-a-Flat Aerosol Tire Inflator or Portable Air Compressor
Flat tires are one of the most common road trip downers and, despite the best preparations, can be hard to prevent. Still, you can avoid an hours-long hiatus on the side of the road by packing a small air compressor (starting around $15). If air isn’t enough, grab an aerosol can of Fix-a-Flat ($10–$25). Fix-a-Flat fills your tire with air and slime that plugs any holes just long enough to get you to a service station. So don’t head out until you’ve stopped at your local store and purchased yourself a little peace of mind.
AAA Membership or Allstate Motor Club Membership
For only $57 per year, AAA provides five miles of towing service and unlimited lockout service. Roadside assistance plans with Allstate start at $52 per year. Allstate also has a pay-per-use option that offers free registration and charges only if used. However, if an emergency does arise, expenses start at $50 and increase rapidly, depending on what help is required. Whichever plan you choose and whatever your road trip destination, AAA and Allstate have got you covered.
DIY Bailout Bag
If you do run into an extended hitch in your trip, you’ll be grateful you put together some basic necessities. Here’s what we suggest for a do-it-yourself back-up plan:
- Duct Tape It might keep your car together long enough to get you to some help.
- A Good Knife A knife like the Smith and Wesson first-responder knife can cut through seat belts, help break windows, and serve as protection when you’re stranded on the side of the road.
- Flashlight Give yourself a beam of hope when things start to get dark.
- Nonperishable Food Canned fruit can be especially handy since it has food and drinkable syrup in one easily stored container. But don’t forget to also bring along a can opener.
For a more comprehensive list of things to bring, check out this AAA brochure: newsroom.aaa.com