Having just returned from two weeks of driving through southern Australia with three kids in a small station wagon, I’ve come up with my list of five in-car essentials.
If you’re setting out on a long drive then it’s a fair bet that the temperature will vary throughout the day. Also, when you make the inevitable bio-stop, it’s good to be able to not swelter or freeze when you leave the car.
Dress in layers and, if you expect a significant temperature variation, carry a pair of shorts or long pants in the car so you can change with the weather.
Personalised entertainment for occupants is easily achievable. Between iPods, laptops, tablets and portable gaming devices, it’s possible for everyone to have their own entertainment. Not only does that put an end to the fight for control of the car stereo but it lets everyone chill out in their won way. Just don’t forget the headphones.
If you’re going to carry and run lots of electronic gizmos in the car then you’ll want to keep them charged. A power inverter makes it easy to keep things charged up. I bought one that fitted into a cup-holder with a USB and standard power outlet but there are lots to choose from.
4. Snacks and drinks
My name is Anthony and I’m a chocoholic. While I can happily munch on chocolate all day, it’s a good idea to eat in a more balanced way. Aside from the obvious health benefits, eating healthily will help keep you alert and feeling better. With drinks, we kept the car stocked with fresh, cool water. While coffee and soft drinks are tempting, they’ll only add to your thirst and act as diuretics, causing you to need extra stops.
5. Keep the cabin uncluttered
On our recent holiday, we had to carry enough gear for two weeks away. Although it’s tempting to pack lots of stuff, don’t pack so much that you need to use the cabin space for storage. On a long drive, having space to stretch out and move can make the difference between arriving at your destination relaxed or extra tired.
So what are your car travel essentials?