I am no stranger to winter or winter road conditions. While many of you know me from my years in Tennessee when I began my travel career, I have as much if not more of my life spent in the north. I have lived in Wisconsin on four different periods of my life, including my driving development years and living in Vermont three different periods. And of course, now I reside here in New Jersey, where we just had a lovely dumping of the white stuff from the most recent Nor’easter.
With many of us still sticking close to home and hitting the roads for our vacations, it is an excellent time to share some of the items I keep in my car to be road-ready. I’ve created a shortlist of things you will typically find in my car during the winter months or when I make a winter road trip. I like to ski and visit the mountains, not to mention I will use any excuse to hit the roads for travel.
Winter Road Trip Short Checklist
- A blanket. I keep a blanket in my car year-round. In the winter, it is there for warmth should you end up stranded on the side of the road. In the summer, it is a beach blanket or park blanket.
- A shovel. I have a collapsable shovel that I throw into the car when the cold months arrive. It comes in handy if you have to dig yourself out unexpectedly.
- A bottle of wiper fluid. Be sure to get the wiper fluid that is good for at least -20 degrees below zero. Regular wiper fluid will freeze up in the spouts.
- A bag/box of cat litter. Cat litter works great for providing some traction if your wheels are spinning. The extra weight of the bag or box is good for keeping the tail end of the car swishing. The extra weight grounds the car better.
- A bottle of water. I always have my water bottle with me. Again, if, for some reason, you are off the road waiting for some assistance, you can remain hydrated.
- A roll of paper towels. Paper towels can serve many purposes, from cleaning up messes, wiping your nose, or even wiping your ass. Having had three kids and multiple pets in the cars over the years, finding paper towels rolling around in the back is pretty standard year-round.
- A snack. Anyone who knows me well knows I usually have something in the bottom of my purse. I am one of those hangry people. However, traveling during winter, this snack may need to be your meal until help arrives.
- Jumper cables. I have a set that has its own power source. I don’t need another vehicle, but I need to make sure I have fully charged them before traveling.
Those are my winter car kit basics. And I must admit I am not always good about remembering to keep it stocked on regular road days even though I should because traveling the parkway to work here can be just as dangerous as taking a road trip to the mountains in Vermont. Share with us some of the things you have in your emergency kit. I know there are a few other things that I should include, but this is a good start for anyone looking to hit the winter roads.