This post is sponsored by Good Sam TravelAssist. All opinions are my own.
Since we’ll be covering something close to 20,000 miles this summer , we’re definitely keen on making sure we’re prepared for emergencies. All these things in our road trip survival kit are things we sincerely hope to never need, but will be super glad to have just in case. I’d love to hear in the comments about any emergency road trip supplies you always carry along, too!
Extra Water & Food In A Road Trip Survival Kit
This is maybe the most key emergency supply. Especially when traveling for a summer road trip when conditions can get hot and dry, having clean drinking water is essential. It’s critical if we get stuck in a survival situation. This is easier in an RV that has a fresh water holding tank. Still, always double check that you have a supply available before driving long distances. In a car, make sure to carry a couple of jugs of water along just in case.
Along with water, we always have enough food to last a couple of days if necessary. Shelf stable things like granola bars and nuts and fruit are helpful, especially when going on a car road trip. The RV gives us some more options if we can run our fridge off propane, but even then, we always make sure to have a good stash of shelf-stable supplies just in case.
After food and water, we always hope to avoid any major vehicle & health emergencies while traveling. Still, we always try to prepare if anything major does come up.
Good Sam Roadside Assistance has been enormously helpful to us a couple times while on the road. Even something like changing a tire can be complicated with an RV and many other roadside assistance services won’t help out with that (or will take a very long time to get someone there who is capable of doing it). Good Sam Roadside Assistance is geared to RVs and they know exactly how to take care of you. Plus, they don’t have a mileage cap for what they will cover for towing to a facility, unlike many other plans. This was SUCH a blessing to us when we broke down in the middle of Yukon Territory, Canada, and needed a 5 hour tow that cost thousands of dollars, and was fully covered for us.
We’re also always grateful to have Good Sam TravelAssist emergency medical coverage just in case. Should we have any major medical issues, we like knowing it will help us with any big healthcare costs, like getting airlifted to a better equipped hospital. It also covers return services for our RV if we ever need it. Plus, it gives us coverage for any form of travel, not just on the road. It gives us a lot of peace of mind as a family that travels both internationally and in the US frequently.
Car Mechanical Road Trip Supplies
There are a few basic mechanical supplies that we always carry with us on any family road trip as part of our road trip survival kit, whether in a car or in the RV. Having a battery-powered jump starter (we have this one in our car) means we can always give ourselves a jump if necessary, even if there are no other vehicles around. We like the 1000 amp one as it’s powerful enough for either our car or the RV. It’s really saved us a few times when we’ve been far away from others or any services.
We also like to carry a tire air compressor with our road trip supplies. (Here’s one for RVs and one for regular vehicles.) This was really helpful one time when emergency roadside assistance came to change an RV tire for us, but didn’t actually have a pump to inflate the tire. It’s a relief to know we’re prepared regardless. A tire pressure gauge is super helpful to have, as well, so we know when a tire is properly inflated.
Finally, we always take along at least one spare tire as part of our emergency car supplies. This is also extra important in the RV. We’ve learned from experience that RV tires can be difficult to find in certain areas, so we always like to have a full-sized spare on hand. When on longer trips, like driving to Alaska, for instance, we’ll take along two full-sized spares. Depending on the vehicle, we also take along either a car jack or RV jack, as well as a wheel wrench so we can change the tire ourselves if need be. An impact driver (here’s the one we have) is really useful in place of a manual wrench, especially for a big and heavy vehicle like an RV.
First Aid Supplies for Road Trip Survival Kit
First aid supplies are an absolute must for any family road trip. We always leave one both in our car as well as in the RV and have used them countless times for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and more. This is a great one that is fairly robust, that includes a few extras like an emergency blanket, burn materials, CPR shield, etc. This is an excellent, more basic one that is perfect to keep in the car at all times.
I always like to switch out the bandages that come with it with my favorite bandages that actually stay on. I like to add sunscreen, insect repellent, and a cold compress as kits don’t often include them.
Navigational Devices for Roadside Emergencies
We like to keep a variety of options on hand for navigation as part of our emergency car supplies. Google Maps is the one we use most frequently, and we always make sure to download offline Google Maps. But beyond that, we always make sure to have an old-fashioned paper map handy. This is good to practice using beforehand so we get a feel for what roads make sense and where we should be heading.
Finally, we also like to keep an emergency GPS device on hand. This is useful in a true emergency if we need to contact someone but don’t have cell service, as it allows us to send a message out on satellite. It also is of course helpful for location information. We like this device because it’s small (so it’s great to take along while hiking, too) and is perfect for a road trip survival kit.
External Chargers on a Family Road Trip
Cell phones and GPS tracking devices can be really useful if they’re turned on. But they’re useless as part of a road trip survival kit if they’re not functional! We typically charge our phones while we’re driving (this cigarette lighter charging adaptor is useful). Then we always carry a couple of external chargers as a backup. Of course, we love having them to take out on a day hike or adventure. And they’re equally useful if we get into a road trip emergency! They help keep our emergency devices charged and functional.
I love this powerful one that has several charges for a cell phone. This mini one is great to carry around. A large power station like this is useful if you’re heading on a long or very remote trip. (Here’s more about all of our off-grid power sources we use when boondocking in an RV.)
Headlamps & Flashlights In Your Roadside Emergency Kit
These are a couple other items that have a huge variety of uses. From peering under car hoods and bodies to searching in the dark, it’s always wise to have a few headlamps and flashlights handy. We also try to make sure to have some spare batteries just in case.
Blankets for Road Trip Emergencies
While days can get warm, summer nights can often still be quite cold. If an emergency does arise and we get stuck overnight, one of the first steps is to conserve body heat. These emergency blankets are super lightweight, inexpensive, and take up little space. They’re perfect to keep on hand in the event of a road trip emergency.
Motor Oil & Coolant in A Road Trip Survival Kit
Engine issues are super common on road trips, and overheating can especially be an issue when driving in the summer. We always keep a bit of motor oil and coolant handy in case a roadside emergency does come up. That way, we can top things off long enough that we can hopefully make it to the next town or service station without needing to wait for a tow. Paper towels or even baby wipes can be great to include with this to clean up any spills.
Basic Tools in a Roadside Emergency Kit
Just like having a basic medical kit is an important backup, having the same for your vehicle is just as critical! We like to have a small set that includes things like a wrench, pliers, screwdriver, and potentially even some flares. Duct tape is another great item to include in here!
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