24 Ways To Improve Your Memorial Day Road-Trip

Fun in the sun
Fun in the sun

Been a while since your family has packed the car for the open road?

Take a moment to re-acquaint yourself with essential goods now that stay-at-home orders are being relaxed across the fruited plain.

ACCESSORIES FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND EXCURSIONS

Cargo organizer

Life has a way of spilling out of control. Keep it all organized on your next adventure with a cargo organizer. They are inexpensive and fold when not in use, but they can save time and frustration when you need to find something quickly.

All-weather floor mats

Prevent the wilderness from soiling your clean vehicle cabin carpet. Install rubber floor mats--they’re sturdy and easy to clean. Make sure to get ones fitted specifically for your vehicle. Ill-fitting mats can become a driving hazard by getting in the way of brake and gas pedals.

Summer wiper blades

Wiper blades for summer? Yes, winter weather takes a toll on wiper blades. And don’t be surprised by the sudden mountain hailstorm or humid, drenching rains in the midwest and south. Fresh blades help improve visibility and prevent streaking.

Window cleaner and waterless car wash & wax 

The automatic window cleaner is nice while driving but doesn’t clean the entire windshield or side windows. Use a window cleaner designed for vehicles. Also, you can keep your vehicle looking great between washing with a waterless spray wash--just a few sprays and a swipe with a microfiber towel. Include a bottle of spray wax If you want to add some extra protection from road contaminants. 

Windshield sun shades

Yes, it’s the kind of item we think about but somehow forget to pack. A windshield shade keeps your vehicle cool and protects the dash from harmful UV rays. It unfurls quickly and folds up nicely.

Side window shades

Don’t forget your passengers on the sunny side of the car. A side window shade can give passengers a more pleasant ride (read: less complaining from the “crew”).

Hands-free phone mount

A mobile phone on the loose is a frustrating thing--sliding across the dashboard, wedging between the seat and center console, disappearing under the seat, disconnecting from the power cord. The latest hands-free mounts come with their own charging pad. Others mount your phone conveniently in the cup holder.

Cabin mini-fan

A good idea for passengers not sitting next to a vent. Mini-fans made for vehicles come with a rechargeable battery that plugs into a USB port. They clip easily so nobody needs to feel neglected by lack of airflow.

Vehicle cabin cooler & warmer

No ice? No problem. Travel coolers plug into vehicle 12-volt outlets and also may be used to keep food warm.

Blind spot mirror

Have you ever thought, “If I only had a wider view of what’s behind me?” Blind spot mirrors fill the void. They are especially helpful if you’re towing a trailer.

Neck pillow

There never seems to be a comfortable way to rest your cranium while riding in a vehicle. Neck pillows offer support and a convenient way to avoid kinks from awkward positions. And they double as a soft lap stand for your books or electronics.

Microfiber towels

Inexpensive and great for a variety of cleaning. The microfiber towel may be used to clean up bird droppings on the outside of your vehicle or pet accidents on the inside. Pack a stack of them for the road.

Window cleaner and waterless car wash & wax 

The automatic window cleaner is nice while driving but doesn’t clean the entire windshield or side windows. Use a window cleaner designed for vehicles. Also, you can keep your vehicle looking great between washing with a waterless spray wash--just a few sprays and a swipe with a microfiber towel. Include a bottle of spray wax If you want to add some extra protection from road contaminants. 

ALL ABOUT THE KIDS

Games

Old standbys are still fun. Simple prizes can make it fun and a wee bit competitive. Here are some classics:

  • Classic fun: the “license plate game” engages players by locating license plates from as many states as possible. Add your own twist--print a map showing the outline of all 50 states and players have to associate the plate with the location.
  • “Car bingo” lets you design a board to match your travel destination. That landscape you are passing has all sorts of stories to tell. Draw your own grids on sheets of paper. Label the grids with items you may see on your specific journey. Make it educational as well as fun.
  • Mobile phone games for multiple players. Passengers of all ages find it hard to separate themselves from their mobile phone, so why not engage them with interactive games? Some of the popular choices include iSpy, the ABC game, 21 Questions, Heads Up, King of Opera and Dog Simulator (for kids).

FOR PASSENGER & ROAD SAFETY

Make room for important safety products that can protect drivers and passengers.

First-aid kit

An old suggestion, but an important one. Make sure your first-aid kit includes bandages, scissors, gauze, antiseptic wipes and antibiotic cream. Consider adding extras like a notepad and pens--handy items when reporting an accident or mishap.

Road Emergency Kit

You can put together your own travel kit easily enough. May we humbly suggest some common yet important items: LED Flashlight, extra batteries, reflector signs, pair of inexpensive gloves for dirty work like changing tires.

Insect repellent

Avoid becoming a convenient meal. There are lots of choices from natural sprays that use lemon eucalyptus to products which contain DEET, a highly effective mosquito repellent. Some repellents come in easy-to-use wipes.

DOG AS YOUR CO-PILOT

Traveling with a canine pal? There are several handy, and possibly life-saving, accessories for your four-legged travel buddy. 

Pet Harness

Sudden turns can injure an unrestrained pet and put their human companions at risk as well. A crash-protection harness helps keep your pet confined in event of an accident. Reminder: Do not let the dog ride in the front seat. Even when using a seat restraint, your pet may suffer significant injury from the airbag or broken glass.

Pet Hammock

If you can spare the room, the back seat can be turned into a hammock that protects the fabric, allows your pet to stretch out and helps prevent them from roaming around the vehicle.

Pet throw blanket

These are convenient for pet resting areas in the vehicle as well as at rest stops, especially when you can’t find a swatch of grass or patch of shade under a tree.

Waterless Shampoo

Keep your pets fresh while traveling with waterless spray wash. Just spritz and wipe off with a microfiber towel. Simple, and all your passengers will appreciate the gesture.

Collapsible Pet Water Bowls 

Collapsible water bowls are a convenient way to slake your pet’s thirst at freeway rest areas and while hiking. Refill those used plastic water bottles for your pets. They’re easy to store and convenient when you can’t find potable water. Warning: Never trust standing water, which can cause your pet to get sick or worse.

Deodorizer

Eliminate that “doggy” smell in your vehicle. Scented oils and aromatic cardboard trees simply mask odors. Go with a vehicle deodorizer if you want to eliminate odors from the cabin.

Pooh Bags

Practice good pet etiquette at those rest stops and side streets when you’re taking a doggy break. Waste bags are easy to forget until you need them. For convenience, use bag containers that clip to a leash.