Whew! Your stuff is finally packed in the trunk and your travel buddies are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to rock the roadways. Summertime — the season for festivals, road trips, and all foods frigid — is here.
But, as everyone piles into the car, you feel like you’re forgetting something. You checked and double-checked that you packed a swimsuit and extra skivvies … but what if something weird or unexpected happens? Will you be prepared?
Here are 8 commonly forgotten items that are absolute must-haves for all warm-weather wayfarers.
1. Ear plugs
Whether you’re standing next to the world’s biggest bass amp during your favorite band’s set or sandwiched in the middle seat of a sedan, ear plugs can help save your hearing (and your sanity).
If you’re driving, however, remember that most states outlaw ear plugs (and headphones) while you’re behind the wheel — you need to be able to hear what’s going on around you!
2. A cooler with reusable ice packs
When it comes to extended road trips, music festivals, camping excursions, and birthday parties, having a portable, insulated snack capsule is always a crowd-pleaser.
Plus, investing in some reusable ice substitutes can prevent leaks and spills, keep your refreshments cool longer than regular ice, and can even be used as a cold press if you start to feel the wrath of the sun’s rays.
3. Hand sanitizer
Yeah, you remembered to pick up some cheese puffs back at the gas station, but you also just filled up the car using a particularly germy-looking pump. Good thing you brought hand sanitizer so you can stuff your face without getting sick (from germs, anyway).
Hand sanitizer can also help disinfect minor scrapes while you’re out and about (especially if you happen to forget the next item on our checklist).
4. A first aid kit
We get it: space in the car is already pretty tight. But we’re talking about something you can throw in your bag or stash in the glove box. A few bandages, gauze pads, alcohol wipes, and pain relievers can go a long way for slight setbacks like blisters, small cuts, and headaches.
You can find pocket-sized kits at just about any convenience store, prepacked with all the items you could possibly need (for nonemergency situations) and costing just a few dollars.
5. A solar charger for mobile devices
No one wants to be a tap away from their first photo of Old Faithful only to have their screen go black. That’s where modern technology (and a really old star) can save the day.
Though solar chargers used to seem space-age, they’re becoming increasingly common and affordable. And because they’re portable and compact, solar chargers are one of the easiest and most efficient ways to recharge multiple mobile devices at once.
6. Extra deodorant
It’s hard to raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care when you’ve got some serious funk under those arms. And let’s not even talk about being trapped in a car for hours with a stale-smelling sidekick.
Putting on deodorant in the morning has become just as much a part of the get-ready ritual as brushing your teeth or tying your shoes, but we often forget that we might want to reapply at some point — even more so in the summer months and especially when in close quarters with others. For your own comfort (and everyone else’s), pick up a travel-sized stick before your next warm-weather outing.
7. An umbrella
Rain or shine, an umbrella or parasol is a summertime essential. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or relaxing in the grass between musical sets, a colorful umbrella can create a shady spot for you and your loved ones to rehydrate and get some respite from sunrays.
And if you get a little precipitation during your vacation, there’s no need to head indoors — just throw a compactable umbrella into your bag so you can enjoy yourself no matter what Mother Nature brings.
8. A windbreaker
There are many pockets of the country where, even during summer, the weather can change with a moment’s notice. And plenty of places cool down significantly once the sun sets. Having a wind- and weather-resistant jacket is a great way to prepare for the unexpected and ensure you’re comfortable in any situation.
Even if the weather is as warm and bright as can be, you can unzip your windbreaker and use it as a small space for you and a buddy to sit, or you can wear it for extra protection from the sun.
Don’t get too wrapped up in the weird
Now that we’ve given you some of the stranger stuff to think about, don’t forget to bring the obvious necessities too! Think sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, an extra gallon of water, cash, snacks, and even an extra roll of toilet paper, for starters. You can also check out our list of glove box must-haves for other recommendations.
Warm-weather bonus tip
And, of course, no summertime safety kit would be complete without car and renters (or homeowners) insurance to help safeguard you, your passengers, and your ride (plus all the stuff inside it) from hazards like theft, vandalism, glass damage, and much more.
And because you’ll need your car insurance ID card if you ever get pulled over, see if your state accepts digital proof of insurance. If you already have an Esurance car policy, you can pull up your ID card on our handy-dandy mobile app.