It’s the little things that make a difference. Over dinner a while back the discussion went to the upcoming December holidays and where everyone planned to go. The talk then shifted to those “life saving” items that improve the experience. I then challenged the group to think out the box and each list two items. No repetition and none of the standard stuff. No l knives, tools, first aid kits, fire extinguishers etc. These are covered “ad nauseam”. It was a mixed group, I was interested to see what they would come up with.
The first item which I really liked and subsequently used on my last trip was a gym towel. Not much bigger than a facecloth but useful for a variety of reasons. I kept mine wet in a reusable ziplock bag and used it to freshen up in the desert.
Then the social butterfly struck with the suggestion of a selfie stick/tripod. I was not sure what to say as I have never taken a selfie. But it made sense as they take a lot of pictures on their trips and use a timer app when there is no one around to take a pic.
Hand cream and facial moisturiser worked for me after my last trip. Once I had wiped my face I would apply moisturiser in the dry heat. The hand cream was essential given the number of times one has to sanitise. It counteracts the drying effect of the alcohol.
A double-walled insulated flask was next. It keeps liquids hot or cold and saves on disposing of plastic bottles. Added to this was a stainless steel straw with a cleaning brush. Once again another eco-friendly item.
Wipes were inevitable and two versions were offered. Both eco-friendly. One is a compressible tablet that swells when wet and the other is a flushable baby wipe. Useful to wipe hands and faces but the baby wipes were not great with beard stubble.
From personal experience, I would not travel without two pieces of roof trussing to use as a jacking plate. We had two punctures a year apart on the same wheel and in both cases struggled as the scissor jack had inadequate travel.
Add to this a can of tyre sealant, in some instances, you can do an emergency repair on a flat tyre and get to your destination.
Audiobooks were added to the list along with a good music playlist. Some cars no longer take compact discs so an app or reading subscription would do the trick. I use the free version of “Spotify” which allows me to access all music genres. It worked well on my last trip when very little radio signal was available. Entertainment makes a road trip a pleasure. Oh and add in extra charging cables if you have youngsters, they drain phones with social media.
Crystallised ginger came up next. I just love eating it but its ability to tame nausea ( car sickness ) put it on the list.
Coming in under the radar was a Petzl Headlamp. Only because I forgot to omit torches from my unspeakable list. It was a good choice as to go hands-free is a blessing when busy in the dark.
From a friend who was into homoeopathy came two products that I use and endorse, charcoal tablets for gastric bugs and an allergy remedy. Both are useful when on the road.
Sneaking in at the last moment were a pack of toothpicks and a spork ( spoon, knife, fork), both useful in the platteland. The spork in case you do not get cutlery when getting a takeaway and toothpick for afterwards.
A good travel book was on the cards, it can prove to be invaluable if going into uncharted territory. These little tips mean a lot and can enhance any trip.
Lastly given the pandemic take extra masks and sanitiser, even if you are vaccinated. Practice social distancing and carry cash. Many of the rural spots don’t have ATM’s or credit card facilities.