You want your summer vacation memories to be full of sun and sand and smiles. A few easy preparations can keep those memories safe, just as they can keep your family safe on your summer road trip. Common advice will tell you to unload any unnecessary cargo to get the best gas mileage and leave enough space for passengers and luggage, but there are a few things you shouldn’t leave home without. (Besides, if you drive a Toyota, you have plenty of trunk and cargo space!)
Sunscreen: Getting sunburned on the first day is the surest, fastest way to ensure a miserable summer vacation. Recommended practice is to apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you plan to be in the sun, and to reapply every two hours – sooner if you swim or sweat heavily. Most people do not use enough. Around 1 ounce (a shot-glass full) will adequately cover the average person. If you keep your sunscreen in your car, you’ll always be prepared for an impromptu swim, and your skin will be protected if you have to wait for roadside assistance in the event of car trouble.
Umbrella: Of course an umbrella is helpful during summer storms, but it can be equally valuable on sunny days. Use it to protect yourself from the sun at the beach, at picnics, or in case you have to walk for help if your car breaks down.
Towels: The opportunity to take a dip in the water is never far away in the summer, so always bring a towel! However, your towel can also be used as a cover to protect your fabric car seats from people sitting on them in wet clothes, or to protect your legs from hot leather seats. It can also double as a sun shade, reducing sun and heat entering your car if it has to be stopped for long periods.
Baby powder: The beach is wonderful, but the sand that lingers long after summer vacation is not. Baby powder is the secret weapon for removing beach sand. A small amount in your hand rubbed onto sandy legs and feet will absorb the water that makes the sand stick, and it will brush right off. The same principle applies if you sprinkle the sand onto clothes and towels before you shake the sand free, and a light dusting of powder on car seats and carpets will allow you to vacuum the sand out more easily. Just be careful not to rub the sand into the carpet or dark fabrics or you could be left with white powder marks.
Emergency kit: Roadside emergency kits are widely available for purchase, but long, hot summer road trips need special consideration. Make sure you carry coolant and a jug of water in case your engine overheats. Hot weather and hotter pavement can weaken tires, so tire inflator is a lifesaver. Baby wipes or paper towels are useful for quick clean-ups after car maintenance.