Contact lists. In the excitement of leaving on your trip, remember you may want the option to be in touch with friends, loved ones and the world at-large. Cell phones and laptop computers allow you to stay connected. Take a list of e-mail addresses and phone numbers of important contacts in case of emergencies, too. For sharing your good times through postcards, bring a list of friends' and relatives' mailing addresses. Remember to bring stamps for the postcards, and you'll have won half the battle of sending them. Don't forget to leave your contact information and itinerary with friends, neighbors, or relatives in case they need to track you down.
Safety. Being footloose and fancy-free on the road is easier if you know you've got all your bases covered. The first of these is the safety of your family. Here are some must-have items.
- A fire extinguisher. Bring one and store it properly.
- A complete first-aid kit and basic first-aid book (the Red Cross publishes a good one)
- Snakebite kit
- Syrup of ipecac (in case of poisoning)
- Prescription medicines that need to be taken regularly
- A bottle of over-the-counter fever medication.
- Write the phone and fax number of your family doctor on a note card, along with the 800 number of the Center for Poison Control in the region or regions where you'll be traveling, and place the note card in the first-aid kit.
- If you are going to be in a buggy locale, have adequate insect repellant on hand.
- If you are going to be somewhere sunny, sun protection in the form of hats and sunscreen is imperative.
- As a safety and practical consideration, have at least one flashlight and extra fresh batteries along, and assign them a specific, easily accessible place in your RV.
- In case of power loss, and for general use, bring a battery-powered lantern. (You might also wish to have candles on hand, being extremely careful not to leave them unattended or to leave them in an unsafe place.)
If you don't already belong to one, join an emergency roadside service like AAA; and check your car insurance to see if you have roadside coverage; if you do, write down the 800 number for assistance. And of course, don't forget 911. Make sure you carry your current auto insurance, and of course, driver's licenses for anyone who will be driving.
Continued on page 3: Fixes and Hygiene