Breaking down on the road is never fun, but it's especially daunting when you're far from home.  Sometimes you might even find yourself (gasp!) without cell phone service.  Here are some things that you should always keep in your car in case of an emergency, especially if you're planning a long trip.


Flashlight with extra batteries.  Yes, I know many smart phones have a flashlight, but is that really how you want to use your phone's battery power?  A regular flashlight is never a bad idea.

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Jumper cables.  It only takes one absent-minded moment to leave your headlights on, and the next morning is ruined.  Or it's always nice to be able to help another stranded motorist if they need it.  If you really want to be prepared, you can even bring your own portable jump starter.

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Road flares.  If you break down on a dark road, you'll be glad you have them.  A breakdown is bad enough, you certainly don't need someone else hitting you because they don't know you're there.  They'll also help the tow truck driver find you if you can't tell him any landmarks.

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First aid kit.  For obvious reasons.

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A plan.  Ok, planning is optional, but there's nothing worse than reading that "no rest stops for 100 miles" sign to the tune of a grumbling stomach. Here's where we shamelessly plug for Roadtrippers' app. You can discover the local's favorite breakfast spot without settling for the McD's off the exit; catch the "weird stuff" nearby your hotel, or find every national park within 30 miles of your route. Plus - you can invite friends to drop in their suggestions for places to stop. It's the best insurance for FOMO. 

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Blanket, warm clothes, sturdy boots.  This obviously only applies when you're traveling in winter, but they could save your life if you break down in the middle of a snow storm. Not these boots (even though they are fabulous):

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Water.  You need it to live. Duh. This guy gets it:

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Megan Fox. If you're at all mechanically handy, other things you might consider are: a tool kit, rags and a funnel, and duct tape. Or just bring Megan Fox along, cause she obviously knows a lot about cars.

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What else do you need for a road trip emergency kit?  Let me know in the comments.