This is what happens when you don’t have things in your car

This is what happens when you don't have things in your car

During summer, we're all on the go – a lot. And, inevitably, things happen… and you wish you'd just had the right thing with you. ¬†With that in mind, I compiled a list of 18 things you should always stow in your car. Because, well, this is what happens when you don't have things in your car…

(1) Sunscreen –

Like some horribly painful Murphy's Law, the sun will choose to be merciless, burning you to an embarrassing – not to mention excruciating – lobster color.

(2) Bug repellent –

There are rarely bugs where you're headed, and you aren't one to attract them normally anyway… until you don't have any repellent. Now there's some kind of convention and you're delicious.

(3) Water –

Nothing triggers a more intense thirst than having no water to drink. Suddenly, it's all you can think about… and $3 for a small bottle doesn't seem so outrageous.

(4) Tissues –

Sure, you can use a rough napkin but that lack of absorbency can just smear… stuff.

(5) Napkins –

You go through the drive-thru and expect napkins in the bag but they forgot them. Again. So much for keeping the fry salt and grease off your steering wheel.

(6) Wipes –

Everything sticky, dirty or messy is inexplicably both attractive to – and attracted by – your family. And now you're wishing your car was completely made of wipeable plastic because napkins aren't cutting it.

(7) First aid kit and pain relievers –

Bug bites? No biggie. Cuts and scrapes, they rarely happen. Until Junior decides jumping from rock to rock at the park is a good idea. Then a little wound cleaner and a bandage would have come in handy… not to mention something for the stress headache you now have.

(8) A towel or two –

Didn't know there was a creek running through the area until the little ones come running back soaking wet. Well, at least they can dry in the sun… in about an hour… which you don't have.

(9) Sunglasses –

Sun too strong for everyone's eyes? Dangerous. The horrible, pounding headache you're getting that's making you edgy and snippy? Possibly more dangerous. That glare in your eyes while driving, the one making your eyes tired and achy instead of alert and sharp? Definitely very dangerous.

(10) Hats –

The sun is beating down and a hat would surely have helped. But even more crushing is that today was hat day at summer day camp – and yours are the only bare-headed kids. They're sure their lives are over.

(11) A flashlight –

It's been a good day out but now it's dark and everyone is ready to head home. But wait! Mr. Stuffins the bear is missing. He has to be around here somewhere! A flashlight would come in handy right now because the phone isn't cutting it. Guess you should have lived and learned after that time the car broke down 3 miles from town… but you didn't. So here we are – in the dark once again.

(12) Blanket –

Who needs a blanket in the summertime? Your kid, after the sun sets and it's grown chilly at the picnic. But on the positive side, she looks mighty cute wearing your hoodie upside-down on her legs like huge Hammer pants.

(13) Window sun screens –

Spent all day driving, not really in the sun – so you're all good. Except that sunburn on just one side tells a different story.

(14) Scissors and/or a small pocketknife –

Because, well, sometimes you just need to cut stuff… like the Fort Knox packaging around the new toys you let the kids pick out on the way out of town.

(15) Tweezers –

You knew that wooden decking looked less than smooth – and now you'd pay almost anything for a clean pair of tweezers to end the stabbing pain in your son's foot. Not to mention the shameless crying… yours, not his. He's being tough and manly about it.

(16) Hand sanitizer –

Colds don't seem to understand that it is not winter anymore. Probably because viruses and bacteria just aren't taught proper manners these days. Not unlike that cashier who dragged her hand across her nose before counting back your change.

(17) Cash –

You've driven all the way to the national park and forgot you need cash for the day pass. Having a little bootleg spot with a few bucks would have been smart before you drove miles from town.

(18) Heat-stable snacks –

Because it's inevitable the kids will pick at their food then announce one hour later they are starving and you'll need something handy.