There are two classes of things to bring with you when you start your cross-country adventure: things you need, and things you absolutely need. Bring plenty of both:

CB Radio or cell phone. A road-trip must. Yeah, yeah, it takes away from the "adventure," but it's not the 1960s anymore, and a cell phone will give your mother a way to make sure that Crazy Roadside Killer Bob hasn't found you yet. The roads are dangerous, so communication is vital.

Extra water. In case you-or your engine-overheat, it's good to have two jugs of water in your trunk.

Extra blankets. If your car gets stuck in the snow, you'll need something to keep you warm until help arrives.

Flashlight. Good for everything from reading at nighttime to changing a tire in the dark to looking out for Crazy Roadside Killer Bob.

Chains for your tires, if it's winter. Many mountainous roads require you to have chains to drive across the higher passes during winter months.

Jumper cables. If you don't want to wait forever for a tow truck, it helps to have your own jumper cables. With a little help from a friendly motorist, you should be back on the road in no time. By the way, here's an article on how to start a car with jumper cables.

Road flares. If you break down on a dark or foggy highway, flares make it easier for passing cars to notice you. They're also useful weapons for fending off Crazy Roadside Killer Bob.

AAA membership. They can jump start your car, tow you off into the sunset, and pop the lock when you leave your keys inside. Having an AAA membership makes taking a road tip a little less of a hassle. Not to mention, AAA membership gets you nice discounts at motels, hotels and restaurants across the country.

Your driver's license, registration, and insurance card. When you're spending at least 10 hours a day in your car, there's an increased chance that something bad will happen (read: accidents and tickets). Be prepared for this.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW drive cross-country?