3 Essential Travel Items for Beginning Your Trucking Career

    

Born and raised in trucking, Campbell is passing his years of experience along as C1 Director. Read more from

A very common question we get here at C1 Truck Driver Training is, “What are some must-have travel items to make life easier on the road for new truck drivers?” This is a good question to be thinking about after completing CDL training, because it means you’re now getting focused on starting your new trucking career.

In order to answer this, we need to talk a little more about life out there on the road. When you start out, you’re going to be driving with your trainer, which is really just a temporary situation.What does that mean? Well, you’re not going to be long term with your trainer so you’ll only have to plan for the bare necessities. These are your toiletries, several changes of clothes, spare shoes and boots, and bedding. If you wear glasses, make sure you have a spare set and a couple of extra pairs of contact lenses. I’ll talk more about the importance of this later.

The first few weeks on the road will be spent with your driver trainer learning what it takes to be an over the road truck driver. A big part of being with your trainer is learning what your new lifestyle will be like when you get on the road alone throughout the rest of your trucking career. This will prepare you for when you get your permanent truck assignment. Don’t worry that you don’t have everything figured out before you leave, just use the time with your trainer to figure it out. Your trainer has been living a truck driver lifestyle for a long time, and they know what it takes to succeed in this industry.

Plan With Your Co-Driver

After your training period is complete, some of you will be running team, and some will be running solo. That will make a huge difference in what you should plan on bringing. If you are running as team truck drivers, you must take into account that you won’t have as much personal space as you would if you ran solo. If you do decide to run team, talk with your partner in order to determine what each of you is bringing. There’s plenty of room for a mini-fridge in the trucks, but you don’t want to have two of them! I don’t recommend splitting the cost either. You never know what may happen, and it can be difficult to saw through a refrigerator in the event that things don’t work out between you and your partner.

And without further ado, let’s get into the three most important travel items for truck drivers (in my opinion)…

1) Electronics for Power Inverters

A lot of trucks have power inverters which will convert the DC current in your truck to AC current that is required for standard household appliances and electronics. This allows truck drivers to plug in a fridge, TV, coffee pot, computer, and other electrical gadgets.

2) A LaptopEssential travel item for truck drivers - a laptop

Speaking of computers, if you have a laptop, great! If not, I’d recommend getting one. They’re small, very capable, and provide an excellent form of communication and entertainment. You can watch movies, video chat with friends and family, play games, check email, and pay bills online, all on one small netbook! And these are just a few quick examples.

Semi Truck in Rain

3) Spare Boots & Contacts

I think the most common oversight in preparing to hit the road is forgetting to pack a spare pair of boots/shoes. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you have an extra pair with you. I have been in parking lots after a downpour when I had to walk in water 6-8 inches deep. It is going to happen at some point in your career, so you must be prepared for such scenarios. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of having those spare glasses.  This can be a very physical job and I have damaged my glasses on more than one occasion. Having that extra pair on the truck was a life saver. Without them, I would not have been able to drive! DO NOT SKIMP ON THE EXTRA GLASSES OR CONTACTS! I cannot emphasize that enough.

Closing Thoughts:

As a truck driver, it’s important to truly think about the “needs” versus the “wants.” When you first head out, focus on those needs I mentioned earlier (toiletries, clothes, etc). Spending the time on the road with your trainer will help you determine what those wants are, and if it is really practical to bring them along. Remember, space on your truck will be very limited, so take only what’s necessary.  The further along you get in your trucking career, the more you will learn about what items are critical to the job.

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