Packing into the car with delicious, high levels of sodium snacks and sugary drinks in prep for the long ride ahead is really a vacation in itself. It’s like when you’re sitting in the dark of a movie theater eating all that junk and taking in the view; it’s somehow relaxing and exciting at the same time.
With the radio on blast or your smart device tuned in to your favorite podcast you are set for the week’s road-tripping adventures, or are you? Food and music is important, but so is your safety and your car’s maintenance. To get your road trip off to a good start, make these five road-trip preps your top priority.
- Plan Your Route in Advance. If you’re on a timed schedule and need to hit Wally World by a certain time of day, planning your route out before you hit the road can save you time and gas. Before heading out, check your map against your GPS to see which route is really faster to take in real time. Route speeds can change, and the highway you were planning on taking the night before might be closed down due to a major accident. Always check traffic before you hit the road, there’s no use getting stuck in a traffic jam you could have avoided.
- Get a Maintenance Check Up Before You Hit the Road. Imagine being smack dab in the middle of your road trip when your engine light turns on and you suddenly feel your car start to shake and smoke. Your car is overheating, and you’re in the middle lane on a seven-lane freeway. Are you going to get to the shoulder in time before it dies in the middle of speeding traffic?
You’re going to want to make sure your car is in good working order before heading out for a long trip. Make sure you get an oil change, rotate your tires and top off all liquids. Double check that your tires have enough tread and that your windshield wipers can handle large amounts of rain. Also make sure that your auto insurance is up to date and accepted in the states you might be passing through. If you’re carrying some expensive items in your car for the road trip, such as laptops, cameras and other tech devices, it’s also worth looking into an auto policy with a decent personal items coverage. You can quickly compare auto insurance quotes online for different policies while you’re booking your hotel room on another window.
- Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit. Accidents happen, no matter how hard we try to avoid them. To prepare for the event of an auto accident, equip your vehicle with an emergency roadside kit. Your kit should include:
There’s much more the kit can (and should) include. For more ideas, check out the article 20 Must-Haves in Your Car Emergency Kit.
- Carry Cash. We’ve gotten used to being able to swipe or insert our credit cards with smart technology making it available to do straight from our phones, but not everywhere you visit is going to have that technology. When you hit a toll or need a cup of coffee and the only place around is ‘Cash Only,’ having money on hand will save you from having to try and find an ATM or paying a fee.
- Pack Light. Wherever we go, we want to make sure that we have whatever we need. What if it rains? We’ll need a jacket. What if it’s cold? We’ll need a scarf? What if we go to a fancy restaurant for dinner? We’ll need that little black dress. The truth is, you don’t need all this stuff. Pack two pairs of pants a jacket and a few tops. The trip is about the experience, not how you’re dressed.
Make your road trip one you’ll never forget, but make sure it’s for all the right reasons, not because you didn’t make time to change your oil. A road trip or a Costa Rica vacation……. if you are prepared then a road trip can be the vacation of a lifetime.