Despite fluctuating gas prices, taking a road trip is still one of the most affordable ways to vacation, see the country, and bond with family or friends. Whether you’re planning a destination trip to a theme park or the beach; a family visit; or just a meandering journey in one general direction, follow our tips to make your next road trip adventure the best it can be.
Get a full tune up:
Make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you go. Ask your mechanic to check all the fluids, rotate and adjust the pressure on your tires; and check your brakes, hoses, and belts. Be sure your windshield wipers are in good shape, and get them replaced if necessary.
Plan your trip, but not too much:
A good road trip is, by definition, somewhat unpredictable. But having a general idea of your itinerary and major plot points along the way will make the trip safer and more enjoyable. Try using an app like Roadtrippers to sketch out your basic route and get recommendations for great restaurants, interesting sights, and worthwhile detours.
Carry a safety kit:
To be road-trip ready, a must is having a well-thought-out safety kit could be a lifesaver if you get stranded or break down on the road. You can purchase a pre-made emergency kit online or at a local hardware store; but be sure to customize it to your needs and travel plans. A few recommended items include: first aid kit, a flashlight, emergency alert tools like road flares; non-perishable food; water, a blanket, jumper cables, rain gear, a small fire extinguisher, basic tools, foam tire sealant, extra fluids (like oil and windshield wiper fluid) and an extra cell phone charger.
Think through your emergency strategy:
No matter how beautiful the weather and how simple the journey, things can still go wrong. Relieve some anxiety about the unknown by thinking through some common obstacles before you hit the road. What will you do if the car breaks down, somebody gets sick, or something significant gets lost or stolen? And don’t forget to sign up for roadside assistance through your insurance company or auto club.
Budget, budget, budget:
Planning your spending ahead of time will ensure your adventure isn’t cut short or overly stressful. Search for coupons, packages and other deals that will save you money.
Know your audience:
Keep your passengers happy by planning appropriate breaks and fun things to do that will appeal to everyone. Especially if you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to have some road-ready activities for those long stretches of driving. Make a few playlists, bring along some Mad Libs and car-friendly games, download some storytelling podcasts and don’t forget the snacks.