Road trips are a fun and exciting way to get away from all of the mundane tasks of a busy lifestyle. However, being unprepared to take a road trip can bring you more stress than peace. Here are a few things that you should do before your road trip to ensure that it will be a peaceful and enjoyable journey.
#1: Car Maintenance
Before you even hit the road, you’ll want to make sure that your car is prepared for a long road trip. If you regularly get your car maintained every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, then you’re already on the right path. Still, you will want to do your own maintenance check before you get on the road. This is includes checking the fluids (brake fluids, transmission fluids, etc.), checking the hoses and belts under the hood, checking the tires, and replacing wiper blades if needed.
If you already drive your car a lot, sometime before your road trip, listen for any unusual noises that may come from the car. This is often an indicator that something’s wrong. Listen out for any grinding, rattling, squeaking, or just anything that sounds off.
#2: Create an Emergency Kit
Even if you keep on with the maintenance on your car and check everything out before you go, there is still the chance of something going wrong. While this may not happen, it’s still good to be prepared, so you’ll need to have some sort of roadside emergency kit. You can buy these kits online or in auto stores. AAA (American Automobile Association) even makes roadside emergency kits. You can also choose to create your own, which will give you the opportunity to customize your emergency kit to your specific needs.
#3: Make Sure Your Car Insurance is Up to Date
No matter where you decide to take your road trip, just about every country requires some sort of car insurance. Even though only two states in the United States don’t require car insurance, you’re much more likely to be driving through the states that do, if you’re taking a road trip in this country. Some people believe that car insurance is insanely expensive, but you can shop around to ensure that you get the lowest insurance rates. Depending on the local rules of where you’re taking your road trip, you can face serious consequences if caught driving uninsured. These include a suspended license, a hefty fine, and/or jail time.
#4: Plan Your Routes Carefully
The great thing about living in the digital age is that smartphones can act as a map in place of a physical, paper one. The most popular road trips often come with a set of directions, but some do not. Always research the road trip you plan to take and make sure that whatever GPS app you’re using is accurate when it comes to directions, road closures, and alternative routes. Still, it may be helpful to have a paper map (or a printed map) in the worst-case scenario. You may be driving through a location where the signal gets lost easily, and you don’t want to get lost easily because of this.
#5: Pack Emergency Items
You’ll have an emergency kit for your car, but also have an emergency kit for yourself. This may differ from person to person, as everyone’s needs are different. Some emergency items can be medications (whether for a chronic illness, motion sickness, or pain relievers), bottled water (it’s important to stay hydrated), phone chargers, snacks, an umbrella/raincoat, rain boots, blankets, pillows, a heavier jacket, etc. This also depends on where you’re going, as some road trips can be so long that the weather changes drastically from one point to another.
While you’re taking your trip, also plan to make stops to rest so you can be well-rested for the entirety of your trip. Driving safely is an essential part of a road trip, so you don’t want to burn out by driving too much at one time.