The road trip is a great tradition. Few styles of vacation quite capture the feeling of exploration and really taking control of where you go, while giving up control of what you encounter on the way. However, there’s a lot that can go on wrong on the way, as well. It can be uncomfortable, it can be wrought with arguments, and an automotive disaster can ruin the whole thing. The key to avoiding these situations is preparation, preparation, and a little more preparation. Here are a few things you need to make sure you’ve figured out before you go.
If you’re not used to long-distance driving over several days, then the toll that a road trip can take on you might actually be surprising. You have to get comfortable in that car seat for quite some time, but you also have to deal with the decrease in focus and bad habits that can surface over long-distance trips. If possible, split driving duties between at least two drivers. You can make sure that you stay vigilant in ensuring safety with the use of a few handy apps, too. There are apps that can stop you from being able to text or receive text notifications when driving to avoid distraction, apps like Lifesaver that track safe miles and unsafe habits, and apps like Trapster that can help you stay updated on things like police traps, dangerous road conditions, and road accidents.
Check your wheels
Naturally, the vehicle is an essential part of any road trip and there are few things as important as making sure it’s fit to go the distance. There are few occasions where a car sees as much wear-and-tear as a road trip. Even if you’re a couple months or a few miles off your next scheduled check-up, it’s worth taking it, in anyway. Be extra thorough, too. Take your car to a service department that serves that particular brand, rather than a more generic service. At West County Volvo online, for instance, you can see the extra steps they take to ensure that your car fits the brand standard. This includes using a deeper knowledge of that vehicle in particular and access to high-standard OEM parts where less trustworthy mechanics might go generic in order to save some money.
Be ready for trouble
You can take care of your car as much as you like, there’s still a chance you will run into issues on the road. Dealing with a breakdown can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to end the trip early. Pack a car emergency kit that includes things like a spare tire, changing kit, jumper cables, and protective features like reflective cones in case you’re forced to stop by the side of the road. Setting off on a long trip without road cover is a bad idea, so it might be worth fishing out a little cash to make sure you’re able to get back on the road.
Ready for any weather
Thorough packing, in general, is going to make any trip a lot more comfortable. For instance, you should anticipate every kind of weather when you’re on the road. Pack for hotter days, colder days, as well as a few rainproof items for when it clouds over. Otherwise, bring all the essentials such as bug spray, water bottles, a first aid kit, and toilet paper. Don’t forget to pack plenty of snacks, too. You don’t want to have to deal with family members complaining about growling tummies if you’re still some distance away from your next stop.
Know the road
Knowing where those stops are is crucial, too. There are some great apps like Roadtrippers that make planning your route all the easier. Not only can they show you the best road to take based on the stops you want to see. They can highlight other stops on the way that you might otherwise miss. Most importantly, however, they can show you all the eateries, accommodation, and gas stations on the way. In general, it’s easy enough to get lost on a road trip even when you know where you’re going. Setting off without a route can be disastrous. This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally veer off it if you want to go exploring. Just make sure you know how to find your way back.
Prepare some fun
Road trips can be exhilarating and inspiring, helping you see sides of the country that you’ve never experienced before. However, they can also involve hours of driving past nothing but repeating scenery with very little to do. Even adults are going to crack with hours of the same thing over and over again. If you’re bringing any children with you, their frustration and boredom will most likely be very vocally expressed. Make sure you bring some means of making your own fun on the road. Preparing road trip games, bringing plenty of music, making sure you have a phone loaded with video games and fully charged. These are all tools you can use to keep things bearable in the car.
Bring those papers
You should already have the budget worked out well for the road trip, finding as many savings as you can. Then you should make sure that you bring a credit card and a couple hundred dollars on top of it. You never know when you’re going to have fork over a little extra cash, whether it’s for a quick repair after you break down, or deciding to eat at a restaurant instead of cooking your own meal for a night. There are plenty of little costs that can build up and temptations worth spending on. If you don’t have some change to pay for them, your trip can be a lot less enjoyable.
The tips above are going to help you nip a lot of problems in the bud, giving you the best chance of having the road trip you’ve always wanted. Of course, they can’t solve every potential road bump, but those are all part of the adventure.