Has it been a while since you went on a nice long road trip? There are few things that give you the feeling of freedom and adventure the way a freewheeling vacation on the open highway can. Every time you hit the road and go across this beautiful country, you’re sure to visit place, see sights, and meet people you would never otherwise have encountered, leaving you with amazing memories and experiences. It can be tempting, sometimes, to just call in your vacation days and head out the door with just a bag of your essentials and no particular plan of where to end up, but the key to having a great road trip is to do a little planning and preparation beforehand to make sure that if anything goes wrong on your trip, you’re ready and able to deal with it and get back on track. Before you hit the highway again, there’s a few things you should remember to do first.
- Prepare for car troubles
Take your car to a mechanic and have the brakes, fluids, tire air pressure, and oil checked. Make sure there aren’t any pending mechanical problems that you ought to take care of before you add serious mileage to your vehicle. Be sure you have a spare tire ready to go in case you get a flat. See if your insurance company offers roadside assistance, or join an auto club like AAA that provides it. One of the worst things that can happen on a road trip is a car breakdown, so don’t take any chances.
- Clean up
Get all of the junk and trash out of your car before you go, and take out any accumulated trash whenever you stop for a break. A clean car will be more enjoyable for you and your traveling companions, and it will give you more room for bags and anything you pick up along the way.
- Check the map
Taking back roads and visiting out-of-the-way places can be an important part of creating a unique and memorable trip experience, but make sure you know how to get back on to the main roads from wherever you end up exploring. Getting lost in an unfamiliar, unpopulated area can turn a road trip from exhilarating to scary real fast.
- Consider your passengers
If you’re traveling with adults, it can be a great idea to designate someone as the navigator or the DJ so that the driver isn’t distracted with maps, navigational apps, or music players while they’re trying to drive. If you’ve got kids in the car, make sure they have easy access to snacks and things to keep them entertained, and be sure any infants and toddlers have their car seats securely and properly installed before you hit the road.
A great road trip is something that everybody involved will remember for a lifetime, so make sure you take the time to do a little prepwork to ensure your adventure will be safe and comfortable for you and all of your passengers.