Vacation season is officially upon us and while flying is nice, there’s nothing quite like a fun-filled road trip to take you to new places. For some people, a road trip involves driving a few hours to the nearest beach; for others, it’s a cross-country endeavor taking weeks (and lots of pitstops). Whatever your travel style, there are a few universal ways to prepare, so you can make the most of your time.
Have a plan.
While the open-ended aspect of a road trip is the basis of its appeal for most people, it doesn’t hurt to have a loose idea of your route. Whether you decide on one final destination, or plot every single stop, it’s good to at least have an idea of what you want before you leave—especially when there are multiple people involved.
Thanks to technology, you don’t need a map to plan your trip anymore. They have apps for that, including those that will suggest points of interests along your route. We like Roadtrippers because it allows other users to add sites they’ve discovered off the beaten path. Still, having certain destinations and a timeline in mind will ensure that you get to see everything you want to see—but also have plenty of time to discover the unexpected along the way.
With road trips, you pack a little differently. You still have all the clothes, shoes, and toiletries to worry about—maybe with a little more variety. However, you’ll also need a few extra supplies for the ride. Extended car rides can easily get boring, especially for small children, so bring a few activities or games to keep them occupied. Handheld video game systems or streaming devices can provide ready distractions, but there are plenty of other options for an electronics-free vacation. Try books, magnetic board games, cards, sketch pads, easy craft projects, and anything else you can think of!
Don’t skimp on the snacks either. While you can pick some up along the way, if you’re living off of fast food and gas station finds the whole time, you’re not going to feel great by the end of it. Instead, stock up on your favorite trail mix, energy bars, and fruit/veggie chips. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you can even bring a cooler for yogurt, lunch meat, and cold beverages for the ride.
When you’re driving for long periods of time, anything can happen. A week or two before you plan to leave, it’s a good idea to take your car in for some routine maintenance. Check the tires, the fluids, and all the internal parts that’ll face the most wear and tear during your trip. It wouldn’t hurt to ask some questions about basic car care either, so you can top off fluids, swap out simple parts, or change a tire if you need to. Also, review your basic car insurance and ask about available roadside assistance programs—just in case.
If you don’t already have an emergency kit prepared, now’s a good time to invest in the supplies needed to build one. Some common items to get include a small toolkit (think pliers, screwdrivers, etc.), motor oil, nonperishable food, water, blankets, a first aid kit, radiator fluid, and anything else you think might be useful in the event of car trouble. Try to buy items with far-ranging expiration dates, so you can keep your new kit in your trunk long after your road trip is over.
Once you’ve got all this taken care of, you can hit the road! Take advantage of the warm summer temperatures to get outside and explore some new places. Be safe on your latest road trip and let us know if there’s anything we, at Freedom Insurance Agency, Inc., can do to help you prepare.