In the first post in this series, we talked about some tips to make the trip more entertaining. This post is about preparation for a road trip. It’s all the boring yet necessary stuff you should probably do before you hit the road.
Make sure your car is safe.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but there are some important things you should do before you embark on a long car journey to make sure you don’t have issues on the road. Read on…
Get a car checkup.
If you do it yourself or do it at an auto shop, either way you should make sure your car is in tip top shape before you travel. Make sure your fluids are all topped off (water, oil, etc.), tire pressure is good, belts are in good shape, wiper blades are new, headlights and taillights are working, turn signal, etc. If it’s not working, make sure you get it fixed before you go. Also make sure your spare tire is in good working order. If you have the space, you might consider a full size spare instead of the donut.
If you don’t have AAA, get it. If you’re not in the United States, there is likely a service similar to AAA in your area. Roadside assistance is so helpful if you have any car troubles!
Make sure your cell phone will work.
You most likely have a cell phone. Doesn’t everybody? If you don’t have one, get one. It might be useful to check with your carrier about coverage where you’ll be driving and if you have any roaming fees. You never know when you might need to use that phone!
Pack your trunk with the essentials.
I’m not talking about your luggage and some snacks. I’m talking about your car tool kit, of course! You should make sure you have bottled water, a tire iron, a jack, a first aid kit, flares, etc. just in case you need it!
Packing the car…
Pack light if you can.
If you’ve got a big car to fill, you might feel like you should bring everything under the sun, but try to resist the impulse. Remember that less is more and you may even improve your gas mileage by packing lighter.You can always find a coin laundry to wash your dirty clothes, so you don’t need to bring something for every day you’ll be away. If you try and keep it to one bag per person, you’ll not only have more space in the car, but it will all be more manageable.
Make sure the essential items are close at hand.
I’m talking about things you’ll need while in the car or along the way. You’ll want your snacks, water, any car entertainment like iPads, etc. within easy reach. It wouldn’t hurt to also have some maps (even if you have GPS on your phone…what if you don’t have a signal?). Tissues, wipes, etc. can also come in handy. You might also consider pillows and blankets for when somebody in the car wants to try and take a nap.
If you’re traveling with kids…
If you’re traveling with children, there are some extra things you should probably do to prepare for the journey to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Plan some games to play.
Whether it be the license plate game, a car scavenger hunt, or any other games you can think of, have a few ideas handy to suggest for when your kids start to get bored.
It’s a good idea to make a playlist or CDs of some music you can all enjoy together.
Have things handy like string cheese, boxes of juice, fruit, cookies, etc. easily accessible for when the kids (or you) get hungry. Good ideas for food that will travel well includes trail mix, bottled water and juices, spreads like peanut butter and nutella, sliced apples, celery, crackers, hard cheeses, cut veggies, even hard boiled eggs.
I hope you found these road trip tips to be useful. Enjoy the open road!